Born: Feb. 14, 1952 in Beaumont, Texas
Olympian and Golden Glove boxer, James Anthony "Bubba" Busceme graduated from South Park High School in 1970, where he lettered in track. He began boxing in Beaumont and entered his first Golden Gloves competition in 1959 at the age of seven. Busceme eventually became a five-time state Golden Gloves champion (1968-1972) and a four-time Golden Gloves national champion. He also won a bronze medal at the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali, Columbia.
Busceme represented the United States at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. Fighting as a lightweight, he reached the quarterfinals after two wins, and next faced a Polish fighter named Jan Szczepanski. In 1972, the USSR and its Eastern Bloc satellite countries often skewed Olympic outcomes with biased judging. Despite Busceme’s dominating performance, which saw his opponent hit the canvas twice, three judges from Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union judged Szczepanski, the winner in a 3-2 decision which was roundly jeered by the attending audience and criticized around the world. Szczepanski went on to win the gold medal. Devastated by the outcome, Busceme quit the amateur ranks and decided to turn pro.
Busceme boxed professionally from 1974 to 1976, and after a short hiatus, he again entered the ring in 1979. His career peaked when he brought a world championship title fight to Beaumont, Texas, against Alexis Arguello on February 13, 1982.
Billed as the WBC lightweight championship of the world, it remains the biggest boxing event the region has ever witnessed. At the time of the fight, Arguello was thought by many to be pound for pound the best fighter in the world (77-8, 62 K.O’s). Fighting evenly through five rounds, Busceme was stunned by a short left in the sixth, and the fight was stopped when the right-handed Arguello followed that up with a series of punches to the head. At the time of the stoppage, the judges had the two fighters only 1 point apart. He retired permanently from boxing in 1983 with an amateur record of 47-2 and a professional boxing record of 31-6.
Busceme is currently a manufacturing representative for a Beaumont sportswear company. He resides in Nederland and spends three months each year in Belize teaching children the boxing skills that brought him so much acclaim. Bubba Busceme is still the only amateur boxer to have won four Golden Gloves national titles.