Ingemar Johansson

Swedish Heavyweight Boxing Champion


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About the Book

Ingemar Johansson’s right hand—dubbed “The Hammer of Thor”—was the most fearsome in boxing, and Johansson’s three fights with Floyd Patterson rank among the sport’s classic rivalries. Yet most fans know little about the Swedish playboy who won the world heavyweight championship with a shocking third round knockout of Patterson and held it for six days short of a year (1959–1960). During his reign, the raffish “Ingo” hit fashionable nightspots on two continents, romanced Elizabeth Taylor, and refused to kowtow to the mobsters who controlled boxing. This first-ever biography of Johansson chronicles his fistic triumphs as a Göteborg teen prodigy, his humiliating disqualification for “cowardice” at the 1952 Olympics, his storybook romances with Birgit Lundgren and Edna Alsterlund and his post-career life and tragic early dementia.

About the Author(s)

Ken Brooks is a freelance writer and retired educator. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

Ken Brooks

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 74 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9847-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2023-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii
Introduction 1
Part One
1. Roots 9
2. Breakthrough 14
3. The 1952 Olympics 23
4. Turning Pro 32
5. Birgit 48
6. Taking on Machen 61
7. Edwin and Cus 73
Part Two
8. Grossinger’s 85
9. No Longer a Dream 96
10. Patterson-Johansson I 101
11. Delirium 110
12. Fighting the Fight Mob 118
13. Pop Culture Ingo 129
14. Back to Work 142
15. Patterson-Johansson II 150
16. After the Fall 158
17. Dancin’ with Johansson 167
18. Patterson-Johansson III 174
19. One More Fight 186
Part Three
20. Cutting Ties 193
21. Edna 204
22. Troubling Times 218
23. Changes 227
24. There Is Only One Ingo 236
Epilogue: The Hammer of Thor 246
Professional Boxing Record 249
Bibliography 251
Index 255

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A much-needed biography of a figure who has been ignored”—Standard Examiner
  • “Very easy to read…a much needed study of an Olympian, a celebrity, and a Heavyweight Champion of the world…. Ken Brooks’ expertly written biography will hopefully help to raise the profile of Ingemar Johansson”—Sport in American History
  • “Meticulous research…Brooks writes not only about Johansson, but also pens an excellent history of boxing during the late ’50s and early ’60s…fascinating and enlightening reading…a must read…Ingo deserved to have a good book written about him, and Ken Brooks has done him that service”—Boston Post-Gazette
  • “The first biography to be written about Johansson…entertaining and informative”—Box Nation
  • “This book is one of those that deserves a wide readership. Mr. Brooks has done meticulous research, organized his material, given an array of footnotes to back up that research, and ends up with a lively narrative about a fascinating figure in the world of boxing…excellent…fascinating and enlightening…a must read”—Boxing over Broadway.