Papp and Di Segni defended their thrones in the Milan 1951 European Boxing Championships when the number of weight classes increased up to 10

27 May 2020 News

Milan welcomed the continent’s best boxers in 1937 and after 14 years of break the European Boxing Championships returned to Northern Italian city. Hungary’s Laszlo Papp and Italy’s Giacomo Di Segni were the boxers who defended their European titles in 1951 which event had new weight classes and record number of athletes.

The ninth edition of the European Boxing Championships was held in 1951 one year before the Helsinki Olympic Games. The first competition day of the event was May 14 while the finals were held on May 19 in 1951.

There were two bronze medallists at the very first time in the history of the European Boxing Championships following the decision of the elimination of the bronze medal matches. The weight categories have been changed from pounds to kilograms and their number is increased from 8 to 10. The number of presented medals was 24 in 1949 which changed to 40 in 1951 therefore the number of participants also increased.

The number of the boxers was record number of 132 in the Milan 1951 European Boxing Championships. The following 20 nations attended in the ninth edition of the European Boxing Championships in Milan: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Saarland, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, West Germany, and Yugoslavia.

Luxembourg and Saarland made their international debuts at the 1951 European Boxing Championships in Milan. Saarland was a protectorate in the region of West Germany which was occupied by France in 1945 and their separated team could attend in the European Boxing Championships and also at the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games. Saarland sent nine boxers to Milan but all of their hopes failed to get a medal in the event.

France, Italy, Poland, and West Germany attended with maximum number of ten boxers in the 1951 European Boxing Championships. Finland, the host of the next Olympic Games, sent only one boxer to Milan but Pentti Hämäläinen achieved bronze at the flyweight (51kg) and gold one year later in home soil.

Host Italy won the medal table with four gold medals in 1951 ahead of the teams of West Germany and Hungary. Italy, West Germany, Hungary, France, Sweden, Belgium and Poland shared the gold medals in the event. Record number of 16 nations out of the participating 20 earned at least one bronze medal in Milan. Ireland, Austria, Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, England and Finland all were there on the medal table of the 1951 European Boxing Championships.

Italy’s first gold medal was achieved by Aristide Pozzali, a Cremona-based boxer who won the flyweight (51kg) after beating Netherlands’ Hendrik Van der Zee. Giovanni Zuddas won the gold at the bantamweight in 1949 and another Italian Vincenzo Dall’Osso of Imola achieved the title in the Milan edition.

Jacques Bataille claimed gold for France at the featherweight in Oslo and two years later another French boxer won that category, Joseph Ventaja who was born in Casablanca, Morocco. The French boxer defeated Yugoslavia’s lone finalist Kosta Lekovic in the final before taking bronze at the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games.

Italy’s Bruno Visintin was only 18 and half by the time of the 1951 European Boxing Championships but his skills were enough to beat Hungary’s Istvan Juhasz in the final of the lightweight (60kg). The light welterweight (63.5kg) was a new addition to the European Boxing Championships and its first winner West Germany’s Herbert Schilling won two fights by KO before his final success over Italy’s Marcello Padovani.

Poland’s Zygmunt Chychla began his boxing career at the age of 13 in 1939 and after a few years of experiences in the battlefield and also in the ring, he joined to the national team in 1947. His trainings were led by Poland’s legendary coach Feliks Stamm and Chychla used up these benefits at the 1951 European Boxing Championships where he defeated all of his four rivals to get the welterweight (67kg) title.

Hungary’s and the world’s boxing icon Laszlo Papp was gold medallist at the London 1948 Olympic Games and he was the defending champion also in Europe from 1949. The Hungarian southpaw moved down to the light middleweight (71kg) and opened with a KO success over Italy’s Aristide Dall’Piazzo in the preliminary stage. The Hungarian was too strong for all of his rivals and defended his throne in the European Boxing Championships.

Sweden’s lone finalist in 1949 Stig Sjölin remained at the middleweight (75kg) and controlled all of his fights in the 1951 edition beating West Germany’s Günther Sladky in the final. Belgium produced boxers with impressive technique in that period and their light heavyweight (81kg) hope Marcel Limage became their next European Champion in 1951.

Italy’s Giacomo Di Segni won the gold medal at the Oslo 1949 European Boxing Championships and moved up to the heavyweight (+81kg) in the Milan edition. The Italian boxer was already 32 in 1951 but he defeated all of his four rivals on home soil winning the fourth gold medal for the host nation. Ireland’s 1947 European Champion Gearoid O’Colmain was surprisingly knocked out by Netherlands’ Jan Dyckman during the preliminaries.

List of the winners in the 1951 European Boxing Championships

  • Flyweight (51kg): Aristide Pozzali, Italy
  • Bantamweight (54kg): Vincenzo Dall’Osso, Italy
  • Featherweight (57kg): Joseph Ventaja, France
  • Lightweight (60kg): Bruno Visintin, Italy
  • Light welterweight (63.5kg): Herbert Schilling, West Germany
  • Welterweight (67kg): Zygmunt Chychla, Poland
  • Light middleweight (71kg): Laszlo Papp, Hungary
  • Middleweight (75kg): Stig Sjölin, Sweden
  • Light heavyweight (81kg): Marcel Limage, Belgium
  • Heavyweight (+81kg): Giacomo Di Segni, Italy
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