Teófilo Stevenson, Cuban amateur boxer, died at 60

  Dead Famous

Dead, Teófilo Stevenson Lawrence on the 11th of June 2012, he was a Cuban amateur boxer and engineer.

Born in Puerto Padre, Cuba on the 29th of March 1952, his father Teófilo Stevenson Patterson was an immigrant from Saint Vincent.

His mother Dolores Lawrence was a native Cuban, but her parents were immigrants from Anglophone island Saint Kitts.

Teófilo senior arrived in Cuba in 1923, finding work wherever he could, before settling in Camagüey with Dolores, where he gave English lessons to top up his meagre earnings.

Teófilo junior was a shiftless but bright child who at nine years old soon found himself sparring at the makeshift open-air gym his father had frequented.

Under the tutelage of former national light heavyweight champion John Herrera, Teófilo junior began his career fighting far more experienced boxers, but according to Herrera, “had what it took”. Despite his growing involvement in the sport, Stevenson had yet to tell his mother about his activities.

Eventually Teófilo senior broke the news to his wife, who was furious; but she agreed to acquiesce on the provision that the boy was accompanied by his father.

Stevenson’s senior boxing career began at age seventeen with a defeat in the national championships against the experienced heavyweight Gabriel Garcia.

Despite the setback, Stevenson went on to register convincing victories over Nancio Carillo and Juan Perez, two of Cuba’s finest boxers in the weight division, securing a place in the national team for the 1970 Central American Championships.

Defeat in the final after three victories was considered no shame, and Stevenson firmly established himself as Cuba’s premier heavyweight.

Teófilo Stevenson was just 20 years old when he became a Cuban national hero by winning heavyweight boxing gold at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

He was born in Puerto Padre, on Cuba’s northeastern shore, and was 7 years old when Fidel Castro took power in the Communist revolution of 1959.

He began boxing seriously as a teen, and rose rapidly to the Cuban national team.

Tall, muscular and cat-quick, he won three Olympic gold medals in all: in 1972, 1976 and 1980 while compiling a reported overall career record of 302 wins against just 16 losses.

Stevenson won three world amateur titles (as a heavyweight in 1974 and 1978 and as a super-heavyweight in 1986), a mark matched only by fellow Cubans Adolfo Horta and Félix Savón (who won six amateur titles).

Stevenson’s devastating left jab and powerful right would have been a serious challenge to the leading professional fighters of his day, and promoters actively sought to induce him to turn professional.