Former boxing champion Ingemar Johansson dies at 76

Swedish Ingemar Johansson, who in 1959 became heavyweight champion of the world by knocking out Floyd Patterson, has died at the age of 76, a childhood friend said Saturday.

"A good friend has passed away and I think the whole world is mourning him today," said Stig Caldeborn, who was a member of Johansson's RBK boxing club when they were teen-agers and who remained a close friend throughout his life. "I sparred with Ingemar many hundred rounds as an amateur. I have so many happy memories from our time
together," he told AFP.

Caldeborn said he did not know the exact cause of Johansson's death late Friday night, but pointed out that he had been in a nursing home for around five years and was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Sweden, birthplace of former heavyweight champion of the world Ingemar Johansson and one of the more enlightened countries on the planet, banned professional boxing in 1970 after a study determined that the those who engage on the sport run the risk of suffering “severe and even life-threatening injuries, and that boxing “had a brutalizing effect on the audience and “was governed by unsound economic interests, according to the AP.


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