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Jack Johnson’s Boxing Day

Boxing Day has nothing to do with boxing. Except when it does. On December 26th, 1908 American pugilist Jack Johnson became the first African American to win the world heavyweight title—in Australia. He had battled against Jim Crow-era racism to compete against his white counterparts (five years before the world heavyweight title he won the “Colored Heavyweight Championship of the world”) and finally, Canadian Tommy Burns agreed to a match. Johnson knocked Burns out in the 14th round and held the title until 1915.

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