Joe Gans Was the First African American to Become a World Boxing Champion

Joe Gans, first African American World Boxing Champion

Joe Gans became the greatest Lightweight boxer of all-time in 1902 when he defeated the former World Welterweight Champion Eddie Connolly. He also was the first African American world titleholder in any sport. Gans was a master strategist and tactician, and one of the earliest practitioners of "scientific" boxing.
As a Black champion reigning during the Jim Crow era, he endured physical assaults, a stolen title, bankruptcy, and numerous attempts to destroy his reputation.

A biography by historians Colleen Aycock and Mark Scot features original round-by-round ringside telegraph reports of his most famous and controversial fights, a complete fight history, photographs, and early newspaper drawings and cartoons.

Weighing less than 137 pounds, Gans started boxing professionally in early 1891 in Baltimore, Maryland. His strategy was to learn his opponent's strengths and weaknesses in order to compete with a gameplan. That strategy made him very successful, and he became known and respected around the world as a true student of the sport.

Sadly, in August 1910, just four short years after successfully defending his title in the greatest fight of the century which lasted 42 rounds, Joe Gans died of tuberculosis.