Kalevi Marjamaa achieved Finland’s first gold medal in the Katowice 1975 European Boxing Championships after 16 years of hiatus05 July 2020
The 21st edition of the European Boxing Championships was held in Katowice, Poland where the Soviet Union dominated the event. Nine out of their eleven boxers advanced to the finals of the European Boxing Championships in 1975. Kalevi Marjamaa claimed Finland’s first gold medal in the continental event after 16 years of hiatus.
Poland’s capital Warsaw was the host of the European Boxing Championships in 1953 and after 22 years of break the continental event returned to the country. Poland was one of the key nations in the 1950s and 1960s in Europe and their boxers were powerful in the home edition.
The first competition day of the 1975 European Boxing Championships was June 1 in Katowice while the finals were scheduled on June 8. Two rounds of preliminaries were held at the light welterweight (63.5kg) and light middleweight (71kg) in Katowice.
The number of the boxers was nearly 200, exactly 193 in the 1975 European Boxing Championships in Katowice. The following 23 nations attended in the Katowice 1975 European Boxing Championships: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Germany, England, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Wales, West Germany and Yugoslavia.
Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia attended with maximum number of eleven boxers in the Katowice 1975 European Boxing Championships. One of the boxing powers of the continent the Italians failed to reach any medals in the Katowice edition.
The Soviet Union produced impressive performance in 1975 when their boxers claimed six gold and three silver medals. Poland was the runner-up team in the European Boxing Championships in 1975 with their two gold medals. Romania, Hungary and Finland were the remaining nations which earned all one title in Katowice.
Bulgaria, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Spain, England, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Denmark were still on the medal table of the Katowice 1975 European Boxing Championships. The Austrians achieved their first bronze medal in Katowice since the East Berlin 1965 edition.
The light flyweight (48kg) saw a big surprise in Katowice where Soviet Union’s Aleksandr Tkachenko eliminated Hungary’s Munich 1972 Olympic Games winner and two-time European Champion György Gedo in the semi-finals. The Ukrainian-descent Soviet boxer controlled his final as well against Spain’s Enrique Rodriguez.
Soviet Union’s Vladislav Zasypko claimed the title in the smallest category in 1973 and he repeated that performance two years later. The Soviet Union’s hope moved up to the flyweight (51kg) but he was slightly better than Romania’s Constantin Gruiescu. The Soviet Union’s third-in-a-row success was taken by 19-year-old Viktor Rybakov who defeated Bulgaria’s Chacho Andreykovski in the final of the bantamweight (54kg).
Hungary’s Tibor Badari attended already in the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games at the age of 20 and by the time of the Katowice event, he was the most experienced boxer at the featherweight (57kg). He won the bantamweight (54kg) in 1971 and defeated all of his opponents in his new category in Katowice including Yugoslavia’s Bratislav Ristic.
The Cutov family impressed the European experts at the lightweight (60kg) in that period, firstly Calistrat then Simion. The latter was gold medallist in 1973 and he was able to defend his throne in Katowice following he stopped Soviet Union’s Valeriy Lvov in the final. The sixth gold medal of the European Boxing Championships was captured by Soviet Union’s Valeriy Limassov at the light welterweight (63.5kg).
Finland’s Olli Mäki earned the title in 1959 and after 16 years of break another boxer from the Northern European nation achieved gold in Katowice. Kalevi Marjamaa, who was nicknamed Kalle, was 22-year-old in the event with less international experiences as many of his opponents but shined from his first fight against top rivals. Finland’s new hero was enough fresh in the final against the favourite, Romania’s Victor Zilberman and won the title of the welterweight (67kg).
Poland’s Wieslaw Rudkowski claimed silver medal in the Munich 1972 Olympic Games and reached the top of the podium at the light middleweight (71kg) in Katowice after beating Soviet Union’s Viktor Savchenko. His fellow Andrzej Biegalski knocked out his top rivals as West Germany’s Peter Hussing and Romania’s Mircea Simon during his road to the final of the heavyweight (+81kg) in Katowice. The 22-year-old Polish was slightly better also than Soviet Union’s defending champion Viktor Ulyanich and earned the gold on home soil.
Soviet Union’s Munich 1972 Olympic Games winner Vyacheslav Lemeshev was the titleholder of the middleweight (75kg) and he accomplished his next target the second European gold in Katowice. Soviet Union’s Anatoliy Klimanov won the light middleweight (71kg) in 1973 and moved up two categories to attend in Katowice. The Kiev-based boxer had three tough fights in the event but Klimanov was too strong for all of them.
List of the winners in the 1975 European Boxing Championships
- Light flyweight (48kg): Aleksandr Tkachenko, Soviet Union
- Flyweight (51kg): Vladislav Zasypko, Soviet Union
- Bantamweight (54kg): Viktor Rybakov, Soviet Union
- Featherweight (57kg): Tibor Badari, Hungary
- Lightweight (60kg): Simion Cutov, Romania
- Light welterweight (63.5kg): Valeriy Limassov, Soviet Union
- Welterweight (67kg): Kalevi Marjamaa, Finland
- Light middleweight (71kg): Wieslaw Rudkowski, Poland
- Middleweight (75kg): Vyacheslav Lemeshev, Soviet Union
- Light heavyweight (81kg): Anatoliy Klimanov, Soviet Union
- Heavyweight (+81kg): Andrzej Biegalski, Poland