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Johnny Famechon, former featherweight boxing champion, dies at 77

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Former boxing world champion Johnny Famechon has died in Melbourne after a lengthy illness. He was 77.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame announced Famechon's death in a statement on Thursday. Famechon was struck by a car while jogging in 1991 in Sydney, which caused him to suffer a stroke and resulted in an acquired brain injury.

The Australian boxer's most memorable world title victory was his decision win against Cuban Jose Legra for the WBC title at London's Albert Hall in 1969. Famechon boxed professionally for more than 20 years and had a record of 56 wins (20 by knockout), five losses and six draws.

Famechon defended his featherweight world title against Japan's Masahiko Harada, better known as Fighting Harada, six months after beating Legra and won in a controversial decision. In the rematch for the world title, Famechon knocked out Harada in the 14th round in Tokyo.

Famechon attempted to defend his WBC title in May 1970 in Rome against Mexican Vicente Saldivar but lost the fight. He retired from boxing soon after at age 24.

Born Jean-Pierre Famechon in 1945, he moved to Australia from France with his family when he was five.

"Johnny Famechon was one of the most popular Australian boxers of all time," Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand said. "Johnny was our humble, skillful world champion, showing the essence of how we see our heroes. He was described as poetry in motion, a master craftsman."