Home Boxing History Puncher from the Past: Hungary’s Laszlo Papp

Puncher from the Past: Hungary’s Laszlo Papp

Laszlo Papp
Born: 25 March 1926 Budapest, Hungary
Died: 16 October 2003 Budapest Hungary
Amateur achievements:
-Although only 5’4” tall with a 64” reach southpaw Papp won gold medals at the Olympic Games in 1948 at middleweight and in 1952 and 1956 at light middleweight. It was another twenty years before Teofilio Stevenson equalled this feat and together with fellow-Cuban Felix Savon they are the only three fighters to ever win three boxing gold medals at consecutive Games.
-Won gold medals at the European Championships in 1949 at middleweight and 1951 at light middleweight.
-Seven times Hungarian champion.
-In his last amateur fight at the 1956 Olympic Ganes he defeated future WBA/WBC light heavyweight champion Jose Torres in the gold medal bout for the light middleweight division.
-His amateur record is generally accepted to be 319 fights 301 wins, 12 losses and 6 draws. Reported to have scored 55 first round knockouts.
Professional boxing was banned in Hungary but Papp received a permit from the Hungarian Government to fight as a professional but was not allowed to fight in Hungary. He was the only athlete from a Communist country to be allowed to take part in profession sport.

Professional Record: 29 fights 27 wins (15 by KO/TKO) 0 losses 2 draws.
-Basing himself in Austria Papp had his first pro fight in 18 May 1957
-1959 drew with Germinal Ballarin. Reportedly Papp broke a hand in the third round
-1960 drew with Italian Giancarlo Garbelli in Milan
-1962 Won the European middleweight title by stopping Chris Christensen in seven rounds
-Defended the European title in November 1962 with a ninth round kayo of Frenchman Hippolyte Annex (Annex was unbeaten in 33 fights at the time).
-1963 stopped George Aldrich and Peter Mueller in European title defences. Beat Americans Randy Sandy and Charley Cotton then in December stopped Luis Folledo in eight rounds (Folledo’s record at the time was (81-2-2)
– 1964 outpointed Harry Scott then knocked out Christensen and outpointed Micky Leahy in a European title defence.
– 1965 Papp had signed for a shot at Joey Giardello for the WBA and WBC middleweight titles. At this point the Communist Government in Hungary revoked his passport and refused him permission to fight Giardello as financial gain was “incompatible with socialist principles” and Papp was forced to retire at the age of 38.
After retirement Papp trained the Hungarian national team from 1971 to 1992 and under his leadership they won gold medals at the Olympic Games and World Championships. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001. The World Boxing Council made him an honorary WBC champion. He starred in a film entitled “Heavy Gloves” and a sports arena is named after Papp in Budapest.