Jack Johnson, US heavyweight boxer

Jack Johnson, US heavyweight boxer

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Caption: Jack Johnson (1878-1946), US heavyweight boxer and inventor of a wrench. Born John Arthur Johnson to former slaves, Jack Johnson rose to become the world's first black heavyweight boxing champion. He won the title in 1908, and was finally defeated in 1915. His most famous fight was in 1910, against James Jeffries, fought in front of 22,000 people at a specially built ring in Reno, Nevada. A controversial figure outside the ring, consorting with numerous women and spending time in prison, Johnson was an early example of the celebrity athlete. This photograph is from the Bain News Service, one of the USA's earliest news picture libraries. The Bain photographs date from the 1890s to the 1930s.

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