Updated: January 31, 2009, 1:32 AM ET
Johansson knocked out Patterson
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Ingemar Johansson, the Swede who stunned the
boxing world by knocking out Floyd Patterson to win the heavyweight
title in 1959, has died, a longtime friend said Saturday. Johansson
Johansson died at a nursing home in Kungsbacka on the Swedish west
coast, said Stig Caldeborn, a close friend who sparred with Johansson
when they were in their ***s.
Floyd Patterson lies on the canvas after taking a knockout blow from
Ingemar Johansson in the third round of their heavyweight title bout
in New York's Yankee Stadium in 1959. Caldeborn said he didn't know
the cause of death but told The Associated Press that Johansson had
recently returned to the nursing home after being hospitalized with
Johansson's daughter, Maria Gregner, told Swedish news agency TT that
the former champion died just before midnight Friday.
Johansson was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia more than 10
years ago, when he lived in Stockholm. He spent the rest of his life
in Kungsbacka, only a few miles from the house where he grew up.
Johansson knocked out Patterson in the third round at Yankee Stadium
on June 26, 1959, to win the heavyweight title. He floored the
American seven times in the third round before referee Ruby Goldstein
stopped the fight 2:03 into it.
Back home, hundreds of thousands of Swedes listened to the live radio
broadcast at 3 a.m. as Johansson became only the fifth heavyweight
champion born outside the United States. His feat earned him The
Associated Press' Male Athlete of the Year in 1959, only the second
Swede to win the award.
Patterson avenged the upset loss a year later in the rematch in New
York, knocking Johansson out in the fifth round. In March 1961, the
Swede floored Patterson twice in Miami before being knocked out in the
sixth round of the *** match.
Johansson had four more fights -- all wins, one of them a knockout of
England's*** Richardson for the European title in 1962 -- before
retiring the following year.
Johansson was married and divorced twice, and is also survived by five
children. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press