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Boxing – Amateur – 1979 – USA vs USSR – Host Vern Lundquist – Live In Moscow


This lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile has many times over talked about what we a Ima Sportsphile refer to as The Golden Age of Boxing….which spanned from 1964 to  1995….which just so happens to be the years covered by our extensive boxing library….that includes 620 world championship fights, of which we are continuing to post….just like this video herewith. During this golden era, boxing became the Lead Dog in the pack of sports most popular….as boxing was bigger and more popular than the NFL, NBA, MLB, FIFA, NHL, PGA or whatever….cuz what made the engine run was MONEY….and that stuff came from TV contracts. Every major and major “wanna be” television network was televising major boxing events in every weight division every Friday Night, Saturday and Sunday during the height of the golden age.

Anyway, long story short….boxing was so popular….even amatuer boxing was in high demand….which was obviously heightened in the years leading up to the Olympic Games….and this 1979 amateur USA vs USSR boxing competition was part of a huge build-up to the 1980 Moscow Olympics….so, there was huge interest in events like this….and ABC Sports would make amatuer boxing events like this one, their lead event for Wide World of Sports on many Saturday and Sundays throughout the decade of the 1980s.  

This program starts out with an indepth Jim McKay interview of Bob Surkein, Chairman of the AAU Boxing Committee….as he comments on the possiblilty of the US boycotting the Moscow games….which makes this video very historic….cuz none of these athletes got to live out their dreams and go to Moscow.

ABC has legendary sportscaster Verne Lundquist covering this competition….back when Verne was young and thin….for Verne gives the viewers video highlights of all the matches of this competition….as the 1st match were the Lightweights (132 kbs,)  USA Pat Jefferson vs. USSR Juri Parkhorov….as the Russian wins on a unanimous decision….when next comes the Light Flyweights (106 lbs) USA Robert Shannon vs USSR Kamil Safin….as Safin wins on a unanimous decision…..as this bout was followed by the Bantamweights (119 lbs) USA Vincent Christian vs USSR Samson Khatrjan….as the Soviet TKO’d the American in the 2nd….then the Featherweights (125 lbs) took center stage as USA Lionel Johnson vs. USSR Victor Rybakov while the Soviet wins by a 2nd round TKO.  Light Welterweight (139 lbs) USA Darrell Chambers then takes on USSR Serik Konokbaev….who wins a close split decision in a really good fight…..which was followed by the Welterweight (147 lbs) bout between USA Ed Green vs USSR Alexander Koshkin….as Koshkin wins a unanimous decision.      

When the Light Middleweight bout between USA Alex Ramos vs USSR Nikolas Fihmonov match transpired….the USA finally won their 1st match after losing the 1st six matches to the Russians….but things would turn somewhat for the Americans….as the USA would win 2 of the final 4 matches. The final three matches televised in this competition were the Middleweight (165 lbs) USA Jose Cruz vs USSR Victor Savchenko….as the Soviet defeated Cruz with a 2nd round TKO….when this fight was followed by the Light Heavyweight (178 lbs) match between USA Roy Lee Murphy vs Nikolia Erofeev….as Jones would win on a close split decision in a very good fight.  The final bout of the competition that was televised was the Heavyweight (178+ lbs) bout between USA David Bey vs USSR Alexander Jagubkin….which was a very good heavyweight bout featuring some really talented big men.  

It is important to remember, the USA National Boxing Team was really young in this competition….with the average age being 19 years old….and when you interject how experienced the Soviet Team was at the time of this competition….with an average age of 27 years old….plus there were 9,000 rabid Russian fans in The Sports Palace in Moscow….so, that means outcome of 8 – 3 in this 1979 USSR vs USA boxing competition was not so bad….cuz the Russians were in “full speed ahead” mode in preparation for the 1980 Olympics….and the USA was in “developing” mode while preparing by international experience….and any way you cut the pie….a political decision by a peanut farming president….threw a major wrench in the workings of all Olympic sports….while robbing the athletes of their sacrifice and dreams…..and that dear folks makes this video MUST SEE TV for its historical value alone….not to mention, for those US and Soviet boxers who participated.

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