Boxing legend and ‘wonderful man’, Johnny Famechon, farewelled during state memorial

Oct 12, 2022
Source: Getty Images.

Crowds gathered at Melbourne’s Festival Hall on Tuesday, October 11 to bid their final farewell to Australian boxing legend Johnny Famechon while celebrating the sporting icon’s “wonderful life”.

The Australian sporting community was left in a state of mourning after the boxing legend passed away at the age of 77 on Thursday, August 4.

Born March 28, 1945, in Paris, Famechon moved to Australia with his family at the age of 5 where he would discover his love of boxing and build his professional sporting career.

Despite retiring from the sport of boxing at the young age of 25, Famechon enjoyed a series of career highlights that cemented his status as a prominent boxing identity.

Famechon’s first boxing victory came when he defeated Les Dunn to become Victorian Featherweight champion in 1964.

He won the title of Commonwealth featherweight champion in 1967 after defeating John O’Brien and became Lineal and WBC featherweight champion on 21 January 1969 after he defeated the Cuban José Legrá on points at the Albert Hall in London.

A controversial points decision meant he retained his WBC featherweight title when he went up against Japan’s Fighting Harada.

Six months later Famechon went head to head against Harada again in a rematch and won by knockout in the 14th round.

After losing to Mexico’s Vicente Saldivar in a points decision in 1970 while defending his WBC title, Famechon retired from the sport of boxing not long after.

Following his retirement, Famechon was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles in 1997. Tragically he suffered an acquired brain injury after he was struck by a car in Sydney in 1991.

Friends, colleagues, and members of the public joined Famechon’s family on Tuesday to reflect on his contribution to Australian sport and his remarkable legacy.

His wife Glenys and his children Danielle and Paul led the tributes to the late sporting icon. Glenys reflected on the “wonderful love story” she shared with her husband, while sharing a touching memory from their wedding day.

“I was swept off my feet by this wonderful man,” she told mourners.

“His ambition was to walk me down the aisle when we got married in 1997 and he did it.”

Famechon’s son, Paul, spoke of the “privilege” he felt “to be is son”.

While his daughter, Danielle, reflected on his father’s love of boxing.

“We want everyone to celebrate his wonderful life,” she said.

In lieu of flowers, Famechon’s family requested that tributes be made in the form of contributions to Ronald McDonald House and Beyond Blue. To donate, visit www.rmhc.org.au and www.beyondblue.org.au.

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