A Swedish boxer who fought the black US fighter Floyd Patterson three times for the world heavyweight championship in 1959–61. He won the title in the first of these bouts, at the Yankee Stadium in New York, becoming one of the few non-US champions, but lost the two consequent contests. Retiring in 1963, he operated successful businesses and acted as a boxing analyst for television. Johansson's significance lay in his white European identity in the emergent age of live television coverage of sport, offering as it did a focus and a narrative for the media in which Europe could be seen to be challenging the USA, in the context too of a symbolic confrontation of black and white cultures in the ring.
Subjects: Sport and Leisure.