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10 of the best Olympic boxers

Dick McTaggart
Allsport Hulton/Archive
The Val Barker Trophy has been awarded to the ‘outstanding boxer’ at each Olympic Games since 1936. Here are 10 famous past recipients
  1. DICK McTAGGART (1956)
    Regarded by many as Britain’s best-ever amateur boxer, McTaggart had to overcome the stiffest of competition to claim the Val Barker Trophy, as the legendary Laszlo Papp was one of his fellow gold medal winners.
  2. NINO BENVENUTI (1960)
    After being presented with the Val Barker Trophy, Italian idol Benvenuti went on to carve out a Hall of Fame career as a professional. One of the boxers that he pipped to the award was a certain Cassius Clay.
  3. TEOFILO STEVENSON (1972)
    Arguably the greatest amateur boxer of all time, Cuban colossus Stevenson secured a hat-trick of Olympic golds from 1972 to 1980. During the Games in which he won the Val Barker Trophy, he stopped all of his opponents.
  4. HOWARD DAVIS JNR (1976)
    A member of a star-studded US team, Davis demonstrated incredible fortitude to earn the Val Barker Trophy while grieving the recent death of his mother. Among those he was selected over were Teofilo Stevenson, Sugar Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers, Michael and Leon.
  5. ROY JONES JNR (1988)
    One of only three boxers in history who was awarded the Val Barker Trophy at a Games in which he did not win a gold medal, the gifted Jones was desperately unlucky to return home to America with only a silver.
  6. ROBERTO BALADO (1992)
    Winning the Val Barker Trophy over greats like Felix Savon and Oscar De La Hoya, Cuba’s Balado was considered as one of the premier amateur boxers around when he tragically died in a car accident at just 25.
  7. VASSILIY JIROV (1996)
    Prior to excelling as a pro cruiserweight, Jirov boxed his way to Val Barker honours. The Kazakh outshined the likes of Oleg Saitov, Felix Savon and Wladimir Klitschko in receiving the trophy.
  8. OLEG SAITOV (2000)
    Russian Saitov followed up gold in 1996 with another first-place finish in 2000 – the year in which he took home the Val Barker Trophy. Felix Savon and Guillermo Rigondeaux were also in contention at the 2000 Games.
  9. VASILIY LOMACHENKO (2008)
    Another two-time Olympic champion (2008 and 2012), Ukrainian marvel Lomachenko was the recipient of the Val Barker Trophy at his first Games.
  10. CLARESSA SHIELDS (2016)
    Women’s boxing was introduced at the Games in 2012, but the first female Val Barker Trophy was not given out until the 2016 event. America’s Shields, a double Olympic gold medallist, was the inaugural winner.

See the Tokyo Olympic boxing schedule here

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