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 Panama City, Florida.

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

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

“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.