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Leavander Johnson Statue Unveiled in Atlantic City

Posted on 06/05/2011


ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (June 4, 2011) ­– The City of Atlantic City, Hanlon Sculpture Studio, and The Leavander Johnson Foundation unveiled the Leavander Johnson statue today in Center City Park in Atlantic City during a mid-day ceremony attended by hundreds of supporters. Among those in attendance with the Johnson family and friends, included Bernard Hopkins, Larry Hazzard, David Itskowitch, and Lou Dibella.

During the ceremony, both Hopkins and Hazzard encouraged children and everyone in attendance to look at the statue as a source of inspiration to not give up on dreams until they are achieved, citing Leavander’s tremendous determination and dedication to becoming a world champion.

The long awaited statue of the late IBF World Boxing Champion Leavander Johnson was created by world renowned sculptor and New Jersey native, Brian Hanlon. The project was spearheaded by Mayor Lorenzo Langford and Councilman Marty Small.

“It’s an honor to pay tribute to the ‘Rocky’ of Atlantic City,” said Hanlon. “Leavander’s tenacious desire to be champion was truly inspiring.”

Leavander’s father, Bill Johnson, released the following statement on behalf of the Johnson family:

“We would like to thank all of the people of Atlantic City for the love they showered on the Leavander Johnson memorial today. Thank you to the family members, friends, and world boxing community for the love they showed to Leavander, Atlantic City’s native son. We are very appreciative to all the support and cannot express how much this day means to us. This turnout today shows us that people of Atlantic City loved Leavander as much as he loved them. We are impressed and grateful to the likeness that Hanlon Sculpture Studio accomplished when sculpting Leavander. Thank you very much, and God Bless you all.”

About Leavander Johnson

Leavander Johnson (12/24/1969 – 9/22/2005) compiled a career record of 34-5-2 with 26 wins by way of knockout. Johnson was born and raised in Atlantic City and trained throughout his childhood and boxing career at the Atlantic City PAL under the watchful eye of his father, who continues to instruct the youths of today. Johnson first became champion by winning the IBO Lightweight title in 1995. After three previous attempts failed, Johnson finally captured the vacant IBF Lightweight title on June 17, 2005 with a 7th round TKO over Stefano Zoff in Milan, Italy. Three months later, on September 17, 2005 in Las Vegas, Johnson unsuccessfully defended his title against Jesus Chavez when the fight was stopped in the 11th round. Johnson later collapsed in the locker room and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to correct a subdural hematoma. Tragically, his condition did not improve and he passed away September 22, 2005 with his family by his side.

About Hanlon Sculpture Studio

Brian Hanlon is a classically trained master sculptor and founder of Hanlon Sculpture Studio, located in Toms River, NJ. In business since 1991, Brian has sculpted over 200 public art pieces, specializing in bronze statues, and is the Official Sculptor for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His recent completions include a statue of Bob Cousy at Holy Cross, Zan’s Garden of Life at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, a WWII Memorial in Manchester, NJ, and ten life-size figures for St. Mary’s Church in Buffalo, NY. Current projects include Shaquille O’Neal for LSU, Yogi Berra for the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, and the Bearcat mascot for Binghamton University.

About The Leavander Johnson Foundation

The Leavander Johnson Foundation is non profit 501(c)3 community based empowerment organization. The mission of the Leavander Johnson Foundation is to enable communities to improve the quality and circumstances of life for present and future generations. In meeting these challenges, the Foundation employs flexible approaches and innovative strategies that are responsive to changing needs and new opportunities. The goal is to stimulate long-lasting and sustainable progress in which contributes to community vitality and economic growth.

About the City of Atlantic City

Atlantic City offers something for everyone. From the boardwalk to the bay, our great city has become a world-class destination and a “must see” attraction for millions of visitors annually. From fine dining and entertainment, to a wide array of shopping and, of course, casino excitement…we’re “always turned on”!

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