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Ingemar Johansson

Titles: Heavyweight champion 1959-1960
    
Record: 26-2 

Born: October 16, 1932 in Gothenburg, Sweden    

Years active: 1952-1963
 
Nickname: Ingo or Hammer of Thor



Ingemar Johansson will not make many all-time greats of the heavyweights lists but he
was a skilled fighter and only one man ever defeated him. The relative lack of fights 
and the caliber of his competition make it hard to rank Johansson in the heavyweight
universe. Johansson unquestioably had one of the best right hands the heavyweight 
division has seen, and better than average hand speed. He did lack a great chin 
however and could be outboxed by the best of the heavyweights as Floyd Patterson
proved in their second fight. Out of the ring Ingo was a fun loving man who would 
frequent bars but always took his fights seriously. It was the big right hand that 
is the asset which Ingo will most be remembered for as he would hold back on it until 
he saw a opening to use it with chilling effectiveness. Ingemar was good enough to 
make it on the European Golden Gloves team and to the boxing finals of the Olympics
in 1952 but was disqualified for "not giving his best", it was a blemish he worked 
hard to overcome. In fact he was not awarded his silver medal until 1982! After the 
Olympics Johansson immediately turned pro and showed promise and knockout power from 
the start. Johansson had a very good manager in Eddie Ahlquist who made the most of 
every win for Johansson with the media and regularly imported good competition for 
his man to face. 4 years into his career in his 15th fight Johansson defeated Franco 
Cavicchi for the European heavyweight title in a fight that he dominated from the 
opening bell. Very good knockout defenses of his European titles against Henry Cooper 
and Joe Erskine followed and should have given American heavyweights a bit of a wake 
up call. The Cooper fight was especially impressive as it only took him 5 rounds to 
trap his prey and dispatch of Cooper. The manager of Johansson knew that to earn the 
respect and money of the large American audiences that Ingo would have to defeat a 
name American opponent. For this the number 2 rated heavyweight in the world Eddie 
Machen was brought in for Johansson to fight. It was a sensationally one sided fight 
as Machen did not make it out of the first round. This is perhaps the greatest 
performance from a boxing standpoint of Ingo's career. The win over Machen had the 
desired effect and Johansson was given a title shot at the reigning heavyweight 
champion Floyd Patterson. Patterson was the betting favorite and Johansson was not 
thought of as a great challenger and dismissed by the American media as nothing but 
European hype. Fighting in front of a hostile crowd Johansson astounded the boxing 
world by knocking Patterson down 7 times and stopping the champion in three rounds. 
It was the big right hand that led him to the victory again, Patterson a good boxer 
could not seem to keep the burly Johansson at long range and paid the price. Ingemar 
Johansson became the second European to win the heavyweight title after Primo
Carnera did so 25 years before him. It was a short lived victory however as a rematch 
was immediately called for and Patterson would learn from his mistakes and outboxed 
and outight a Johansson who was said to have been undertrained and underestimating 
Patterson for the rematch. It lasted 5 rounds and Johansson did not win any of them, 
Ingo was finished off by one the greatest left hooks of all time. The third of the 
Patterson - Johansson was the best of the three by far as both fighters went down in 
a thrilling six round fight. Ingo had Patterson down twice and looked to be the 
certain victor before Patterson regained his form and put away Ingo. Johansson fought 
on after the third fight and regained his European title that he had to relinquish to 
tackle the world title by knocking out Dick Richardson in the 8th round. Johansson 
was a smart man however and after being knocked down and saved by the bell in the 
last round of his European title defense against Brian London he decided to call it 
a career at the age of 31. Johansson invest the over 1.5 million dollars he had made 
by fighting Floyd Patterson and should be the out of the ring role model for all 
heavyweight champions. In retirement Johansson stayed active and ran marathons and 
gave analyses for boxing broadcasts for Scandinavian boxing.


Ingemar Johansson

Career Record: 26 W, 2 L (17 K.O's)


     1952
     
     5  Dec Robert Masson                 KO 4 in Göteborg

     1953

     6  Feb Emile Bentz                   KO 2 in Göteborg
     6  Mar Lloyd Barnett                 W  6 in Göteborg
     12 Mar Erik Jensen                   W  6 in Köpenhamn
     4  Dec Raymond Degl'Innocenti        KO 2 in Göteborg

     1954

     5 Nov Werner Wiegand                 KO 5 in Göteborg

     1955
 
     6  Jan Ansel Adams                   W  6  in Göteborg
     13 Feb Kurt Schiegl                  KO 5  in Stockholm
     4  Mar Aldo Pellegrini             W D.Q 5 in Göteborg
     3  Apr Uber Bacilieri                W  8  in Stockholm
     12 Jun Günter Nürnberg               KO 7  in Dortmund
     28 Aug Hein ten Hoff                 KO 1  in Göteborg

     1956

     24 Feb Joe Bygraves                  W 8   in Göteborg
     15 Apr Hans Friedrich                W 10  in Stockholm
     30 Sep Franco Cavicchi               KO 13 in Bologna, IT 
     28 Dec Peter Bates                   KO 2  in Göteborg

     1957

     19 Mar Henry Cooper                  KO 5  in Stockholm 
     13 Dec Archie McBride                W  10 in Göteborg

     1958

     21 Feb Joe Erskine                   KO 13 in Göteborg 
     13 Jul Heinz Neuhaus                 KO 4  in Göteborg
     14 Sep Eddie Machen                  KO 1  in Göteborg

     1959

     26 Jun Floyd Patterson               KO 3  in New York 

     1960

     20 Jun Floyd Patterson               KOby 5 in New York 

     1961

     13 Mar Floyd Patterson               KOby 6 in Miami

     1962

     9  Feb Joe Bygraves                  KO 7   in Göteborg
     15 Apr Wim Snoek                     KO 5   in Stockholm
     17 Jun Dick Richardson               KO 8   in Göteborg 

     1963

     21 Apr Brian London                  W 12   in Stockholm