Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski became the first four-time European champion in the 1963 Moscow edition

15 June 2020 News

The 1963 edition of the European Boxing Championships was held in Moscow in the Soviet Union where the Eastern bloc countries won all of the ten gold medals. The Soviet Union claimed half dozens of gold medals in Moscow but the biggest star of the event was Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski who became the first four-time European Champion in 1963.

It was the first continental event in the Soviet Union and all of their boxers advanced to the finals of the 1963 edition. The first competition day of the European Boxing Championships was May 26 while the finals were held on June 2 in 1963.

The number of the boxers was record number of 133 in the Moscow 1963 European Boxing Championships. The following 18 nations attended in the 1963 edition: Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, England, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Scotland, host Soviet Union, Switzerland, West Germany and Yugoslavia.

Seven nations out of the 18, East Germany, England, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Soviet Union and West Germany attended with maximum number of ten boxers in the 1963 European Boxing Championships.

The Soviet Union won the medal table once again but their dominancy in 1963 was more clean with six gold medals. Poland achieved two titles in Moscow while Czechoslovakia and Hungary both won one gold medal.

Italy, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Scotland, East Germany, West Germany, Finland and France were also on the medal table which means thirteen nations shared the 40 podium places in the Moscow 1963 European Boxing Championships.

Italy’s Paolo Vacca was the titleholder of the flyweight (51kg) but he suffered a TKO loss to Bulgaria’s Stefan Panayotov in the semi-finals. The 22-year-old Bulgarian claimed finally silver medal following he was defeated by Soviet Union’s Viktor Bystrov in the title bout. Olympic Champion Oleg Grigoryev was gold medallist in 1957 and achieved silver in 1959 and returned in top shape in Moscow. The 26-year-old local favourite knocked out Yugoslavia’s Branislav Petric in the final taking his second European gold medal.

The Soviet Union’s third-in-a-row gold medal was captured by another Moscow-based boxer Stanislav Stepashkin at the featherweight (57kg). The 23-year-old boxer eliminated the Luzern 1959 European Champion Jerzy Adamski of Poland in the semi-finals and continued his winning path against Italy’s Giovanni Girgenti in the final.

Laszlo Papp won a gold medal in the 1951 edition and after 12-years of break Janos Kajdi took a European title for Hungary in Moscow. The 24-year-old Hungarian was bronze medallist in Belgrade two years earlier and he changed that into gold in 1963. Kajdi defeated all of his four rivals including such stars as Poland’s Olympic Champion Jozef Grudzien and Soviet Union’s Boris Nikanorov at the lightweight (60kg).

Poland’s Jerzy Kulej was the best boxer of his nation in the 1960s who began his fantastic winning series in the Moscow 1963 European Boxing Championships. The 23-year-old Polish boxer advanced to the final of the light welterweight (63.5kg) after beating Italy’s Bruno Arcari. Kulej had to meet with Soviet Union’s Latvian-based defending champion Aloizs Tumins but he managed to win that tough battle in Moscow.

The Soviet Union’s Lithuanian welterweight (67kg) boxer Ricardas Tamulis won his first European title in Belgrade in 1961 and he defended his throne in Moscow where he was too smart for Italy’s Silvano Bertini in the final. Soviet Union’s Boris Lagutin claimed bronze medal at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games and gold in the Belgrade 1961 European Boxing Championships. The Moscow-based Lagutin stopped Scotland’s Andrew Wyper in the final and defended his throne as Ricardas Tamulis.

Soviet Union’s Valeriy Popenchenko won his first national title in 1959 at the age of 22 and reached his first international highlight in the Moscow 1963 European Boxing Championships. Popenchenko spent less than one round in the ring against Italy’s Dino Murru in the quarter-finals when his opponent’s ringside abandoned the battle. Popenchenko was untouchable for Yugoslavia’s veteran Dragoslav Jakovljevic in the semi-finals and dominated his final over Romania’s Ion Manea.

Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski won his first European title in West Berlin in 1955 and defended his throne in 1957 and in 1959 as well. The three-time Olympic medallists Polish boxer moved up from the light middleweight (71kg) up to the light heavyweight (81kg) since 1955 but impressed in Moscow once again. The 29-year-old Polish boxer stopped his main rival Soviet Union’s Lithuanian Danas Pozniakas in the final of the event and became the first who collected his fourth European title.

Soviet Union’s Andrey Abramov claimed the gold medals in 1957, in 1959 and in 1961 therefore his goal was the same as Pietrzykowski, to get his fourth European title. Abramov defeated three rivals during his road to the final and met with Czechoslovakia’s Rome 1960 Olympic Games bronze medallist Josef Nemec. The 30-year-old Czech was also a very experienced heavyweight (+81kg) boxer who could beat Abramov in his homeland.

List of the winners in the 1963 European Boxing Championships

  • Flyweight (51kg): Viktor Bystrov, Soviet Union
  • Bantamweight (54kg): Oleg Grigoryev, Soviet Union
  • Featherweight (57kg): Stanislav Stepashkin, Soviet Union
  • Lightweight (60kg): Janos Kajdi, Hungary
  • Light welterweight (63.5kg): Jerzy Kulej, Poland
  • Welterweight (67kg): Ricardas Tamulis, Soviet Union
  • Light middleweight (71kg): Boris Lagutin, Soviet Union
  • Middleweight (75kg): Valeriy Popenchenko, Soviet Union
  • Light heavyweight (81kg): Zbigniew Pietrzykowski, Poland
  • Heavyweight (+81kg): Josef Nemec, Czechoslovakia

In featured image: Zbigniew Pietrzykowski

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