Sonny Liston

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Liston, Sonny

(Charles Liston), 1932–71, American boxer, b. Little Rock, Ark. While serving a sentence for robbery at the Missouri State Penitentiary, Liston became interested in boxing. In 1953 he began his professional fighting career. A hard-hitting heavyweight, he became (Sept., 1962) the world's heavyweight champion after a crushing first-round knockout of Floyd PattersonPatterson, Floyd,
1935–2006, American boxer, b. Waco, N.C. He was brought up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was sent to the Wiltwyck School at Esopus, N.Y., an institution for emotionally disturbed boys, where he first began to box.
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. He defended his championship in 1963, knocking out Patterson once again, before losing his title to Muhammad AliAli, Muhammad
, 1942–2016, American boxer, b. Louisville, Ky. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, he was a 1960 Olympic gold medalist. Shortly after upsetting Sonny Liston in 1964 to become world heavyweight champion, he formalized his association with the Nation of Islam (see
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 in 1964. After losing his return match with Ali in 1965, Liston began a comeback in 1966. His lifetime record was 50 victories (39 knockouts) and 4 losses.

Bibliography

See biography by N. Tosches (2000).