View Full Version : R.I.P. Ingemar Johansson

01-31-2009, 12:24 AM
Ingemar Johansson 1932-2009
Swedish Legend died last night
By Olof Johansson / Editor BOXNING

Swedish Legend Ingemar Johansson died five minutes to Midnight January 30 2009 after a two week long struggle in the last phase of Alzheimers illness. The former Heavyweight Champion of The World was at his death 76 years and 4 month old. He was regarded as Scandinavia’s greatest fighter ever and held the undisputed World Heavyweight Championship 1959-1960; he also held The European Heavyweight Crown 1956-1959 and again 1962-1963.

He won the World title in a third round KO over reigning Champion Floyd Patterson in Yankee Stadium June 26 1959. “Ingo”, as he was affectionately called, entered that bout a clear cut underdog but one minute into the third round he landed a picture perfect right hand through the guard of Patterson and flattened the Champion. Referee Ruby Goldstein allowed Patterson to continue although barely beating the count and six more knockdowns followed before Goldstein stopped the bout. “The Hammer of Thor” - Johansson’s vaunted right hand - had spoken!

The Swede lost the title back to Patterson on June 20th 1960 and they met again in a rubber bout March 13 1961, with both men hitting the canvas in round one before finally Patterson managed to win on a KO 6.

Johansson was a Swedish National Hero already in his amateur days, Swedish Champion 1950-51-52, winner of the USA Golden Gloves vs Europe competition in Chicago 1951 knocking out Ernest Fann and winning four bouts up to the finals in The Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland 1952 losing to American Ed Sanders on a disqualification, having thus to settle for a silver medal.

He beat European Champion Franco Cavicchi in 1956 on a 13th round KO and defended that title against Henry Cooper (KO 5) and Joe Erskine (TKO 13) before qualifying for the World crown against nr 1 challenger Eddie Machen in front of 53.614 spectators in Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg winning in 2.16 minutes of round 1. He recovered the Euro crown by knocking out Dick Richardson in round 8.

All in all he fought 71 bouts as an Amateur, winning 61. He won 26 out of 28 as a professional, only losing twice to Patterson.

Johansson lived an amazing life saving his millions, later venturing into business. He had a restaurant and a fleet of fishing boats. For a while he owned a motel in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. He owned homes in Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and an island outside Gothenburg, which he later gave to his children. The last five years he lived in a private home for the elderly south of Gothenburg, which is where he died, surrounded by family members.

Ron Lipton
01-31-2009, 01:27 AM
I was very happy that I met him in Seville Spain in 1994. Our boxing heroes are dying left and right. It is becoming absolutely depressing and shocking to me beyond description how fast this is happening. Losing Joey Giardello, Rocky Castellani, Jose Torres, Floyd Patterson, Ingemar, Reg, Tony Castellano, Joe Micelli and all the rest one after another is so sad to me.
Just brutal news to all of us who knew them and shared moments with them in boxing.

01-31-2009, 03:05 AM
I am sad to hear about Ingo, and offer deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Ingo was the only former heavyweight champ I ever met , when I was about 16 on the eve of Hagler-Duran. Johansson was appearing at an opening of a work clothing store in Minneapolis, I saw the ad and somehow convinced my mom that it was cold enough that she should drive me over to try and meet the man.

I walked into the store and looked halway down the aisle and saw Ingo talking to some grown-ups. He looked paunchier and older but I still recognized him from the photos I'd seen.

My sense of history overcame my shyness and awe at seeing a living ex-heavyweight champ, and I slowly approached him and waited until the two guys he was talking with stopped for a minute. Ingo then noticed me, turned, smiled, and offered a handshake and introduced himself. I recall a big, soft paw of a hand shaking my sweaty hand. I'm guessing it was pretty obvious that I wasn't a potential paying customer, but he still took the time to talk a bit with me.

The two questions I recall specifically asking him were:

"Champ, heavyweights these days sometimes go upward of 240 plus. You were barely 200. How'd you deal with these huge guys?"

"Well, if you him them hard enough, they'll fall down no matter how big they are."

Wisdom there.

My other question was pertaining to who Ingo thought would win the Hagler-Duran fight that night. Ingo looked down at me, looked me in the eyes and said in a lowered voice:

"I hope Hagler beats the hell out of him."

A friendly, seemingly gregarious man who took the time to talk to a fan who wasn't even born when he was champion. I don't doubt there are a lot of folks out there with good memories of Ingo.

01-31-2009, 07:52 AM
Johansson knocked out Patterson, Associated Press

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Ingemar Johansson, the Swede who stunned the boxing world by knocking out Floyd Patterson to win the heavyweight title in 1959, has died, a longtime friend said Saturday. Johansson was 76.

Johansson died at a 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.

Floyd Patterson lies on the canvas after taking a knockout blow from Ingemar Johansson in the third round of their heavyweight title bout in New York's Yankee Stadium in 1959. 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 champion died just before midnight 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 miles from the house where he grew up.

Johansson knocked out Patterson in the third round at Yankee Stadium on June 26, 1959, to win the heavyweight title. He floored the American seven times in the third round before referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the fight 2:03 into it.

Back home, hundreds of thousands of Swedes listened to the live radio broadcast at 3 a.m. as Johansson became only the fifth heavyweight champion born outside the United States. His feat earned him The Associated Press' Male Athlete of the Year in 1959, only the second Swede to win the award.

Patterson avenged the upset loss a year later in the rematch in New York, knocking Johansson out in the fifth round. In March 1961, the Swede floored Patterson twice in Miami before being knocked out in the sixth round of the rubber match.

Johansson had four more fights -- all wins, one of them a knockout of England's Dick Richardson for the European title in 1962 -- before retiring the following year.

Johansson was married and divorced twice, and is also survived by five children. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

01-31-2009, 10:28 AM
rip champ.

01-31-2009, 11:05 AM
Here is a nice slide show from IBRO Swedish Boxing Historian Christer Franzen.


01-31-2009, 01:13 PM
Yet more sad news, another Boxing guy slips into the past, very sad.

The Hammer of Thor has left the building.

RIP Champ.

Ron Lipton
01-31-2009, 04:26 PM
The Hammer of Thor,


01-31-2009, 10:57 PM
The Hammer of Thor,


Great article on the old champ.
You were so right Ronny, so many of the old timers that i remember seem to be gone now. I remember Ingo so well and his fights with Floyd, being of course almost seventy myself. Although we all love the fight game it is sad to see so many have after effects from the battles they fought. One thing they can never take away from Ingo is he won the greatest prize in the fight game. The HW Championship of the World.
Rest In Peace Old Champion

02-06-2009, 11:44 PM
This is sad news. Johansson fought Patterson 3 times. The great thing about boxers is that they became good friends. Now we have lost them both. R.I.P. Champ.