Marijan Beneš: Yugoslav boxer (1951-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Marijan Beneš
Yugoslav boxer

Marijan Beneš

Marijan Beneš
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Yugoslav boxer
Is Athlete Boxer
From Bosnia and Herzegovina Serbia Croatia
Field Sports
Gender male
Birth 11 June 1951, Belgrade
Age 72 years
The details (from wikipedia)


Marijan Beneš (Serbian Cyrillic: Маријан Бенеш; born 11 June 1951) is a former Yugoslavian boxer from Bosnia and Herzegovina, still considered one of the best in Yugoslav history. After a brilliant amateur career, culminating in the gold medal in European Amateur Boxing Championships in Belgrade, he turned professional in 1977, and won the European Boxing Union title in the light welterweight in 1979. Beneš withdrew from the ring in 1983, after a severe eye injury.


Marijan was born in Belgrade to Croat father Josip and mother Marija (née Vukić). Under the influence of his father, a music teacher, Marijan played piano and violin in his childhood. He had three brothers and one sister. He spent his childhood in Tuzla. However, his life will take a radical turn when he (allegedly) entered the ring at the age a 10 and won against an 18-year-old opponent. When he was 16, he signed for the Slavija boxing club in Banja Luka, where he would stay during his amateur career.

He is a staunch opposer to "Greater Serbs and Greater Croats", maintaining his Yugoslav identity.


During his amateur career, Beneš won 9 titles in SR Bosnia, 4 titles of Yugoslavian champion, and a number of other competitions. In 1973, he won the European title in light welterweight in Belgrade and he received the "Golden Badge", an award for the Best Athlete of the year in Yugoslavia. Soon after he caught hepatitis, a fact that could mean the end of the career. "Radically stubborn" (as he said himself), and devoted to boxing, he decided to continue. He also participated in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, but lost in the second round.

He turned professional in 1977, rising quickly to the European top. On 17 March 1979, in his hometown Banja Luka, he won the EBU title knocking down the defender, French boxer Gilbert Cohen, in the fourth round. He defended the title successfully four times, and lost on points in 1980 to then WBA champion Ayub Kalule, in a match regarded as one of toughest in the Denmark ever. He eventually lost the EBU crown to Louis Acaries in 1981.

A heavy injury on the left eye effectively sealed his career. It is not exactly known which match caused it; by one account, it was a match with Luigi Minchillo in 1983, and by another, it originated from the 1979 match with Sandy Torres in Zenica, and the condition worsened since. During the career, he suffered a number of other injuries: 26 bone fractures and damaged vocal cords, that cause him to speak silently and slowly. He is currently blind on his left eye. Beneš withdrew from the ring in 1983, fighting only two more exhibition matches in 1990s.


His brother was killed in 1992, during the Bosnian War. Marijan participated in the war. At the end of the war in 1995, Beneš was forced to leave Banja Luka after a number of threats. He sold his possessions cheaply, and during the war he stayed in Medulin and Zagreb, in Croatia, in poverty. He divorced from his wife Stana, who moved to Niš, Serbia, with their daughters Žanet and Marijana. As he put it, "everything turned around; people started hating each other overnight… there are great people, but the war helped me realize who is the real people and who is scum." He returned to Banja Luka in 1996, after the end of the war, continuing to live in modesty. "I lived in Croatia, people respected me, but I'm used to the old friends".

In 2004, a documentary film of Beneš's life, titled Bio jednom jedan šampion (Once Upon a Time There Was a Champion) was recorded in the production of Independent Television Banja Luka. Despite modest ambitions, it toured all over the former Yugoslavia, and Beneš was frequent guest on promotions.

Beneš still lives in Banja Luka, in modesty, mostly financed by his sister Ljiljana. He published a book of poems Druga strana medalje (Another Side of Coin), devoted to sports, and he said that he has written a dozen more, and that he plans to publish them. He still trains every day and has healthy diet.

