Yengibaryan, Drogosz and Pietrzykowski are three-time champions after the finals of the Luzern 1959 European Boxing Championships

10 June 2020 News

Switzerland’s Luzern hosted the European Boxing Championships in 1959 which was the 13th edition. Seven out of the ten winners claimed their second or third European titles in Luzern among them such stars as Nino Benvenuti, Leszek Drogosz, Vladimir Yengibaryan, Zbigniew Pietrzykowski and Andrey Abramov.

The first competition day of the European Boxing Championships was May 24 while the finals were held on May 31 in 1959. After the first part of the quarter-finals a rest day was held on May 28 same as in 1957.

Several of the boxers at the flyweight (51kg), bantamweight (54kg), featherweight (57kg), lightweight (60kg), light welterweight (63.5kg), welterweight (67kg), light middleweight (71kg) and middleweight (75kg) had to box for the last 16 in Luzern. Among the 10 champions two of them had to fight five-times within one week to win their weight classes.

The number of the boxers was record number of 180 in the Luzern 1959 European Boxing Championships. The following 25 nations attended in the 1959 edition: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Germany, England, Finland, France, Gibraltar, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, West Germany and Yugoslavia.

East Germany, England, Italy, Poland, Scotland Soviet Union and West Germany attended with maximum number of ten boxers in the 1959 European Boxing Championships. Gibraltar competed with four boxers at the very first time and made its debut in the Luzern 1959 European Boxing Championships.

Poland regained its place in the top of the podium in 1959 when their boxers claimed three gold, two silver and two bronze medals. The Soviet Union also impressed once again with six medals including three titles in the European Boxing Championships. West Germany ranked as No.3 with two titles in Luzern where Italy and Finland both earned one gold medal.

Sixteen nations earned at least one medal in Luzern which was same figure as in 1955 and in 1957. Hungary, England, Romania, Bulgaria, Ireland, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Austria, Czechoslovakia, France and Turkey were also on the medal table. Orhan Tus won the first ever medal for Turkey which was a bronze at the featherweight (57kg) in 1959. The host country the Swiss team had two boxers in the quarter-finals but Peter Müller and Max Bossigger both lost their contests for the medals.

Manfred Homberg defeated Romania’s Mircea Dobrescu in the final of the 1957 European Boxing Championships. His Romanian opponent lost his quarter-final in 1959 while Homberg advanced to the final once again and remained on the top of the podium following his success over Hungary’s Gyula “Beka” Török. Soviet Union’s Oleg Grigoryev was only 19 in 1957 when he claimed the gold medal at the bantamweight (54kg) but he was unable to defend his throne two years later after losing the final to West Germany’s Horst Rascher.

Poland’s first gold medal in Luzern was achieved by Jerzy Adamski who defeated West Germany’s third finalist Peter Goschka at the featherweight (57kg). Bulgaria’s first ever European Champion was Dimitar Velinov at the featherweight (57kg) in 1957 and competed at the lightweight (60kg) in Luzern. The Bulgarian boxer lost to Finland’s 1957 silver medallist Olli Mäki in the final who defeated also the defending champion of the lightweight (60kg) Poland’s Kazimierz Pazdzior in an exciting preliminary bout.

Soviet Union’s Vladimir Yengibaryan took gold medals in 1953 and in 1957 and the tough Armenian boxer was the main favourite for the title in Luzern as well. The Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games winner Yengibaryan had already 13 years of experiences in boxing at the 1959 European Boxing Championships and won his third title after beating Italy’s Piero Brandi at the light welterweight (63.5kg).

Poland’s biggest star Leszek Drogosz claimed the gold medals at the 1953 and 1955 European Boxing Championships but he had to miss the 1957 edition. The 26-year-old welterweight (67kg) boxer returned in Luzern to achieved his third European title and to prepare well to the Rome 1960 Olympic Games. Drogosz began his campaign with a superb success over Soviet Union’s Lithuanian Ricardas Tamulis and dominated all of his fights in Luzern including his final over Italy’s Carmelo Bossi.

Italy’s National Champion best boxer in the 1950s Nino Benvenuti claimed gold medal at the Prague 1957 European Boxing Championships short after his 19th birthday. The Italian light middleweight (71kg) boxer won all of his contests in Luzern and defended his European throne after beating Poland’s Henryk Dampc in the final. Benvenuti won the Olympic gold and the Val Barker Trophy in Rome one year later and remained unbeaten during his amateur boxing career.

The winner of the middleweight (75kg) in the West Berlin 1955 edition, Soviet Union’s Gennadiy Shatkov lost to Yugoslavia’s Dragoslav Jakovljevic in the quarter-finals of the Prague 1957 European Boxing Championships. The Melbourne 1956 Olympic Champion Russian boxer defeated Poland’s Tadeusz Walasek in the final who claimed his second silver after 1957.

Poland’s another top star Zbigniew Pietrzykowski won the gold medal at the light middleweight (71kg) in 1955 and claimed the title of the middleweight (75kg) in 1957. The Polish boxer introduced himself at the light heavyweight (81kg) in 1959 but he was able to beat the defending champion of the category Romania’s Gheorghe Negrea in the final. Following Vladimir Yengibaryan and his fellow Leszek Drogosz, he became three-time European Champion in Luzern.

The Soviet Union dominated the heavyweight (+91kg) in 1953, 1955 and in 1957 and their promising Andrey Abramov was able to win the category also in Luzern. The tough Lithuanian boxer Algirdas Socikas won the 1953 and the 1955 European Boxing Championships while Andrey Abramov claimed the gold medals in 1957 and in 1959. Abramov controlled his final over England’s Commonwealth Games silver medallist Dave Thomas in the last bout of the event.

List of the winners in the 1959 European Boxing Championships

  • Flyweight (51kg): Manfred Homberg, West Germany
  • Bantamweight (54kg): Horst Rascher, West Germany
  • Featherweight (57kg): Jerzy Adamski, Poland
  • Lightweight (60kg): Olli Mäki, Finland
  • Light welterweight (63.5kg): Vladimir Yengibaryan, Soviet Union
  • Welterweight (67kg): Leszek Drogosz, Poland
  • Light middleweight (71kg): Nino Benvenuti, Italy
  • Middleweight (75kg): Gennadiy Shatkov, Soviet Union
  • Light heavyweight (81kg): Zbigniew Pietrzykowski, Poland
  • Heavyweight (+81kg): Andrey Abramov, Soviet Union
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