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Teofilo Stevenson the great Cuban Olympic gold medal-winning boxer dies at age 60

Muhammad Ali with Teofilo Stevenson

Cuban Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Teofilo Stevenson died from a heart attack in Havana, Cuban state media reported Monday.

Stevenson who won three Olympic gold medals fighting for Cuba and is still tied for the record in the sport was 60 years old.

Stevenson was born in Las Tunas province in eastern Cuba and fought his first bout at the age of 14.

He went on to win gold medals as a heavyweight in three consecutive Olympic Games - 1972 in Munich, 1976 in Montreal and 1980 in Moscow - and was widely considered the greatest amateur boxer of his time.

"The Olympic Games in Munich and Montreal are the fondest memories I have from my life, the best stage of my career," he was quoted earlier this year.

Boxing fans were keen to see him in a bout against Muhammad Ali in what they hoped would be the "fight of the century", but Stevenson turned the offer down.

But Stevenson did not appear to have any regrets about his decision to turn down a big payday by staying amateur.

"What is $1 million compared to the love of 8 million Cubans?" he famously declared.

Stevenson - known in Cuba by the nickname "Pirolo" - missed a shot at a fourth Olympic gold when Cuba joined the Soviet boycott of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

He announced his retirement in 1988 after Cuba decided to skip the Seoul Olympics as well and became a coach and served as vice president of the Cuban Boxing Federation.

Reporting his death, state newspaper Juventud Rebelde said Cuban sport had lost "one of its greatest exponents of all time".

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He's face is quite familiar with Muhammad Ali. His boxing career and performance will be a memorable thing for the cuban supporters.

 

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