Boxing record as a professional

32 Wins (21 knockouts, 11 decisions), 6 Losses (3 knockouts, 3 decisions), 1 Draw [1]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Win -- Cliff McCourry KO 2 02/02/1997 Croatia Pozega, Croatia
Win 9-2 Italy Salvatore Di Salvatore TKO 5 03/05/1991 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Banja Luka, Yugoslavia
Win 25-14-2 Belgium Maurice Bufi KO 6 02/12/1983 Germany Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart, Germany
Loss 20-32-1 United States Johnny Heard KO 1 16/04/1983 Austria Salzburg, Austria
Win 7-4 France Mbayo Wa Mbayo RTD 6 31/03/1983 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Split, Yugoslavia
Win 11-3-1 Wales Darwin Brewster PTS 10 27/01/1983 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Rijeka, Yugoslavia
Loss 39-2 Italy Luigi Minchillo MD 12 28/10/1982 Italy San Severo, Italy EBU Light Middleweight Title. 116-116, 116-118, 114-118.
Win 7-4-2 Canada Gordie Lawson KO 4 10/06/1982 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Titograd, Yugoslavia
Win -- Tony Desroche KO 2 09/03/1982 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
Win 14-11-3 United States Randy Milton KO 1 19/12/1981 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Split, Yugoslavia
Win 15-5-2 Austria Franz Dorfer TKO 4 06/11/1981 Austria Vienna, Austria
Win 8-2-4 France Andre Mongelema PTS 10 18/09/1981 Austria Vienna, Austria
Loss 29-3 France Louis Acaries PTS 12 19/03/1981 France Paris, France EBU Light Middleweight Title.
Win 12-4-1 Chile Antonio Alejandro Garrido TKO 9 09/02/1981 Austria Vienna, Austria
Win 32-14-4 Puerto Rico Sandy Torres PTS 10 20/12/1980 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Split, Yugoslavia
Win 37-8-5 France Georges Warusfel TKO 5 06/10/1980 France Paris, France EBU Light Middleweight Title.
Loss 33-0 Uganda Ayub Kalule UD 15 12/06/1980 Denmark Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark WBA World Light Middleweight Title. 145-149, 142-149, 147-149.
Win 10-8-2 United States Freddie Boynton KO 3 28/03/1980 Germany Berlin, Germany
Draw 29-4-1 Italy Damiano Lassandro PTS 12 13/02/1980 Italy Pesaro, Italy EBU Light Middleweight Title.
Win 19-0-2 Netherlands Adrie Huussen TKO 3 05/11/1979 Netherlands Sportpaleis Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands EBU Light Middleweight Title.
Loss 29-12-4 Puerto Rico Sandy Torres TKO 6 25/08/1979 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Zenica, Yugoslavia
Win 26-0 Spain Andoni Amana TKO 8 06/06/1979 Spain Bilbao, Spain EBU Light Middleweight Title.
Win 23-13-1 United States Zip Castillo KO 1 28/04/1979 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Win 20-2-1 France Gilbert Cohen KO 4 17/03/1979 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Banja Luka, Yugoslavia EBU Light Middleweight Title.
Win 72-17-27 Argentina Everaldo Costa Azevedo PTS 10 18/11/1978 Germany Berlin, Germany
Win 68-5-4 The Bahamas Elisha Obed PTS 10 02/09/1978 Germany Berlin, Germany
Win 3-11 United Kingdom Tiger Quaye PTS 8 29/05/1978 Netherlands Sportpaleis Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Win 8-4-2 United Kingdom Peter "Cricket" Neal KO 5 06/05/1978 Germany Frankfurt, Germany
Win 3-10 United Kingdom Tiger Quaye KO 1 07/04/1978 Germany Berlin, Germany
Loss 2-10 Argentina Tiger Quaye TKO 3 15/02/1978 Netherlands Sportpaleis Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Win 28-7-3 Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla Pat Thomas PTS 8 16/01/1978 Netherlands Rotterdam, Netherlands
Win 12-8 Zaire Wa Bukasa KO 3 16/12/1977 Austria Vienna, Austria
Win 21-7-1 United Kingdom Steve Angell TKO 4 10/12/1977 Germany Berlin, Germany
Win 19-5-1 France Alain Ruocco PTS 8 18/11/1977 Austria Vienna, Austria
Win 10-8-2 United Kingdom Mick Minter TKO 2 31/10/1977 Netherlands Sportpaleis Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Win 23-32-4 Scotland Scottish John Smith PTS 8 10/10/1977 Netherlands Sportpaleis Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Win -- Tunisia Rhida Hakima KO 2 01/10/1977 Austria Vienna, Austria
Win 15-12-5 France Pascal Zito PTS 6 24/09/1977 Austria Vienna, Austria
Win 31-11-4 Luxembourg Clement Tshinza PTS 4 06/08/1977 Germany Deutschlandhalle, Charlottenburg, Germany

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