johnsonstatue1

Statue is located in City Center Park, on Atlantic Avenue between North Carolina and South Carolina Avenues

Text on statue:
Leavander W. Johnson

1969 - 2005

34 Wins - 5 Losses - 2 Draws - 26 KO'S

An Atlantic City native who became the IBF and IBO Lightweight World Champion

Additional information:
Born in Atlantic City and coached by his father, Leavander Johnson honed his boxing skills early, practicing at the Police Athletic League's boxing gym. His professional career began in 1989, and featured 12 straight bouts in Atlantic City casinos before launching an international career. Johnson quickly worked his way up to the coveted title of the International Boxing Federation's Lightweight Champion, but, tragically, he sustained brain injuries while attempting to defend this title and died in 2005 after a Las Vegas match. Following his death, a number of local tributes took place to honor Atlantic City's own boxing star. The statue in City Center Park was sculpted by Brian Hanlon and dedicated in 2010. The street outside of the PAL gym used by Leavander has been renamed in his honor, and the gym itself is adorned with a banner celebrating his achievements. Leavander Johnson was also inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005. Perhaps the best tribute of all, however, is Leavander's father Bill Johnson's decision to continue his career as a boxing coach. In an Atlantic City Press interview, Bill Johnson said, "When Leavander died, I stayed away for a while and thought about giving it up. But I thought it would be an injustice to Leavander if I didn't keep helping guys and training fighters. Leavander kept fighting right to the end and I know he would want me to do the same thing."

For more information, see articles from:
Atlantic City Press, July 9, 2010, September 22, 2006 and November 10, 2005
Casino Connection, September 2010