Former heavyweight champ Ingemar Johansson dies
Ingemar Johansson, the Swede who stunned the boxing world by knocking out Floyd Patterson to win the world heavyweight title in 1959, has died, a longtime friend said on Saturday.india Updated: Jan 31, 2009 11:32 IST
Ingemar Johansson, the Swede who stunned the boxing world by knocking out Floyd Patterson to win the world heavyweight title in 1959, has died, a longtime friend said on Saturday. He was 76.
Johansson died at nursing home in Kungsbacka, on the Swedish west coast, said Stig Caldeborn, a close friend who sparred with Johansson when they were in their teens.
Caldeborn said he didn't know the cause of death but told The Associated Press that Johansson had recently returned to the nursing home after being hospitalized with pneumonia. Johansson's daughter, Maria Gregner, told Swedish news agency TT that the former world champion died just before midnight on Friday.
Johansson was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia more than 10 years ago when he lived in Stockholm. He spent the rest of his life in Kungsbacka, only a few kilometers (miles) from his old house where he grew up.
Johansson knocked out Patterson in the third round at Yankee Stadium in New York on June 26, 1959, to win the world heavyweight title. He floored the American seven times in the third round before referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the fight 2:03 into the round. Back home, hundreds of thousands of Swedes listened to the live radio broadcast at 3 am when Johansson became only the fifth-ever heavyweight champion born outside the United States. His feat earned him The Associated Press' Male Athlete of the Year honors in 1959, only the second Swede to earn the award.
In the rematch, Patterson avenged the upset loss a year later with a fifth-round knockout in New York. In March 1961, the Swede floored Patterson twice in Miami before being knocked out by the American in the sixth round.
Johansson had four more fights _ all wins and one including a knockout victory over England's Dick Richardson for the European title in 1962 _ before retiring in 1963.
Johansson was married and divorced twice, and is also survived by five children. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
First Published: Jan 31, 2009 11:30 IST