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Jack Johnson Biography

Early Training, Success In The Ring, Chronology, Controversial Figure, Legacy As A Boxer

1878-1946

American boxer

Jack Johnson was the first African American to hold the title of world heavyweight champion, a distinction he earned by defeating Tommy Burns in a 1908 fight. During an era of blatant racism, Johnson was a flamboyant character who provoked a worldwide search for the "Great White Hope" who could defeat him. Johnson, both as a brilliant fighter and as a man who lived lavishly, was one of the most well-known sports figures of his day. Boxing historian Nat Fleischer wrote in 1949, "after years devoted to the study of heavyweight fighters,

Jack Johnson

I have no hesitation in naming Jack Johnson as the greatest of them all."

Sketch by Christine M. Kelley

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Famous Sports StarsBoxing