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Juan Evangelista Venegas

Juan Evangelista Venegas
Juan Evangelista Venegas.jpg
Real nameJuan Evangelista Venegas Trinidad
NationalityPuerto Rican-American
BornJune 2, 1929
Río Piedras, Puerto Rico
DiedApril 16, 1987(1987-04-16) (aged 57)[1]
Boxing record
Total fights32
Wins by KO7

Juan Evangelista Venegas (June 2, 1929 – April 16, 1987) was a Puerto Rican boxer notable for winning Puerto Rico's first Olympic medal.

Early years

Venegas (birth name: Juan Evangelista Venegas Trinidad[note 1]) was born in an underprivileged section of the town of Río Piedras. Río Piedras at the time was not incorporated into the City of San Juan, Puerto Rico. There street fighting was a common way of life and many of the youth at that time saw the sport of boxing as a way to a better life. Among them was Venegas, who admired Puerto Rico's first international boxing champion, Sixto Escobar. Venegas took up boxing and his performance in the ring soon caught the attention of the island's recently established Olympic Committee. In 1948 the Puerto Rican Olympic Committee included him in the delegation which would represent the island.

1948 Summer Olympics

The 1948 Summer Olympics celebrated in London, was a historical one for Puerto Rico because it was the first time that the island would participate as a nation in an international sporting event. The island's delegation consisted of twelve members.[2] In their opening ceremonies, the Puerto Rican delegation carried the flag of the United States into the Olympic stadium. The United States protested, claiming that two nations could not use the same flag at the same time. The decree of Commonwealth on July 25, 1952, would give the Puerto Rican delegation a flag of their own.[3]

In the 1948 Summer Olympics, known as the XIV Olympics, Juan Evangelista Venegas made Puerto Rican sports history by winning Puerto Rico's first Olympic medal ever when he beat Belgium's representative, Louis Callenboat, on points for a unanimous decision. He won the bronze medal in boxing in the Bantamweight division, falling short of the silver medal to Giovanni Zuddas.[4][5]

1948 Olympic results

Below are the results of Juan Evangelista Venegas who competed as a bantamweight boxer for Puerto Rico at the 1948 London Olympics:

  • Round of 32: defeated Louis Calebout (Belgium) on points
  • Round of 16: defeated Babu Lall (India) on points
  • Quarterfinal: defeated Albert Perera (Ceylon) on points
  • Semifinal: lost to Tibor Csik (Hungary) on points
  • Bronze-Medal bout: defeated Alvaro Vicente (Spain) on points (won bronze medal)

Professional boxing career

After returning to a hero's welcome to Puerto Rico, Venegas turned professional. In 1948, Venegas made his professional boxing debut against Puerto Rican Abelardo Alejandro. Venegas, a southpaw, fought in the bantamweight and featherweight division for a total of 32 fights, compiling a record of 20-10-2. His last fight was in 1958 against Al Tisi.[6]

Death and legacy

On April 16, 1987, Juan Evangelista Venegas died when he suffered a fall at his home which caused a skull fracture. A week before his death, he was honored by the College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico.[7]

In honor of his memory, the Puerto Rican Boxing Commission sponsors the Juan Evangelista Venegas boxing tournament, which serves as a tune-up to future Olympic boxing prospects.[4] There is a Juan Evangelista Venegas Olympic Cup which is given in other sports with Olympic orientation.[8]


  1. ^ This article uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Venegas and the second or maternal family name is Trinidad.

See also


  1. ^ Gjerde, Arild; Jeroen Heijmans; Bill Mallon; Hilary Evans (October 2017). "Juan Evangelista Venegas Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympics. Sports Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  2. ^ La Olimpiadas
  3. ^ 14.Olympic Games - London, Great Britain - August 7-13 1948
  4. ^ a b Puerto Rico Herald Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Debut olímpico en Londres 1948". El Nuevo Día. June 25, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Box Rec
  7. ^ Juan Evangelista Venegas on Salon de la Fama del Deporte Riopedrense
  8. ^ Puerto Rico brilla ante EEUU y Guatemala. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 30. Issue 1487. Page 4. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.

External links