Panama Al Brown vs Johnny King World bantamweight championship official on-site 18 page programme, 3rd July 1933, King's Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester.
Brown W points over 15 rounds
Brown was challenged by Manchester’s Johnny King, the reigning British bantamweight champion, who put up a valiant effort but lost on points over 15 rounds.
*Reported as Brown's 10th title defence.
*King was knocked down several times, including an eight-count in the second round.
Young Perez vs Jackie Brown
Bobby Leitham vs Dick Corbett
Clemente Meroni vs Archie Sexton
Domenico Bernasconi vs Dick Burke
Condition very good/excellent (rusty staples causing minor page marks)
Panama Al Brown vs Johnny King
Alfonso Teofilo Brown (July 5, 1902 – April 11, 1951), better known as Panama Al Brown, was a Panamanian. He made history by becoming boxing's first Hispanic World champion, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest bantamweight boxers in history.
Brown won the NYSAC bantamweight title in 1929 after defeating Gregorio Vidal. In 1930 he won both the NBA and IBU bantamweight titles, after defeating Johnny Erickson and Eugène Huat. After relocating to Paris, France, Brown became known for his flamboyant lifestyle and interest in the arts, performing as a cabaret man. He faced racial barriers throughout his career, and had been stripped of the NYSAC and NBA titles by 1934. He held the IBU title until 1935, when he lost it to Baltasar Sangchili.
In 1938, Brown fought for the IBU bantamweight title again in a rematch with Sangchili, winning on points. He continued to box until 1942, but failed to achieve the same level of success he had previously enjoyed. In 2002, Brown was named one of the 80 best fighters of the past 80 years by The Ring magazine. He currently ranks #5 in BoxRec's ranking of the greatest bantamweight boxers in history. He has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Alfonso Teofilo Brown was born on July 5, 1902, in the City of Colón, Panama. His father, Horace Brown, died when Brown was 13, and his mother, Esther Lashley, worked as a cleaner. His first exposure to boxing came while working as a young adult clerk for the United States Shipping Board, at the Panama Canal Zone, witnessing American soldiers boxing.
Brown turned professional in 1922 under the guidance of manager Dave Lumiansky. His first fight took place on March 19, 1922, when he beat Jose Moreno by a decision in six at Colon. By his seventh fight, December 13 of that same year, he beat Sailor Patchett by a fifteen round decision, to earn the Panamanian 'Isthmus' flyweight title.
On September 22, 1923, he had his first fight abroad, drawing in four rounds with Johnny Breslin, in New York. He very quickly established a presence upon relocating to the city in 1923. His rise was rapid; a year after his move to New York, The Ring magazine rated him the third best flyweight in the World; two years later, the sixth best bantamweight.
Brown began campaigning extensively across the United States before he suffered his first loss, at the hands of Jimmy Russo on December 6, 1924, by decision in twelve. He would later avenge that defeat, and he beat Davey Abad and Willie LaMorte before being disqualified in the first round against Frankie Murray on July 11, 1926. Despite that setback, he kept on campaigning successfully and, on November 10 of that year, he knocked out Antoine Merlo in his Paris debut.
He enjoyed Paris so much that he decided to stay there for the rest of his life. He became a hugely popular boxer in France, and fought on the European continent 40 times between 1929 and 1934. Over the next three years, he beat several fighters there, including former World champion Eugene Criqui.
An interesting case happened when he fought Gustav Humery, on January 29, 1929. Brown and Humery had previously agreed that they would not salute by touching gloves before the fight, and when the bell rang, Brown struck quickly, breaking Humery's jaw with his first punch and sending him to the floor. With the referee's count of ten seconds, the fight lasted a total of fifteen seconds, one of the quickest knockouts in boxing history.
World Bantamweight Champion
On June 18, 1929, Brown made history by becoming the World's first Hispanic World champion. He beat Gregorio Vidal by a fifteen round decision to win the vacant NYSAC bantamweight title, at the Queensboro Stadium, Long Island. He became a national idol in Panama, and an instant celebrity almost everywhere else in Latin America. Magazines such as Ring En Español were still talking about his achievement sixty years later. Soon after he lost a ten round, non-title fight to Battling Battalino. On February 8, 1930, Brown beat Johnny Erickson by disqualification to claim the NBA bantamweight title. On October 4, 1930, he beat Eugène Huat by unanimous decision to claim the IBU bantamweight title.
On July 30, 1933, Brown defended his IBU title against British bantamweight champion Johnny King, at Kings Hall, Manchester. Brown knocked King down several times during the early rounds, though King fought on. During the seventh round King caught Brown with a right, almost knocking him out, but Brown managed to hold on for a points decision.
On February 19, 1934, Brown defended his IBU title against Young Perez at the Palais des Sports, Paris, in what would be the first of three encounters between the two boxers. Brown had a significant height and reach advantage, and proved to much for the Tunisian, who lost on points. Shortly after the NBA stripped Brown of his title for failing to defend it against their leading contender Rodolfo Casanova.
Brown retained his title nine times and had countless other fights before a rematch with Hummey that ended in disaster: on May 17, 1934, Brown was disqualified in round six at Paris for using illegal tactics. A riot started and Brown suffered several broken bones and was sent into semi-unconsciousness by fans before the police could help him. Twenty minutes later, the locale where the rematch was held had almost been entirely destroyed.
