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Ezzard Charles
Ezzard Charles

Ezzard Mack Charles (July 7, 1921May 28, 1975) was an African-American professional boxer. He was the heavyweight boxing champion from September 27, 1950, when he outpointed Joe Louis in 15 rounds in New York City, to July 18, 1951, when he was knocked out by Jersey Joe Walcott in 7 rounds in Pittsburgh.

As an amateur, Charles was undefeated and in 1939 won the national AAU Middleweight Championship. Charles turned professional in 1940, but his career was interrupted while he served in the United States military during World War II. Charles won the World Heavyweight Championship in 1950 and retired from boxing in 1959 with a record of 96 wins, 25 losses, and 1 draw. Ring Magazine named Charles Fighter of the Year in 1949 and 1950. In 1976, Cincinnati honored Charles by renaming a street Ezzard Charles Drive and in 1990 he was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. In 2009, Boxing Magazine designated Charles the greatest light heavyweight boxer of all time.

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