Who was Ingemar Johansson?

Gilfred Helmonsen | Updated: 13-09-2021 10:56 IST | Created: 13-09-2021 10:56 IST
Who was Ingemar Johansson?
Image Credit: Flickr

Today we're going to talk to you about the golden age of boxing, about a European boxer who triumphed in the United States, surprising everyone, and who earned his entry into the Olympus of boxers: Ingemar Johansson.

Ingemar Johansson was born in Goteborg on September 22, 1932. His first major public performance took place at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, with a Johansson who was not yet 20 years old. In that appointment, this Swede achieved silver after losing in the heavyweight final against the American Ed Sanders. In any case, it would take 30 years to give him the medal, since on his day he was disqualified for refusing melee.

Back in his country, Johansson turned professional and soon became champion of Scandinavia, although in the match in which he succeeded, against the Danish Jensen in 1953, he broke his right hand. This injury would accompany him for the rest of his life. And is that Johansson's forehand was devastating. He was christened The Hammer of Thor.

In 1956 he became European heavyweight champion after defeating Italian Franco Cavicchi, a title that he would successfully defend twice. Thus, in September 1958, before more than 50,000 people who gathered at the Ullevi stadium in Goteborg, Johansson defeated the American Eddie Machen by KO, which earned him the right to contest the world heavyweight title against the American Floyd Patterson.

The bout was set for June 26, 1959, at Yankee Stadium in New York. With the 5-1 bets against him, Johansson was preparing in the city of skyscrapers for a few weeks, in which he was seen a lot, especially at night, in the company of a supposed secretary. Be that as it may, Johansson stepped into the ring that night and in the third round, after Patterson stripped his guard for a few tenths of a second, Johansson threw one of his 'hammers' at the American, who fell to the canvas. Another six times he had to knock Johansson down to Patterson before the referee stopped the match. He was the world heavyweight champion.

20,000 people waited for him at the Ullevi in Gothenburg upon his return, and he even made his appearance by helicopter. He became one of the most famous people in the world, appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and even starring in an American movie, with stars Alan Ladd and Sidney Poitier.

The rematch was set for almost a year later, on June 20, 1960. In between, there was a frustrated attempt at a fight between Johansson and a young but promising Cassius Clay, which never took place. The bout was held in New York and in the fifth round, Floyd Patterson landed a left hook to the jaw of Johansson, sending him to the canvas, completely KO. In fact, up to 15 minutes after being knocked down, the Swede did not manage to get back upright. Patterson thus became the first heavyweight to regain the title from him after losing it and promised Johansson a new rematch. Nine months later the clash was repeated in Miami and again Patterson could with the Swede. Be that as it may, the two of them had already forged a sincere friendship.

Johansson continued to fight in Europe until 1963. He was the European champion and gave up his title to leave boxing. A celebrity in Sweden, he started a bar, opened a sportswear business and bottled his own beer. In 1970, he moved to Miami, where he was able to further strengthen his friendship with Patterson, which lasted until Alzheimer's took hold of both of them. Patterson passed away in 2006 and three years later, on June 30, 2009, Johansson did aged 76 and when he was the oldest living former heavyweight champion.

The article is prepared by Gilfred Helmonsen, NorskCasinoHex's expert with many years of experience in gambling and e-sport.

(Devdiscourse's journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)

Give Feedback