Jens Ingemar Johansson (September 22, 1932 – January 30, 2009) was a Swedish boxer and former heavyweight champion of the world. Johansson was the fifth heavyweight champion born outside the United States. In 1959 he defeated Floyd Patterson by TKO in the third round, after flooring Patterson seven times in that round, to win the World Heavyweight Championship. As a result, Johansson won theHickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year and was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and Sports Illustratedmagazine’s “Sportsman of the Year“.
Johansson enjoyed a successful career as a heavyweight. When he retired in 1963 he had a record of 26 wins, 17 by KO, and only 2 losses. He called his right fist “toonder and lightning” for its concussive power (it was also called “Ingo’s Bingo” and the “Hammer of Thor”), and in 2003 he was ranked at #99 on The Ring‘s list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. He reputedly had bone trouble in his right hand on and off throughout his career as a result.
|Real name||Ingemar Johansson|
The Hammer of Thor
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Reach||183 cm (72 in)|
|Born||September 22, 1932
|Died||January 30, 2009 (aged 76)
|Wins by KO||17|
Johansson earned his shot at the world heavyweight crown when he KOed top ranked contender Eddie Machen in the first round of their elimination match on September 14, 1958. In front of 53.615 screaming fans in Ullevi football stadium, Johansson downed Machen three times, finally flattening him for a knockout at 2:16 of the first round. Johansson then signed to fight champion Floyd Patterson.
Johansson was a colorful figure in New York as he trained for the fight. Eschewing the monastic training regimen favored by Patterson and other fighters, Johansson trained at the Catskill resort of Grossingers. He didn’t seem to train particularly hard, and was often seen at night spots with his attractive “secretary.” Accordingly, he entered the ring in Yankee Stadium on June 26, 1959, as a 5-1 underdog.
Johansson spent the first two rounds of the encounter retreating and flicking a light left jab at the champion. In the third round, Johansson threw a wide left hook that Patterson blocked with his right hand. When he moved his right hand away from its protective peek-a-boo position before his chin, Johansson drilled him with a short powerful right hand. Patterson went down, arose on unsteady legs and was out on his feet. Johansson followed up his advantage and sent Patterson down 6 more times in the round before the bout was stopped by referee Ruby Goldstein. Johansson celebrated with his girlfriend and future wife Birgit Lundgren and the next day a headline in a New York newspaper expressed the city’s amazement. It read: “Ingo — It’s Bingo.”
When Johansson returned to Sweden, he flew in on a helicopter, landing in the main soccer stadium in Gothenburg, his home town, and was cheered by 20,000 people. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, as well as the cover of Life Magazine on July 20, 1959, alongside Birgit.
Johansson was a flamboyant champion – a precursor to the “Swinging Sixties“. One publication dubbed Johansson “boxing’s Cary Grant” and in 1960 he appeared the movie All the Young Men as a Marine, alongside stars Alan Ladd and Sidney Poitier. Wherever he went, in the U.S. or in Sweden he had a beautiful woman on his arm and paparazzi snapping pictures.