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Minnesota Boxing! Neil Ofsthun Wins NCAA Title 64 Years Ago Today #TBT

In the above photo is Minnesota's own punching Gopher Neil Ofsthun (he's in the middle of the front row). April 5, 1952 Neil won his second straight NCAA title! Boxing who knew?

Ten Individual Champions from NCAA Tournament 1952
Ten Individual Champions from NCAA Tournament 1952

Boxing was an official NCAA sport from 1948 to 1960. Cody Connel won the first individual boxing title for the Minnesota in 1949. The best of the fighting Gophers was Neil Ofthun who boxed at the 125 pound weight class. Winning his first NCAA title in 1951, Neil was able to repeat the next year. Unfortunately he was unable to carry the Gopher Boxing team as they only won 1 meet in 1952 (beating Washington State).

Fighting Gopher Ron Bruch, bleeding from his nose in this action photo from 1952.

Ofthun's style is described as an aggressive "jab, cross style" but seldom knocked anyone out. On April 5, 1952 he faced off against Don Camp from San Jose State the "Intermountain Champion". Neil's "overall ring savvy" in the last two rounds gave him the unanimous decision. Strangely I cannot find a single photograph of Neil fighting.

Minnesota would never win a NCAA team boxing championship, and the sport was dropped in 1960 when Charlie Mohr of Wisconsin suffered a brain hemorrhage during a championship bout and eventually died.