Mayweather, Joshua, Lewis, Clay: The most iconic Olympic boxing fights remembered

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As Olympic boxing is set to return this weekend and hopefully bring us some new iconic, memorable bouts - why not take a look at those of past days?

Boxing at the Olympics gives new fighters the opportunity to get their name out there and have their talents seen worldwide.

Some of the sport’s greatest legends took to the ring to try and achieve gold for their country, and we’ll talk you through some of the best match-ups:

Cassius Clay (Rome, 1960):

Or, as you might know him, Muhammad Ali.

Widely regarded as the greatest ever in boxing, he began his professional career against Polish boxer Zbigniew Pietrzykowski - who boasted an impressive 231 amateur fights compared to Clay’s 108.

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Clay ended the fight victorious; the judges awarded him with a unanimous score of 5-0, giving him the gold medal and therefore creating the iconic photo of Clay standing atop the podium, victorious.

Sugar Ray Leonard (Montreal, 1976)

Leonard took to the ring for the final in Canada to face Andres Almada from Cuba. Leonard is remembered for his magical footwork, speed and agility in the boxing world - which he undoubtedly showed off during this bout.

He recorded two standing eight counts in the third round against his opponent, which saw him take the gold medal.

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(Enter giveaway)

Roy Jones Jr (Seoul, 1988)

Seen as a controversial bout to boxing fans, the fight saw the gold medal awarded to South Korean boxer Park Si-Hun.

It was later reported that the Korean organisers of the fight ‘wined and dined’ their way to the gold. However, Jones’ career quickly moved forward; he won a heavyweight belt as well as becoming a four-weight champion and being regarded as one of the greats to ever enter the ring.

Lennox Lewis (Seoul, 1988)

Lewis represented Canada at the Korean Olympics despite being born in London.

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He faced Riddick Bowe in the final - winning the game and creating a long-standing rivalry with the American, although they never faced each other again.

Floyd Mayweather (Atlanta, 1996)

‘Money’ Mayweather had one of the only disappointing nights of his career in the American Olympics and saw another controversial tie added to the mix.

Mayweather didn’t make the finals of the competition after losing to Serafiv Todorov, and even the referee had shock painted on his face as he raised the Bulgarian’s hand instead of Mayweather’s.

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Floyd must have taken the loss personally, though, as after turning professional and retiring 50-0, he’d never taste defeat again.

Wladimir Klitschko (Atlanta, 1996)

Klitschko faced up against Tongan Paea Wolfgramm at this year’s American Olympics.

The Ukranian then, despite suffering three defeats in his early career, went on to dominate the boxing scene in a nine-year reign as champ, with Tyson Fury ending the streak in 2015.

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Deontay Wilder (Beijing, 2008)

The Bronze Bomber hasn’t accepted defeat many times in his career, however he lost to Italian boxer Clemente Russo in the semi-final, claiming the bronze medal and inspiring his trademark nickname.

Anthony Joshua (London, 2012)

Standing in front of his home crowd and eager to make a name for himself, Joshua won the hearts of Britain when he beat Italian Roberto Cammarelle in the final.

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Nowadays, Joshua, or ‘AJ’ as he’s more commonly known, is a fan-favourite in his home country and UK boxing fans now await the announcement of a possible bout between him and his fellow Brit, the two-time heavyweight world champ, Tyson Fury.

Nicola Adams (London, 2012)

A pivotal boxing match in the history of the Olympics, being the first to include women in the competition.

Adams made herself quite a memorable name as she won gold in the iconic fight, beating the world No.1 Ren Cancan, and going on to achieve another gold medal in Rio.

She retired in 2019 having won a pro world title and going unbeaten in six bouts.

Michael Conlan (Rio, 2016)

A problematic fight in Brazil saw the Irishman, Conlan, lose to Russian Vladimir Nikitin and proceed to stick his middle fingers up to the cameras.

He branded the governing body of the sport (AIBA) ‘cheats’ - which, after being investigated, saw them lose their rights to host the Tokyo 2020 boxing tournament.

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