The First African American World Heavyweight Champion Boxer in History

During the ancient time of the Greeks, one of the most popular sporting events is boxing. That time, they believe that this particular sporting game teaches them proper discipline and became a dominant event in the historic Olympic Games many years ago.

According to history, boxing had been in existence for more than 4,000 years now and they as well recognized it as a wrestling because there are two fighters who are exchanging strengths to win. Based on the recorded data, Egypt is among the first countries with the first-ever boxing fights even before the Greeks.

Boxers many years ago do not fight for money and are more interested on winning for fame and superiority. Unlike boxing these days that involved gambling and clearly becoming a business matter.

When talking about boxing champions in history, one of the most dominant boxers during his prime is the great John Arthur Johnson. Also recognized as Jack Johnson, they gave him a nickname “Galveston Giant” because of his powerful punches and impressive boxing skills. To prove his worth, he became the first-ever African American heavyweight champion of the world from 1908-1915.

He gained much recognition in 1908 when he knocked out Tommy Burns (reigning champion) out and conquered the heavyweight title.

Even before he became the world champion, he is a dominant professional boxer in his debut fight against Charley Brooks back in November 1, 1898. Jack successfully knocked his opponent out within just the 2nd round of their bout. They held that fight at Galveston in Texas and dubbed as “The Texas State Middleweight Title” as detailed through Wikipedia.

As a professional boxer, he won almost 50 bouts from 1902-1907 and to name a few of his opponents that time include Sam Langford, Joe Jeannette and Sam McVey (all are African-American boxers that time). In nearly five decades of fighting as a boxer, he suffered a few defeats and experienced knockout thrice.

Based on the recorded data about his boxing career, he fought 113 times, won 79 fights (44 via Knockout), lose 8 times, with 12 draws and 14 no contests or no decisions.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing stories of his boxing career is when they organized a fight dubbed as “The Fight of the Century” back in year 1910 in Reno, Nevada. The organizers made an effort to settle the indifferences of the White against the Black people that time and so they set the bout featuring the “Galveston Giant” against James Jeffries (a former heavyweight champion that time).

Jack dominated the fight and forced the corner of Jeffries to surrender the fight by throwing a towel into the canvas. He was able to earn an amount of $65,000 and somehow proved his detractors wrong, when he nearly knocked his opponent out.

Unfortunately, the racial incidents occurred and needed to discontinue the fight. However, records showed that at least 2 White people and 23 Blacks died in a riot after that bout. This particular incident likewise injured hundreds of people who are watching the fight. Clearly, there is a severe racial discrimination in America that time because White people do not accept and recognize the achievement of Johnson, despite being a world-boxing champion.

The first-ever African American world heavyweight champion in history likewise has serious issues about his relationships to different races. Furthermore, he encountered a lawsuit when they sued him for “Mann Act” violation. According to the shared information about his case, the lawsuit lacks strong evidence to point him down and a clear issue about racial discrimination.

The professional boxing career is full of controversies, but he became a successful boxer and now recognized as one of the historical heavyweight champion of the world. He has a very distinctive or orthodox style in boxing and an effective defensive boxer inside the ring.

Johnson died at the age of 68 on June 10, 1946 in Franklin, North Carolina.


Credit images: Getty Images





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