Boxing champion’s statue to hit park

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Standing tall: Sculptor Stephen Glassborow with a statue of boxing champ Johnny Famechon set to be installed at Ballam Park early next year to honour Frankston resident Fammo. Picture: Supplied

A STATUE of boxing champ Johnny Famechon will be unveiled early next year in Ballam Park to honour the Frankston resident’s sporting achievements including the world WBC featureweight championship in 1969-70.

Frankston councillors last week voted to contribute $45,000 of ratepayers’ money to install a 2.1-metre high bronze statue of “Fammo” in his youthful pomp at Ballam Park.

A group of boxing fans, including Gary Luscombe, have raised nearly $180,000 themselves over seven years for sculptor Stephen Glassborow to construct the statue.

Mr Luscombe, who lives in the Victorian town of Cockatoo, said the fundraising at sportsman nights and selling raffle tickets at boxing events has “been a hard slog” but he is looking forward to Famechon, a Frankston resident for about 45 years, attending the statue unveiling ceremony on 21 January next year.

The date of 21 January is the day Famechon won his world title bout to first claim the world WBC featureweight championship against Cuban Jose Legra on points in 1969.

He defended his title on points against Fighting Harada of Japan before knocking Fighting Harada out in the fourteenth round in a rematch.

Fammo retired soon after losing to Mexican Vicente Saldivar in a close points decision in May 1970 in Rome.

“He was more than a boxing champion, he got inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame,” Mr Luscombe said.

He said he is hoping a couple of thousand people turn up at Ballam Park on Sunday 21 January at 11am for the Johnny Famechon statue unveiling with Fammo the guest of honour.

World boxing champs including Azumah Nelson, Jeff Fenech and Jeff Horn have been invited to attend and Fighting Harada may also come to Frankston for the statue unveiling.

See johnnyfamechonstatue.com online for more details.

First published in the Frankston Times – 27 November 2017

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