CANASTOTA, NY – JANUARY 31, 2009 –– The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its flags will fly at half-staff in memory of heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson. He passed away yesterday in Sweden. He was 76.
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, Johansson won a silver medal at the 1952 Olympics. He carried a tremendous knockout punch in his right hand, affectionately dubbed the “Hammer of Thor” and “Ingo’s Bingo.” In 1956 he captured the European heavyweight title and successfully retained it twice, including a win over Henry Cooper. A sensational first round knockout over top contender Eddie Machen put Johansson in line for a shot at Floyd Patterson’s heavyweight title and he astounded the boxing world by knocking Patterson down seven times in three rounds to claim the title on June 26, 1959. Patterson avenged the loss with a 5th round KO, and despite having Patterson down twice in their rubber match, Johansson succumbed in the 6th round. Johansson regained his European title and then retired in 1963 following a 12-round win over Brian London. A hero in his native land, his pro record reads 26-2 (17KOs).
“Ingemar Johansson captured the imagination of boxing fans in Sweden and all across the world,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy. “The Hall of Fame is saddened to learn of his passing and joins the boxing community in mourning his death.”
In 2002, Johansson was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.