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Multiple Years / Leo Randolph - Forgotten Olympian
The 1976 American Olympic boxing team won five gold medals, one silver, and one bronze. Four of the gold medallists eventually won professional world titles. Though largely forgotten today, Leo Randolph was one of them. Randolph, a resident of Tacoma, WA, won the flyweight division at the Montreal Olympics at age 18. (In the gold-medal match against Cuba's Ramon Duvalon, many boxing fans thought Randolph was the recipient of a generous decision.) Randolph waited nearly two years before turning professional. In the interim he finished high school and worked at a Boeing aircraft factory. Randolph's early pro opponents, in most cases, left a lot to be desired as there are few quality pro boxers in the lightest weight categories in North America. Nevertheless, Randolph beat Colombia's Ricardo Cardona for the WBA junior featherweight title on May 4, 1980 with a 15th-round knockout. However, in his first defense of his title just three months later, Randolph was totally outclassed by Sergio Palma of Argentina. The challenger battered Randolph and won the title with a sixth-round technical knockout. Saying his heart was no longer in boxing, Randolph collected his $72,000 purse and promptly retired after the bout at age 22, compiling a pro record of 17-2. In a 1996 "Where Are They Now?" feature in Sports Illustrated, Randolph was happily employed as a bus driver for Pierce Transit in the Pacific northwest.