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Cuban boxing legend dies

LEGENDS TOGETHER: Teofilo Stevenson (right) with Muhammad Ali

ARGUABLY THE greatest amateur boxer of all time has died. Former Cuban heavyweight boxer Teofilo Stevenson, who won three Olympic gold medals, suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 60.

In the 1970s, US boxing promoters offered Stevenson $5m (£3m) to turn professional and fight then world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.

But the boxer stayed loyal to the Cuban revolution, which outlawed professional sports, and refused. He said: "I prefer the affection of eight million Cubans."

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

The gifted Stevenson won 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 boxer - 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.

The pugilist retired in 1988. He became a coach and served as vice president of the Cuban Boxing Federation.

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