Marijan Beneš

Jun 11, 1951 - Sep 4, 2018(67)

Rocky from Banja Luka

The whole town was talking about the Yugoslav champion!

The whole of Banja Luka remembers the day when the charismatic Marijan, a world-renowned boxer, brought the first BMW car to his beloved city. Banja Luka marked Yugoslavian Rocky Balboa in many ways, and he remained faithful to it until the very end. He moved there as a sixteen-year-old in order to join the Slavija boxing club at the time. Since his arrival, the whole town has been talking about the arrived Yugoslavian child miracle. The reason for that nickname was the incredible victory that Beneš achieved as a ten-year-old kid. The first time he entered the boxing ring, he defeated an eighteen-year-old young man. Because of this, everyone predicted a significant career for him. However, he left without fulfilling one great wish...

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Beneš won the title of boxing champion of Yugoslavia four times. In his long amateur career, he played 299 matches, of which 272 wins, 16 losses and 11 draws. In his professional career, he won as many as 50 out of 56 matches. He defended the belt of the European champion four times, and his crocs were known all over the world. Therefore, it is not surprising that the whole of Yugoslavia came to Banja Luka to challenge this champion of world fame.

In this city, he also opened a cafe where, as he himself explained, he fought five times a day. He often told how one fateful day he had to fight as many as fifteen times, and he would come home covered in blood several times a month. But outside the ring, he was never the first to insult or hit anyone. He was most often attacked by jealous guys because of their girlfriends.

For a long time he was courted by the girlfriend of a mobster. When her boyfriend found out about it, nine young men beat up Beneš in the Petar Kočić park. Then they broke his arcade. But he would always mention that he paid them back over the years, he "greeted" them one by one. Few people know that this macho boxer wrote lyrics in his spare time. The song followed Marijana in all dimensions of life. The whole audience, all of Banja Luka, but often all of Yugoslavia, would shout his name. "Marjan, Marjan", the crowd would chant, "you will be the champion of the world!", they would add. However, due to various adversities in life, Marijan was never able to realize his great desire. He never became a world champion. There was an eye injury, then war and exile, confiscation of property. Despite this, his physical condition and health followed him almost to the end of his life. And he always came back to two things. Banja Luka and his songs.

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