The Summer Olympics are in full swing in Tokyo, great Hungarian results are happening one by one, but today we also remember a previous superb pentathlon, where Istvan Kovacs managed to stand perfectly on top of the Atlanta podium. 25 years ago, on August 3, 1996. After defeating Cuban Mesa in the 54-pound final, he made an unforgettable chest. On the occasion of the anniversary, we use the previous article from the index.hu portal, 2020, to recall the date of the last gold medal in Hungarian boxing.
István Kovács won his 10th Olympic gold medal in Hungarian boxing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and Cuban Mesa had no chance against him in the 54-pound final of the Atlanta Olympics. However, a few years ago, he almost stopped playing sports after the defeat. He recalled in the index memories of his career.
Istvan Kovacs’ father and brother also loved boxing, but under the influence of his friend, Tamas Trikovanic, he went boxing for the first time when Kovacs was 14 years old. Together they went to the farm EVIG (United Electrical Machinery Factory) Gyömrői út, which was close to the farm of Pongrácz, where they grew up. Coco, who until then had been playing football, trying judo and many other sports, was stuck in the ring, and his first coach, Laszlo Krasznay, began to deal with him in the pioneer era.
“Tommy also regularly reminds me that it all started in 1984 because of him. After two workouts, I really felt like it was my sport, and I found what I was looking for.
I was thinner than kids like myself, but that physical handicap soon disappeared. A year later I started racing, and in 1987 the Socialist Bloc, IBV, race in North Korea,” Kovacs noted the first steps in the benchmark.
Under the hands of Zoltán Wallenhofer, he became a competitor in the style of fencing, taught him directly from a step back, which he used for a very long time. For example, in November 1991, when Kovac became the world champion among adults – he was already competing in Fez, and his coach was Giola Bodis, who returned from Holland.
Of the 51 pounds, he beat everyone who just counted. He won a big match against American Austin, who later became a world champion among the pros as well. Kovac traveled to the 1992 Olympics as a gold medalist, all was well until the semi-finals, but North Korea’s Choi Chul-soo defeated him 10-5 and fought for his defeat in the World Cup final.
After the apparent defeat, he was so desperate that because of his grief he almost stopped playing sports. Then he broke his hand before the 1993 World Cup, so he couldn’t gauge how much weight he was gaining in the 54-pound weight class. Transformation was inevitable, she was finding it increasingly difficult to bear her weight.
It was also tense that Emre Szanto was his master in the national team, while Bodes was at his club. The situation was settled by 1994, with Vasas leaders doing much to resolve the situation. He could have stayed in the bond of the club, but Szanto had already prepared him for everyday life.
However, their first joint world championship went poorly.
In Berlin, he had to compete with German Krueger, placing the German judges as the winner among the top sixteen.
“Germany was the only major tournament in my career where I didn’t win a medal. I also cornered Dirk in the Bundesliga and I won against him in turn. It was reassuring that I hadn’t come out until then because I hit him, but they didn’t want to notice my punches. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that General 96 was pretty cool.” Hungarian male boxer.
Bad luck made Kovac more challenging, combative, and even more determined. A quota for the 1996 Olympics already had to be taken, and not as before. Kovacs took part in the European Championships in Weigl in April in such a striking form that the Russian Rimkol Malabekov could not keep up, so he got the Olympic quota. By the way, he was knocked out by the Russians at the 1993 European Championship, when the scorers suddenly sent two punches to the Russian in the last seconds. This was the first coin in the collaboration between Szántó and Kovács, so that they could prepare favorably for the Atlanta Olympics.
Cuba, one of the great powers in the sport, escorted Arnaldo Mesa to the Olympics, whom he later met in the finals, until then:
Karagöz (Turkish) – 15-3
Hasnov (Tajik) – 17-3
Ultiano (Romanian) – 24-2
Khadpo (Thailand) – 12-7
As can be seen from the list, his opponent in Thailand made him fight hard at first, and also led him against him, but he managed to turn it around with fun punches. On the other side, the fight between Misa and Malakbekov ended in a draw, but with assists points, the Cuban, who was navigating between two weight classes, won and was named Olympic featherweight.
The final result was already two minutes and 20 seconds left, Mesa moved forward, but he could not reduce his flaw, because Coco was great and easy on his feet, and even if they clashed, they did not see the scorers. Obvious hit, which led to a galactic windmill. He drove the water.
“Every step and every step was driven by that goal. I knew I had to win because in this weight class, I was convinced that no one had done as much for the gold medal as I did.” Kovac said immediately after winning 14-7. After the end, he hung the gold medal around his coach’s neck and named him the best coach in the world.
Now he remembers what happened: “When it was repeated during the quarantine period, we watched the final with Uncle Oxy and he still finds fault with it. I received a lot of messages, memories came from several 24 years ago, they watched the final live, and now, if not in these circumstances, it was good to watch it This is the great power of sports.To this day, I remember all the moments that happened during the warm-up, and I can also remember the color of the hallway.
In 1992, my character was not yet ready to become an Olympic champion. I already knew that, because when we stood on the podium at four, I had already beaten everyone. However, I could only handle the risks, the pressure, and the atmosphere of the Olympics in Atlanta. By then I understood it was too good to be true. I didn’t have many success stories in previous years, but Atlanta made up for it all. Olympics often happen in everyday life, because we are still talking about them. ”
He managed to list the names of the Olympic champion’s ancestors in five seconds, from Antal Kochis, through Istvan Enikis to Gyorgy Guido. Hungarian boxers have competed in 12 Olympic finals, and Laszlo Pape alone has won three. Only two lost, which is a special record, and the best average in the world is noteworthy.
Antal Kochis was in a weak position, but gained strength and defeated his French opponent in 1928. He was having a hard time earning a living, so he was a professional, and he died in America.
After the Olympics, István Kovács won another world championship in Budapest with a higher weight group (57 kilograms), but Olympic gold is high on the top shelf. In the colors of the universe, he also reached the world title among professionals – he is the first boxer in Hungary to collect all the current titles – but his value in his eyes does not even come close to Olympic gold.