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Punchers From the Past: Godfrey Stevens Gonzalez


PhilBoxing.com





GODFREY STEVENS GONZALEZ
Born 27 June 1938 Santiago, Chile
Died 20 August 2022 Canberra, Australia
Record: 82 fights, 69 wins (21 by KO/TKO), 10 losses 3 draws

First professional fight: 26 February 1960
Stevens father was English (resulting in Stevens nickname of Gringo) and his mother Chilean.
-His parents enrolled him in the club Mexico in Santiago when he was thirteen wanting him to learn how defend himself as the neighbourhood kids were constantly picking on him.
-He had his first amateur fight at the age of fourteen and continued boxing when he joined the Army. He also played basketball and ironically the broken nose he sported came not from boxing but from basketball
-He progressed well enough to be selected to fight in a tournament to qualify for the Chilean team for the 1959 Pan American Games but he was not successful and turned professional as a featherweight having his first paid fight in February 1960.
-He won the Chilean featherweight title in March 1963
-He was unbeaten in his first 33 fights (31-0-2) before losing to Panamanian Valentin Brown in August 1963 on a fourth round retirement brought about by cuts around both eyes.
- August 1964 Lost to Argentinian Carlos Canete on a twelfth round stoppage in a fight for the South American featherweight title at the Luna Park in Buenos Aires. Their respective records were Stevens 35-1-3 and Canete 30-1
-July 1965 lost for a second time to Canete in a challenge for the South American title again at the Luna Park and this time on points. Canete was rated No 2 by Ring Magazine.
-Between March 1966 and October1969 he compiled a record of 24 consecutive wins including winning and defending the South American featherweight title. He scored wins over good level opposition such as 22-2-2 Rosemiro dos Santos, 38-1-6 Raimundo de Jesus ,Miguel Angel Botta, Kid Pascaulito, Jose Smecca, Californian Bobby Valdez and Don Johnson.
- That run earned Stevens a shot at the WBA featherweight title held by Japanese boxer Shozo Saijo
- When Stevens met Saijo in Tokyo in February 1970 he was only the second Chilean to challenge for a world title. Arturo Godoy had twice challenged Joe Louis for the heavyweight title losing a split decision to Louis in February 1940 and being stopped in eight rounds in June 1940.
- There was no TV when Louis fought Godoy but when Stevens challenged Saijo it was shown live in Chile and anyone in Chile with a TV had a full house and the streets were empty as fans gathered around radios.
-There was no fairytale ending as Saijo won a wide unanimous decision.
- Stevens had planned to retire after the Saijo fight but financial pressure saw him fight on. He scored three wins but then lost his last five fights with Ruben Olivares, Eder Jofre and Alexis Arguello included in those he fought before retiring in 1977. But for a lack of power and a susceptibly to cuts he might well have given Chile its first world champion.
-After retirement his strong views on democracy led to him being considered too right wing by the Salvador Allende party and too left wing by the military government of Augusto Pinochet
-In 1986 he emigrated to Australia with his family and became a well respected member of the Chilean community there before dying in Canberra at the age of 84.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eric Armit.


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