The new generations shined in the Belgrade 1961 European Boxing Championships including Tamulis and Lagutin11 June 2020
The new generation of boxers shined in the 1961 European Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Following the Rome 1960 Olympic Games many of the stars finished their boxing careers or turned to professionals therefore only Soviet Union’s Andrey Abramov was able to defend his throne in 1961.
The first competition day of the European Boxing Championships was June 3 while the finals were held on June 10 in 1961. The light welterweight (63.5kg) and the welterweight (67kg) were the two weight classes where the number of boxers was over 16 and the local organizers had to arrange two rounds of preliminaries.
The number of the boxers was record number of 146 in the Belgrade 1961 European Boxing Championships. The following 21 nations attended in the 1961 edition: Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, England, Finland, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Soviet Union, Switzerland, West Germany and Yugoslavia.
England, Italy, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, West Germany and Yugoslavia attended with maximum number of ten boxers in the 1961 European Boxing Championships. Gibraltar made its debut in the 1959 European Boxing Championships and the country sent also boxers to the Belgrade edition.
The Soviet Union topped the medal table with impressive performance including five gold medals in 1961. Italy achieved two titles in Belgrade while Poland, England and Scotland were the further nations which earned one gold medal. Thirteen nations shared the medals in 1961, the host Yugoslavia, East Germany, Romania, Switzerland, Austria, France, Hungary and West Germany were on the podiums.
The Swiss team was not able to get any medals on home soil in the Luzern 1959 European Boxing Championships but Max Meier and Fritz Chervet acquired silver and bronze for the country two years later.
The first gold medal in 1961 was achieved by Italy’s Paolo Vacca who defeated Soviet Union’s experienced Vladimir Stolnikov in the final of the flyweight (51kg). West Germany’s Horst Rascher was the titleholder at the bantamweight (54kg) but he lost his opening fight to England’s Peter Bennyworth. Olympic Games winner Hungary’s Gyula Török lost his quarter-final in his new weight class in Belgrade where the gold medal went to the Soviet Union’s Sergey Sivko.
England’s lone gold medal in Belgrade was captured by Francis Taylor who won all of his four fights in the event including his final over Soviet Union’s Aleksey Zasukhin at the featherweight (57kg). Another boxer from the British islands, Scotland’s Melbourne 1956 Olympic Champion Richard McTaggart had tough draws in the previous editions but in Belgrade he dominated the lightweight (60kg). The 26-year-old Scottish boxer defeated Yugoslavia’s Patar Benedek in the fourth final of the event.
Soviet Union’s Vladimir Yengibaryan won the European Championships three-times in the 1950s but he retired from the active sport. His replacement arrived from Latvia Aloizs Tumins who continued the Soviet Union’s winning path at the light welterweight (63.kg) following his success over Yugoslavia’s Ljubisa Mehovic. The Soviet Union’s next Baltic boxer Lithuanian Ricardas Tamulis won his first European title in Belgrade where the 23-year-old welterweight (67kg) hope defeated Switzerland’s Max Meier in the final.
Soviet Union’s Boris Lagutin earned bronze medal at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games which he changed into gold in Belgrade. Lagutin knocked out two out of his four opponents in 1961 including his final opponent East Germany’s Hans-Dieter Neidel. Poland’s Tadeusz Walasek claimed silver medals in 1957 and in 1959 and advanced to his third final in Belgrade following his semi-final triumph over Yugoslavia’s Dragoslav Jakovljevic. The 25-year-old Polish boxer was strongly motivated in the final against Soviet Union’s Yevgeniy Feofanov and won his European title at the middleweight (75kg).
Italy’s Civitavecchia-based Giulio Saraudi had to meet in the final of the light heavyweight (81kg) with Romania’s 1957 champion Gheorghe Negrea but the Olympic Games bronze medallist managed his success over his experienced opponent. Soviet Union’s Andrey Abramov claimed the gold medals in 1957 and in 1959 therefore the 26-year-old boxer was the main favourite of the heavyweight (+81kg) in Belgrade. Abramov was too strong for Italy’s Benito Penna in the final and celebrated his third European title in-a-row.
List of the winners in the 1961 European Boxing Championships
- Flyweight (51kg): Paolo Vacca, Italy
- Bantamweight (54kg): Sergey Sivko, Soviet Union
- Featherweight (57kg): Francis Taylor, England
- Lightweight (60kg): Richard McTaggart, Scotland
- Light welterweight (63.5kg): Aloizs Tumins, Soviet Union
- Welterweight (67kg): Ricardas Tamulis, Soviet Union
- Light middleweight (71kg): Boris Lagutin, Soviet Union
- Middleweight (75kg): Tadeusz Walasek, Poland
- Light heavyweight (81kg): Giulio Saraudi, Italy
- Heavyweight (+81kg): Andrey Abramov, Soviet Union
In featured image: Boris Lagutin