By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
Former WBC featherweight champion Johnny Famechon, 72 years, had a statue erected in his honor on Sunday January 21st in Frankston, Victoria, Australia with with more than 1000 people including former world champions Azumah Nelson, Barry Michael and Sam Soliman in attendance at Ballam Park to witness the unveiling, which marks the 49-year anniversary of the boxing great defeating Cuba’s Jose Legra to win the world featherweight title in 1969.
Famechon scored a fifteen round decision over Legra to capture the WBC featherweight crown at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England on January 21, 1969 and when he returned home there were over 250,000 fans lining the streets of Melbourne to welcome him. Famechon defended the title successfully against Japanese boxing great Fighting Harada by fifteen round decision at Sydney Stadium in 1969 and then by fourteen round knockout in Tokyo, Japan on January 6,1970 before Mexico’s Vincente Saldivar dethroned Famechon by fifteen round decision at the Palazzetto dello Sport, Roma,Lazio, Italy on May 9, 1970.
Azumah Nelson who made the trip from Ghana said. “I met John Famechon personally when I won the world title in Australia and he is someone who I love and adore.”
Funding of the statue has been a labour of love for Famechon’s supporters who have been assisted by the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame who raised the $128,000 required for the project.
Famechon’s biggest fight happened In 1991 when he nearly lost his life after being hit by a car and left hm with brain injuries while out jogging in Sydney.He was in a coma for weeks, suffered a stroke that left him partially paralysed. Radical treatment helped the stricken champion eventually regain movement and speech.
Fammo retired after losing the WBC championship with a record of 56-5-6, 20 KOs.