Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain achieved their first titles in the record-breaking Dublin 1947 European Boxing Championships

22 May 2020 News

Following the World War II, the seventh edition of the European Boxing Championships returned to Dublin, Ireland in 1947. Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain achieved their first ever European titles in 1947 which welcomed record number of boxers and nations in Dublin.

The previous European Boxing Championships took place in 1939 and after eight years of break the seventh edition celebrated the return of international boxing after the World War II. The National Stadium was opened with the 1939 European Boxing Championships in Dublin and the 1947 edition was held in the same venue. The first competition day of the event was May 12 while the finals and the bronze medal matches were held on May 17 in 1947.

The number of the boxers was 105 in the 1947 European Boxing Championships which exceeded all of the previous figures. It was the first time when the number of the participating boxers raised the extent of 100. The following 16 nations attended in the seventh edition of the European Boxing Championships in Dublin: Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey.

More than half of the participating nations as Belgium, England, France, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, and Spain attended with maximum number of eight boxers in the 1947 European Boxing Championships. The surprise of the event Spain and Turkey were newcomers in the 1947 European Boxing Championships.

The Italian team was one of the bests in the 1920s and in the 1930s but after the World War II’s first edition their boxers were able to take only two bronze medals in Dublin. Poland won the medal table in the 1937 European Boxing Championships but all of their boxers were eliminated in the preliminaries and quarter-finals including their best hopes defending champion Antoni Kolczynski, Zygmunt Chychla and Franciszek Szymura.

France won the medal rankings with one and three silver medals ahead of England, Ireland and Sweden. The eight gold medals have been shared between eight nations: France, England, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, Netherlands and Spain. Record number of 12 countries claimed at least one bronze medal in the 1947 European Boxing Championships in Dublin where Scotland, Czechoslovakia, Italy and Denmark were also on the medal table.

Spain made its debut in the European Boxing Championships only in 1947 but the country covered all of the eight weight classes in Dublin. Luis Martinez Zapata was born in Barcelona and he was 22 by the time of the continental event in Ireland’s capital. The four-time National Champion Spanish flyweight boxer defeated Hungary’s Jozsef Bednai in the semi-finals and continued his winning path over Scotland’s Jimmy Clinton in the final.

Laszlo Bogacs had experiences in the boxing events since 1941 and he delivered Hungary’s lone gold medal in Dublin following his success over Sweden’s 20-year-old Bertil Ahlin in the final of the bantamweight. The second Swedish finalist Kurt Kreuger worked better in the event and defeated an Irish hope Peter Maguire in the third final of the 1947 European Boxing Championships.

Belgium’s Joseph Vissers celebrated his 19th birthday only later that year but he knocked out Scotland’s Willie Frith in the semi-finals and that success increased his confidence in the final of the lightweight. The Belgian teenager impressed once again and defeated France’s National Champion Roger Baour taking the European title before his silver medal at the London 1948 Olympic Games. The next French finalist Charles Humez also lost his last contest and claimed silver following he was defeated by England’s Johnny Ryan.

The 22-year-old French Aime-Joseph Escudie won the title of the middleweight in a super strong category following his success over England’s Wally Thom. Czechoslovakia’s Hungarian-descent Julius Torma eliminated Hungary’s icon Laszlo Papp in a key quarter-final in that weight class. Later both became Olympic Champions and the 1947 event was their first international steps as youngsters.

Henk Quentemeijer was born in Germany in 1920 but he represented the Netherlands at the 1947 European Boxing Championships. The Dutch light heavyweight boxer, who later spent his life in Australia, was enough experienced to beat Hungary’s Gyorgy Kapolcsi, England’s Ken Wyatt and France’s Leon Nowiaz during his road to the gold medal.

Gearoid O’Colmain

Gearoid O’Colmain won his first Irish national title in 1943 and until 1952 he earned that success nine-time during his 13-year-long boxing career. The 23-year-old Irish moved up to the heavyweight after his loss at the 1945 National Championships. That decision paid off in the 1947 European Boxing Championships where he was dominant over his rivals including against England’s George Scriven in the final.

List of the winners in the 1947 European Boxing Championships

  • Flyweight (50.8kg): Luis Martinez Zapata, Spain
  • Bantamweight (53.5kg): Laszlo Bogacs, Hungary
  • Featherweight (57.2kg): Kurt Kreuger, Sweden
  • Lightweight (61.2kg): Joseph Vissers, Belgium
  • Welterweight (66.7kg): Johnny Ryan, England
  • Middleweight (72.6kg): Aime-Joseph Escudie, France
  • Light heavyweight (79.4kg): Henk Quentemeijer, Netherlands
  • Heavyweight (+79.4kg): Gearoid O’Colmain, Ireland
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