Felix Savon

Date Of Birth:
22 September 1967
Place Of Birth:
San Vicente, Cuba
Best Known As:
The Cuban heavyweight who won three Olympic gold medals from 1992-2000

Name at birth: Félix Savón Fabre

Félix Savón is the Cuban boxer who won three Olympic gold medals as the dominant amateur heavyweight of the 1980s and 1990s. Félix Savón was born in rural Cuba and grew up watching legendary heavyweight (and fellow Cuban) Teófilo Stevenson win Olympic gold three times. Savón stepped in the ring himself at age 14, and at age 16 won the Cuban junior national championship. By 1985 he was Cuba’s senior national heavyweight champion, known for his impressive height (6’5”) and awesome fingertip-to-fingertip reach of 82 inches. Savón went on to win won the Cuban national championship 13 times during an impressive run from 1985-98. Cuba boycotted the 1988 Olympic Games at Seoul, where Savón would likely have been favored at age 20. Instead he went on to win Olympic gold at Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000). Savón won the heavyweight division at the World Amateur Championships six times, in 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997; he took silver in 1999 when he forfeited his last match to join the rest of the Cuban team in a protest over the tournament’s officiating. Like Stevenson, Savón refused all offers to turn pro and remained an amateur for life. The New York Times called him “one of those perfectly crafted exports from Cuba, an unconditional success as an athlete and unconditional supporter of the political system in which he lives.” Savón retired after his win at the 2000 Olympics, with an overall career record of 362 wins and 21 losses.

Extra Credit:

Félix Savón was 198 centimeters tall (just over 6’5”) and weighed 91 kilograms (about 201 pounds) during his fighting days, according to ESPN… Félix Savón, Teófilo Stevenson and Hungarian László Papp are the only boxers to win three Olympic titles in the same weight division… His full name is Félix Savón Fabre; the Spanish naming system includes both a paternal family name (Savon) and a maternal family name (Fabre), but only the paternal name is used widely… The World Amateur Boxing Championships was held every four years from 1974 through 1986; starting in 1989 it was held every two years instead.

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