On December 26th, 1908, Jack Johnson became the first African American to win the world heavyweight title when he knocked out Canadian Tommy Burns in the 14th round in a championship bout near Sydney, Australia. Johnson, who held the heavyweight title until 1915, was reviled by whites for his defiance of the “Jim Crow” racial conventions of early 20th-century America. The boxer that is still remembered by many as the greatest defensive boxer in heavyweight history.
circa 1910: African-American boxer, Jack Johnson (1878 - 1946), he became World Heavyweight Champion in 1908 and defeated a series of 'great white hopes' who challenged him. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)