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Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Saturday, 31 January 2009

Boxing mourns ex-champ Johansson

Ingemar Johansson
Johansson recorded 17 knockouts in his 28-fight career

Ingemar Johansson, the man who stunned the boxing world by knocking out Floyd Patterson to win the world heavyweight title in 1959, has died aged 76.

The Swede also beat Britain's Henry Cooper in a 28-fight pro career.

Johansson knocked out Patterson in the third round at Yankee Stadium in New York, flooring his rival seven times.

Patterson gained revenge with a fifth-round knockout a year later before winning the third bout in Miami in 1961 with a sixth-round stoppage.

Johansson died at a nursing home in Kungsbacka, on the Swedish west coast.

He 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 his old house where he grew up.

Back home, hundreds of thousands of Swedes listened to the live radio broadcast at 3am local time, when Johansson became only the fifth-ever heavyweight champion born outside the United States.

Swedish newspapers printed extra editions with the man known affectionately as ĢIngoģ on the cover.

"What he did was the biggest feat ever in Swedish sporting history," said close friend and former sparring partner Stig Caldeborn.

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And the Swedish Boxing Federation announced on its website: "The greatest of them all has moved on."

Johansson had four more fights - all wins and one including a knockout victory over England's Dick Richardson for the European title in 1962 - before retiring in 1963.

He finished his career with a 26-2 record, including 17 knockouts, and was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002.

A well-schooled upright boxer, Johansson had a good jab that helped set up a tremendous knockout punch in his right hand dubbed "Ingo's Bingo" and the "Hammer of Thor."

Although not regarded as one of the all-time greats, he was a force in Europe where he captured the heavyweight title in 1956 and retained it twice, including a win over Britain's Henry Cooper.

He earned his shot at the world heavyweight title by knocking out Eddie Machen in the first round of their elimination match in 1958.

In 1982 he was presented with the Olympic silver medal withheld from him in 1952. He was at the time disqualified in the final for running from American Ed Sanders, but that ruling was overturned 30 years later.

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