'He was like Floyd Mayweather': Johnny Famechon dies at 77
In a statement, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame acknowledged the former boxing world champion's contributions to the sport. John Bertrand, chairman of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, said Johnny Famechon was one of Australia's most popular boxers. Johnny was our humble, skilled world champion. He was described as poetry in motion, a master craftsman.
He was born Jean-Pierre Famechon in 1945 and moved to Australia with his family when he was five years old. Famechon became a star at a young age after being born to French lightweight champion Andre. His uncle Ray was also a featherweight champion in France and Europe. The young boxer quickly earned his title.
Despite never making an amateur debut, he began boxing professionally in June 1961. That was Famechon's debut fight, and he lost. Three years passed before he won his first major title. Famechon defeated Les Dunn for the Victorian featherweight title at the age of 19 in 1964. A year later, he defeated Ollie Taylor and won the national championship.
Famechon defended his world championship in July 1969 against Japanese superstar Fighting Harada after winning it in January. Referee Willie Pep awarded Famechon the victory after the bout was initially declared a draw.
In 1985, he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, in 1997 into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, and in 2003 into the Australian Boxing Hall of Fame. A car hit Famechon later in life, causing a severe brain injury. In 1991, the boxer was in a coma for 10 days, but he recovered and won that fight too. "What Famechon did in the sport and what he did after it, it's second to none, it's legendary," says Boxing Junkie's Jeff Fenech.