Rediscovering the first African-American boxing giant

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Recently a Washington Post sportswriter chronicled the rein of the first African-American boxing champ, Joe Gans. William Gildea wrote The Longest Fight: In the Ring With Joe Gans, Boxing’s First African-American Champion a story about one of Gans’ greatest fights.  NPR reports:

Just a couple of years before boxer Jack Johnson was lauded, reviled, and hounded as the world heavyweight champ — and decades before Muhammad Ali lost his title when he took a stand on Vietnam — a man named Joe Gans was the lightweight champion of the world. He reigned from 1902 to 1908 as the first African-American boxing champ in history, and a man who broke trails for the great fighters who followed.

William Gildea, a longtime sportswriter for the Washington Post, uncovers some of the Gans story in a new book, called The Longest Fight: In the Ring With Joe Gans, Boxing’s First African-American Champion.

Gildea builds the book around that fight: a hot, brutal bout in September 1906 when Gans defended his title against a white boxer named Oscar “Battling” Nelson. They fought a jaw-dropping 42 rounds in the scorching, unshaded heat of Nevada mining town called Goldfield.

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