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Joe Frazier Biography

South Carolina Childhood, Chronology, Olympic Gold Medalist, Monumental Fights Against Ali And Foreman, Awards And AccomplishmentsSELECTED WRITINGS BY FRAZIER:


American boxer

Joe Frazier

Holder of the unified World Heavyweight Champion title from 1970 to 1973, Joe Frazier is best remembered for the title fight that he lost to Muhammad Ali in the "Thrilla in Manila" in 1975. Yet his matches with Ali were only part of the rags-to-riches story of Frazier's life. Growing up in the rural community of Laurel Bay, South Carolina, Frazier endured poverty as his parents struggled to support a family of twelve children. After dropping out of school and working as a farm laborer at the age of fourteen, Frazier left South Carolina after his boss threatened to give him a beating. Moving to Philadelphia, the teenager worked at a meat packing plant and began training as a boxer while he raised his own family. He found early success with a Gold Medal in heavyweight boxing at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, but it was another four years before he got a shot at the world title in a match sponsored by the New York State Athletic Commission. Unifying the title with another victory in a World Boxing Association bout in 1970, Frazier reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion. He kept the title for three years before losing it to George Foreman in 1973. Although his attempt to reclaim the championship against Ali in 1975 failed, it became the most famous fight of his career.


(With Phil Berger) Smokin' Joe: The Autobiography of a Heavyweight Champion of the World, Macmillan, 1996.

Sketch by Timothy Borden

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Famous Sports StarsBoxing