Name: Leo Johnson
Birth Name: Leo W. Johnson
Died: 2007-03-05 (Age:79)
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Boxing Record: click
Excerpts from Leo's obituary:
Charlotte Observer, The (NC) March 12, 2007 Author: GERRY HOSTETLER, Staff Writer
He was one of the few fighters who ever hurt Joe Louis, the "Brown Bomber," who was world's heavyweight boxing champ from 1937 to 1948.
Leo W. Johnson of Charlotte, died March 5. As a young boxer, he traveled with Louis and engaged in six exhibition matches.
"It's a fact that Leo, during one of those bouts, hit Joe with a left hook that closed his eye," said Glen Ivey, secretary and member of the Carolinas Boxing Hall of Fame. "Joe's manager had to calm him so he wouldn't kill Leo."
Leo was inducted into the Carolinas Boxing Hall of Fame in 1989. In the 1940s and 1950s, he fought more than 100 fights and won 87 of them. He held the Southern heavyweight boxing championship from 1953 to 1957.
His ring nickname was "Mule" - and for good reason. "He had an overhand right that if it hit the top of your forehead, you were outta here," Dewey (Tillman, a friend since 1948) said. "Very few fighters ever threw a punch like that. I saw every fight he ever fought and he was a great fighter. He was a dynamite guy."
Glen said, "He was a good fighter, no question about it. He knew older fighters like (former world heavyweight champions) Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott, and they knew him. Leo was as much of an influence in the boxing area as anybody in the city of Charlotte. He touched many lives in some way.
"We have lost a real friend, I want you to know that."