Teofilo Stevenson is the second of three triple Olympic Gold medalists in boxing. He is the hero and the icon of his homeland, Cuba, and, of course, he is very good known in all the rest of the world. The BBC Chanel once claimed him as Cuba's second best known person, just after El Comandante, Fidel Castro.
Teofilo Stevenson Lawrence was born on March 29, 1952, in Las Tuna province. He began to box at the age of nine, in the open gym, which was built by his father, Teofilo snr., the ex-boxer himself. Teofilo jnr. was tall and quite shiftless boy, but while training and sparring with the older and stronger guys, he quickly grew better. In the middle of 60's moving to Havana and becoming the country's junior age champion, 6'6 feet tall Teofilo get noticed by the Soviet coach, Andrei Chervonenko, which were sent to Cuba from the Soviets to improve the boxing level in the friendly Island of Freedom. Since then, Chervonenko became the coach and the leading person of Stevenson's phenomenon.
On 1972 Munich Olympics, 20-years-old Stevenson became the heavyweight (over 81 Kilo) Champion, stopping three his opponents. On the final bout, The Romanian Ion Alexe didn't come out on the ring. Teofilo was awarded with Val Barker Trophy as the best boxer of the Olympic tournament. On these and also on the two next Olympic Games, Stevenson was the flag bearer of the Cuban delegation. Teofilo came back four years later to Montreal to stop all his four opponents and on 1980 Olympics in Moscow, where he earned his third Gold medal, repeating the success of The Hungarian, Laszlo Papp. At the final bout of Moscow Olympics Stevenson met the short and stocky Russian, Pyotr Zayev. The battle was very tough and close and after The Cuban's hand were raised up, many viewers were disappointed with the decision, but it was done! The same success was repeated by the another Cuban, Felix Savon, only 20 years later!
Stevenson also captured three World Championships, 1974 in Havana, 1978 in Beograd and 1986 in Reno, Nevada. It is very possible that Teofilo could win also 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, which unfortunately were boycotted by The Cuban government. The winner of these Games became The American, Tyrell Biggs, which was beaten by Stevenson twice before. Two years after the Olympics Stevenson captures the WCH in Reno, this time at super-heavyweight (over 91 Kilo).
At the middle of 70's the famous promoter Don King offered 5 mil. dollars to Teofilo turn pro and has a battle against the world heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali. Stevenson, as the real communist patriot and the close friend of Senior Castro, turned the offer down, saying, "What means the one million of American Dollars comparing with the love of 8 million Cubans!?" Stevenson retired in 1988 with the amateur record of 310-22. For the long time he was the vice-president of Cuban Boxing Federation. In Cuba, Teofilo Stevenson is considered as the greatest athlete of all time. On June 11, 2012, The Champion suffered the heart-attack which took his life, he was 60! On this years March 29, the one of the greatest boxers of our planet would celebrate his 62-nd Birthday!