Published June 12, 2012
Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson, a three-time world and Olympic boxing champ, died in Havana from heart problems, state media reported. He was 60.
Stevenson, considered one of the greatest Cuban boxers of all time, died on Monday.
He was vice president of the Cuban Boxing Federation and worked for the National Retired Athletes Commission and for the National Sports and Physical Education Institute, or Inder.
Stevenson took part Saturday in a walk held in Havana focused on the 2012 Olympic Games in London, along with more than 100 of the island's most outstanding athletes.
State television reported Monday on the prizefighter's "victories, modesty and patriotism" and said that "beyond the glory won in the ring, his death leaves an incalculable vacancy at the heart of Cuban revolutionary sports."
Popularly known as "Pirolo" and "the Giant of Central Delicias," a reference to the town in the eastern province of Las Tunas where he was born on March 29, 1952, Stevenson won all the titles of the International Amateur Boxing Association, or AIBA.
He followed in the footsteps of fighters like Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Ken Norton and Laszlo Papp. He was world light-heavyweight champion in 1969 and went on to dominate the heavyweight category the following year to become Caribbean champ.
The first Panamerican Games in which he fought were in 1971 at Cali, Colombia, but he took his first Panamerican gold medal as a heavyweight at the 1975 games in Mexico.
He was 25 when he was crowed Olympic champion for the first time at the 1972 Munich games, and since then he never stopped accumulating the titles that rank him as the best amateur prizefighter in history: Montreal in 1976, San Juan in 1979 and Moscow in 1980, plus several world championships.
He was also triple champion as a middleweight and light-middleweight and three times world champ in Havana in 1974, Belgrade in 1978 and Reno in 1986.
In the course of his brilliant career he picked up the double title of Central American and Caribbean champ in 1974 and 1982, and was a six-time champion of the Central American boxing tourney between 1970 and 1977.
His crushing right hand was so powerful that, according to commentators, most of his fights ended with a knockout.
Following his devastating triumph at the world championships in the U.S. city of Reno in 1986, the island's legendary athlete decided to hang up his gloves. He said his farewells in July 1988 at the Giraldo Cordova Cardin international boxing tourney.
Stevenson scored 301 wins in the 321 bouts in which he fought during his 20 years in the ring. In all that time he had only 20 losses, two of them to Russian prizefighter Igor Visotski. EFE