Laszlo Papp, the three-time southpaw Olympic Gold Medalist with 125-3 shown in boxrec.com and a 301-12-12 record with 55 first-round stoppages reported) amateur record out of Budapest, Hungary, who passed away at age 77 in 2003.

He was one of three who accomplished, winning three Olympic Gold Medals.

At the time, Hungary was a Communist country. He defeated Johnny Wright of the UK in August of 1948 at the London Olympics in the Middleweight division, winning his first Gold Medal.

In August of 1952, Papp defeated Theunis Van Schalkwyk of South Africa for his second Gold Medal in Helsinki, Finland. In the first round, he defeated Spider Webb of the USA.

In December of 1956, Papp defeated future world light heavyweight champion Jose “Chegui” Torres of Puerto Rico at the Melbourne, Australia, Games in the Light Middleweight division for his third Gold Medal. In the semi-final he defeated Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski who had stopped him in September in the Warsaw Cup final.

Pietrzykowski had lost in the 1960 Olympic finals to Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali.

In May of 1957 Papp turned professional out of Vienna, Austria since Hungary didn’t allow professional boxing. He sometimes went to Paris, France, for sparring.

In turning professional, his opponent of 81 bouts was Germany’s Alobis Brand in his first of three decision wins in Germany. He followed with a win in Vienna, Austria.

Then, he won in Paris, France, and again there in his fifth fight over Francois Anewy, 21-4-6. In his sixth fight and third scheduled ten-rounder, he defeated Frances Andre Drille, 51-5-6, who he had down five times in winning a decision.

In Papp’s eighth fight, he broke his hand in a draw against France’s Germinal Ballarin, 45-11-6, in Paris in April of 1959. Four wins, three by stoppage would follow.

In December of 1960, Papp suffered his second draw against Italy’s Giancarlo Garbelli, 67-7-8, in Italy, breaking his hand in the third round of a scheduled ten.

In September of 1961, Papp won back-to-back wins over Germany’s Peter Mueller, 116-20-4. In March of 1962, he defeated American trial horse who had a win over “Sugar” Ray Robinson, in Ralph “Tiger” Jones, 52-31-5, scoring three knockdowns before 16,000 fans.

In Papp’s next fight he won his first title, EBU European Middleweight title stopping Denmark’s Chris Christensen, 49-14-3, in Vienna. In his first defense, he knocked out France’s Hippolyte Annex, 28-0-5.

In Papp’s fourth defense of the EBU title in Spain, he stopped Spain’s Luis Folledo, 81-2-2, in eight rounds. Two fights later he again defeated Christensen, 54-16-4, and ended his professional career in October of 1964 defeating Mick Leahy, 46-15-7, in his sixth defense.

After this title fight, the Hungarian government refused to allow him to fight for the world title in 1965 because boxing for financial gain was ‘incompatible with socialist principles.’

I had visited promoter Lou Lucchese of Leesport, Pennsylvania, above Reading, PA, pertaining to him promoting an event I had planned. He told me “the FBI showed up at my doorsteps wanting to know why I tried contacting Laszlo Papp.” He told them “I represent the current world middleweight champion Joey Giardello and wanted Papp to come to America for a title fight.”

It was not to be, as Papp ended his career with a 27-0-2 record with 15 stoppages. He had suffered hand injuries due to brittle bones.

“I was one step away from a world title shot but it would have meant going to America and my government didn’t approve,” Papp said in an interview after the fall of communism in Hungary in 1989. “I think it was just jealousy. I was earning more money than most of them. There was a lot of antagonism.”

In a poll in November 1988 issue in Boxing Illustratedd Papp was named the second greatest Olympic boxer of all-time. The WBC named Papp an honorary world champion in 1989 and designated him the world’s best amateur and professional fighter of all time in 1991.

Papp was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.

 

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