Jack Johnson

Born: 31st March 1878

Died: 10th June 1946

Birth Place: United States

Known for: Being the first African American to win the heavyweight boxing championship of the world.

Over his life as a boxer, Johnson fought over 100 matches.

During his career, he was only knocked out three times.

He got a place in the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954.

Certain unfair persons, piqued because I was a champion, decided if they could not get me one way, they would another.

Jack Johnson

Life story


Heavyweight champion


Born in Gaveston, Texas, John Arthur (Jack) Johnson was the first African American to win the heavyweight boxing championship of the world. He dropped out of school after his fifth grade and began boxing in 1897.

Johnson won the heavyweight title in 1908, fighting against Tommy Burns in Australia. He lost the title in 1915, when Jess Willard knocked him out after 26 rounds of boxing. Jack carried on boxing until 1928.


Breaking barriers


Johnson was famous for his boxing at a time when white and Black people in America were not treated equally. Black people were kept separate to white people in something called segregation. Many white people hated Johnson for his success.

In 1912, Johnson broke a law by crossing a state line with his bride before they were married. Instead of going to prison, he fled to Canada. He hid himself as a member of a Black baseball team. Johnson returned to go to prison in 1920. After he got out of prison, he still did some boxing and performed in carnival acts. In 1946, Johnson was killed in a car accident in Raleigh, North Carolina.

What boxing title did Jack Johnson win in 1908? When did Jack Johnson lose his boxing title? What did Jack Johnson do after he got out of prison?

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