Born Noah Brusso, Burns is the only Canadian-born boxer to hold the world heavyweight championship, which he defended eleven times within two years from 1906 to 1908. One of thirteen children, he left his home territory of Ontario, Canada, to begin his prizefighting career at Detroit, Michigan, in the USA. Extraordinarily short (5 feet 7 inches) for a heavyweight, Burns was the first champion to accept a challenge from a black boxer, losing his title to Jack Johnson of the USA in a bout in Sydney, Australia. After his boxing career he ran a speakeasy in New York but lost much of his fortune in the Great Crash of 1929, and went on to become ordained and to work as an evangelical preacher in Canada, though he was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave.
Subjects: Sport and Leisure.