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Francisco 'Morochito' Rodríguez, boxer who won Venezuela's first Olympic gold medal, dies at 78

FILE - Francisco Rodriguez of Venezuela, right, throws a left to the head of Harland Marbley of the United States during their light heavyweight Olympic bout in Mexico City, Oct. 25, 1968. Rodriquez won on points. Francisco "Morochito" Rodríguez, who in 1968 won Venezuela's first gold medal at an Olympic Games when he won the light flyweight division, died on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. He was 78. (AP Photo, File)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Francisco “Morochito” Rodríguez, the boxer who won Venezuela's first Olympic gold medal, died Tuesday at age 78.

Venezuela's Olympic Committee confirmed Rodriguez' death on Wednesday on its social media channels but did not provide details. Local media reported he had been hospitalized in Caracas due to anemia.

At the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, Rodríguez won gold in the light flyweight division by beating South Korea's Jee Yong-Ju in the final bout.

Rodríguez also won gold medals at the 1967 and 1971 Pan American Games.

Rodriguez was the second born of 14 children. He started boxing at age 11.

The second Venezuelan to win an Olympic gold medal was fencer Rubén Limardo at the London Olympics in 2012.


AP Summer Olympics:

The Associated Press

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