Boxing world in mourning after death of Aussie legend Johnny Famechon

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Aussie boxing great Johnny Famechon, pictured here before his tragic death.
Aussie boxing great Johnny Famechon has died at age 77. Image: Getty

The Australian sporting community is mourning the death of beloved boxing legend Johnny Famechon.

The former world champion was 77.

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Born Jean-Pierre Famechon in France in 1945, he migrated to Australia when he was five years old and won a world title in 1969, becoming just the third Australian boxer in history to do so.

He became the Lineal and WBC featherweight champion after beating José Legrá of Cuba in a points decision at the Albert Hall in London.

Famechon retired from boxing at the age of 24 after a short professional career that saw him defend his title against Japanese icon Fighting Harada in a controversial decision.

26 Sep 1998:  Johnny Famechon the former Australian champion during a boxing feature in Melbourne, Australia. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport Australia /Allsport
26 Sep 1998: Johnny Famechon the former Australian champion during a boxing feature in Melbourne, Australia. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport Australia /Allsport

He also knocked out Harada in the 14th round of a rematch in Japan six months later.

Famechon won 56 of his 67 fights at professional level.

Following his 1969 world title victory in London, he received the Keys To The City of Melbourne on returning home.

He defended his WBC title in May of 1970 in Rome against Mexican fighter Vicente Saldivar and retired soon after losing the fight in a close points decision.

Famechon, who never fought as an amateur, was trained by professional prize fighter and leading Australian rules footballer Ambrose Palmer.

Fighting Harada, pictured here with Johnny Famechon and Lionel Rose in 1975.
Fighting Harada with Johnny Famechon (centre) and Lionel Rose (R) in 1975. (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

He was elevated to Legend status in the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992, before being inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997.

He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for significant service to boxing.

In 1991 he suffered an acquired brain injury after being hit by a car in Sydney and suffering a stroke.

A bronze statue of Famechon sits proudly in place in his home town of Frankston in Victoria.

Tributes flow after death of Johnny Famechon

“As a human, he was second to none," fellow Aussie boxing legend Jeff Fenech told 2GB on Thursday.

Tributes have been flowing in on social media after the devastating news.

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman tweeted: "I am so sorry to learn of the passing away of Australian boxing icon Johnny Famechon. May he rest in eternal peace."

Broadcaster Stephen Quartermain wrote: "Vale Johnny Famechon. A champion. A gentleman. A great Hawthorn FC man."

Author Grantlee Kieza tweeted: "Very sad news."

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