October 19, 2003 by

Laszlo Papp


Categories: Sports

Laszlo Papp, the first boxer to win three Olympic gold medals, died on Oct. 16. Cause of death was not released. He was 77.
Born in Budapest, Papp inherited a love of boxing from his father. After training with Zsigmond Adler, he outpointed Britain’s John Wright to win his first Olympic gold medal in 1948. Four years later, Papp competed in the light heavyweight category and beat South Africa’s Theunis van Schalkwyk at the Helsinki Games. He won a third gold medal at the Melbourne Games in 1956 when he outpointed Puerto Rican Jose Torres.
Papp received permission from the authorities to turn pro and in 1957 became the first professional boxer from a communist country. He quickly gained a reputation for his devastating left hook, which was particularly unique since he was right-handed. Although he won the European middleweight title in 1962, 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.” Papp retired from the sport with an undefeated record of 27-0-2.
In 1989, the World Boxing Council named him an honorary world champion. Two years later, he was designated the world’s best amateur and pro middleweight boxer of all time and inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

6 Responses to Laszlo Papp

  1. Laszlo Czako

    Laszlo Papp to me was the most influencial fighter of all times. When I was younger I watched old tapes of Laszlo Papp fighting. This inspired me to become a boxer and envetually I took on the nick name of the “Mail Man” in tribute to Laszlo Papp’s job as a mail man.

  2. Bob Holt

    As a young lad I rememember watching him win his olympic medals. He then was awesome as a “pro” he truly looked unbeatable. He had great dignity too. If you love boxing then Laszlo truly was one of the greatest. We should see and hear more about him.

  3. Esperanza Guillen

    My uncle is an non boxer, and I just am in love with the way Laszlo way of fighting. Thank you!
    – Esperanza Guillen-

  4. Stephen Wright

    I am proud to say that my father Johnny Wright fought Laszlo Papp in the 1948 Olympic final. Dad was always proud of having fought the man who many thought one of the best boxers ever. They met in 1977 when Laszlo was accompanying the Hungerian boxing team in London and a national newspaper arranged a get together. Laszlo generously told my father that their match had been his hardest olympic fight.

  5. A. Keri

    Dear Sirs,
    Mr. Laszlo Papp was trained and coached by my father Mr. Bela Keri, until 1958 when we have emigrated to Canada. My father Mr. Keri brought Papp Laci (“Gorbe”) to London, as his childhood friend Zsiga Adler had problems with the Customs and Finance People in Hungary for Dollar exhchange, which was prohibited in the communist regime. therefore Mr. Adler had to stay in Budapest at the end of July and beginning of August 1948. As you know there was another gold medalist, Mr. Tibor Csik, and my father has promised, if Laci wins also, he will jump into the nearby swimming pool in his gear. The next morning the newpapers shown a very dripping coach/trainer on their front page.
    Recently a book was published in Hungary, and to my dismay this incident was attributed to Mr. Adler, who as I mentioned earlier has not been near London England at that time.

  6. Mary DaCosta (Kakuk)

    To the daughter of Bela Keri
    Laszlo Papp was my uncle. I have no information about him other than what can be found on the web. My father has been trying to find his family for years. Is there any information you can give me? Do you know any of his family members?

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