Yugoslav Boxing Legend Marijan Benes Dies At 67


Marijan Benes died on Tuesday at the age of 67 in Banja Luka, the main town in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska.

Born in the Serbian capital Belgrade, Benes was known as one of the best boxers in Yugoslav history.

He won nine titles in Bosnia, four Yugoslav titles and a number of other competitions during his amateur career.

As a professional, he won a European Boxing Union title in the light welterweight category in 1979.

He told media that he was forces to participate in 1992-95 war in Bosnia as a trench-digger for the Bosnian Serb Army, and his younger brother was killed in the conflict.

He said in 2004 that he had to leave Banja Luka at one point after receiving various threats because of his pro-Yugoslavia stance, but decided to come back after a year.

“I will never give up on being Yugoslav, I am Croat and Serb and Bosniak,” Benes told media in an interview in which he commented on ethnic tensions in Bosnia.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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