Cuba’s capital, Havana hosted the first edition of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in 1974 which was a historical step for the International Boxing Association. Such boxing icons as Teofilo Stevenson, Wilfredo Gomez, Emilio Correa, Mate Parlov and Rufat Riskiyev were among the first winners.
The event took place in the Coliseo de la Ciudad Deportiva in Havana on August 17-30, 1974. Altogether 274 boxers from 45 nations attended the historical competition. Four out of the five continents took part in the event, the Europeans, the Americans, the Asians and the Africans sent boxers to Cuba.
Cuba topped the medal standings with five gold medals at the home arena ahead of the USSR team which earned two titles in Havana. United States, Puerto Rico, Uganda and Yugoslavia each claimed one gold medal at the 1974 edition. Romania, Venezuela, Bulgaria, Kenya, East Germany, France, Ghana, Nigeria, Panama, Poland and Spain won at least one medal in Havana.
The first gold medal of the edition was achieved by Cuba’s 20-year-old Jorge Hernandez who defeated Kenya’s Commonwealth Games winner teenager Stephen Muchoki in the final of the light flyweight (48kg). Hernandez started his impressive career in 1974 and became Olympic Champion in Montreal two years later. Douglas Rodriguez claimed Cuba’s second gold medal following his success over Venezuela’s Central American & Caribbean Games winner Alfredo Perez.
Wilfredo Gomez was the youngest competitor of the boxing event in the Munich 1972 Olympic Games and he arrived in Havana as an unobvious favorite for the bantamweight (54kg) gold. The 18-year-old Puerto Rican knocked out France’s Aldo Cosentino in the semi-final and stopped his final Cuban opponent, Luis Jorge Romero. The lone US gold medal in 1974 was taken by 18-year-old Howard Davis in the featherweight (57kg) where he defeated Soviet Union’s Boris Kuznetsov in the final.
Vasiliy Solomin achieved the Soviet Union’s first gold medal in Havana, the Russian boxer was too strong for Romania’s European Champion legend, Simion Cutov in the lightweight (60kg). The African boxers were strong enough at the 1974 AIBA World Boxing Championships, two of their talents claimed medals at the light welterweight (63.5kg). Ghana’s Amon Kotey bagged bronze while the gold of the weight class went to Uganda’s Ayub Kalule who defeated Bulgaria’s Vladimir Kolev.
Cuba’s Emilio Correa was one of the best boxers of the host nation’s team who impressed in the whole event and knocked out his final opponent, United States’ Clinton Jackson taking the title of the welterweight (67kg). Emilio Correa’s son was a Cuban national team member in the 2000s and competed successfully in major championships. Correa’s teammate, Rolando Garbey had to work hard in the final of the light middleweight (71kg) against Venezuela’s Alfredo Lemus but he managed to win the contest by split decision.
The Tashkent Tiger, which was the nickname of the legendary Uzbek boxer, Rufat Riskiyev won the gold medal of the middleweight (75kg) representing the Soviet Union in Havana. Riskiyev knocked out two out of his five opponents in Havana and he was still enough fresh to beat Romania’s Alec Nastac in the final. Yugoslavia’s Croatian star, Olympic Champion Mate Parlov dominated the light heavyweight (81kg) in 1974, he stopped Soviet Union’s Oleg Korotayev in the final.
The top sensation of the whole 1974 AIBA World Boxing Championships was Cuba’s Teofilo Stevenson, one of the top stars of all times in boxing. He claimed gold medals at three Olympic Games during his whole career and won in the heavyweight (+81kg) category also at the first World Championships. His final US rival, Marvin Stinson gave in everything but Stevenson was at a different level in their gold medal bout.
List of the winners at the 1974 AIBA World Boxing Championships
48kg: Jorge Hernandez, Cuba
51kg: Douglas Rodriguez, Cuba
54kg: Wilfredo Gomez, Puerto Rico
57kg: Howard Davis, United States
60kg: Vasiliy Solomin, Soviet Union
63.5kg: Ayub Kalule, Uganda
67kg: Emilio Correa, Cuba
71kg: Rolando Garbey, Cuba
75kg: Rufat Riskiyev, Soviet Union
81kg: Mate Parlov, Yugoslavia
+81kg: Teofilo Stevenson, Cuba