For his next title defence, on November 1 of the same year, he travelled to Tunis, Tunisia, for his second encounter with Young Perez. Perez was counted out in round ten while on the floor, claiming that Brown had hit him with an illegal blow.
On June 1, 1935, Brown lost the title to Baltasar Sangchili by a fifteen round decision, at the Plaza de Toros, in Valencia, Spain. After the loss he chose to retire from boxing, instead performing in a cabaret. Suffering from the prolonged effects of drug use, he was persuaided by Jean Cocteau to detox, and begin training for a comeback to boxing. He had a rematch with Sangchili on March 4, 1938, avenging his earlier loss with a fifteen round decision to win the vacant IBU bantamweight title, but by this time the International Boxing Union was no longer recognized in the United States. His rematch win over Sangchili is believed to be his last great night, and, bowing to Cocteau's wishes, Brown vowed to retire after one more fight. That came in 1939 against Valentine Angelmann in Paris, Brown stopped him in eight rounds.
With the advent of the Second World War, Brown moved to the United States, settled in Harlem and tried to find work of the cabaret sort he performed in Paris when not fighting. There was none and before long he was fighting again, but not well.
Brown went on fighting until 1942, challenging unsuccessfully for the Panamanian Featherweight title on September 30, 1942, when he drew with Leocadio Torres, but retiring as a winner, defeating Kid Fortune by a decision in ten rounds on December 4 of the same year.
Not long after, he was arrested for using cocaine and deported for a year. He went back to New York afterwards and, in his late 40's, took a lot of beatings while serving as a sparring partner for up and comers at a gym in Harlem, making a dollar a round.
Brown died penniless of tuberculosis in New York City in 1951. He had fainted on 42nd Street. The police thought he was drunk and took him to the station. Eventually he was transferred to Sea View Hospital. He died there on April 11, unaware that not long before, one of the newspapers in Paris had begun talks about organizing a fund drive to pay for his trip home.
After his death, writer Eduardo Arroyo wrote a biography of Panama Al, titled Panama Al Brown, 1902-1951.
Panama Al Brown's final record is believed to have been 123 wins, 18 defeats and 10 draws, with 55 knockouts, placing him in the exclusive list of boxers who have won 50 or more wins by knockout. He was the recognised bantamweight World champion for six years and over that time made 11 title defences against the best bantamweights and featherweights of his era.
Brown quickly fell in love with Paris, and as a result spent much of his life there. He was noted for dressing elegantly, and enjoyed the night life of the city, frequenting bars and jazz clubs. He owned a number of cars including a 1929 Packard 645 Sport, and several Bugatti's. He joined Josephine Baker's La Revue Nègre as a tap dancer. His lover Jean Cocteau helped him. He made his cabaret debut as a song and dance man at the Caprice Viennoise.
During the early 1930's Brown contracted Syphilis, and suffered from sores on his back. He recovered well enough to continue his boxing career, though without antibiotics it remains unknown as to what extent he overcame the infection.
Johnny King (8 January 1912 — 6 March 1963) was an Englishman who competed from 1926 to 1947. Predominantly a bantamweight, he was a two-time British bantamweight champion and a one-time British Empire (Commonwealth) bantamweight champion. His professional fighting weight varied from 84 lb (38 kg; 6 st 0 lb), flyweight, to 130 lb (59 kg; 9 st 4 lb), featherweight.
King made his professional debut on 25 April 1926, when he beat Jim Costello. On 10 August 1931 he beat Pat Boy Gorman for the vacant BBBofC Northern Area bantamweight title.
On 21 December 1931 he fought Dick Corbett for the BBBofC British Empire bantamweight title, and the vacant BBBofC British bantamweight title, at Kings Hall, Manchester. King lost the bout but would meet Corbett again on 10 October 1932, this time beating him and winning both titles. He became a popular fighter and crowd-puller, producing a twenty-one match undefeated run, losing his twenty second to Italian Domenico Bernasconi. On 12 June 1933 he successfully defended the British Empire bantamweight title against Canadian bantamweight champion Bobby Leitham, beating him on points.
On 3 July 1933 King fought Panama Al Brown in a losing effort for the World bantamweight title. King almost knocked Brown out in the seventh round, but Brown managed to hold on for a points decision. Years later Brown would comment on the power of the punch the Manchester man displayed. On 12 February 1934 King met Dick Corbett for the third time, losing both his British and British Empire titles on points.
On 27 May 1935 King won his second British bantamweight title after defeating Len Hampston on points. He would hold the British title for the next twelve years, though would only defend it twice, largely due to the outbreak of the Second World War. On 6 May 1936 King fought Nel Tarleton for the BBBofC British featherweight title, losing on points. His first defence of the British bantamweight title was against Jackie Brown, in front of a 20,000 strong crowd at Kings Hall, Manchester on 31 May 1937. King knocked Brown out in the thirteenth round. His second defence was against Len Hampston at Headingley Rugby Ground, Leeds on 22 June 1938. Hampston was disqualified in the third round.
King continued to fight during and after the war but struggled to find any form. On 10 February 1947 he lost the British title to Jackie Paterson, after being knocked out in the seventh round. Having lost his last five bouts, King retired shortly after.
Second World War
During the Second World War King fought in the Royal Navy. He was aboard the King George V-class battleship HMS Prince of Wales when she was sunk by a Japanese air attack of Kuantan, in the South China Sea.