When Johnny Famechon’s statue is unveiled in Frankston this month, Gary Luscombe hopes the crowd will be every bit as enthusiastic as the 200,000 people who lined Swanston St in 1969 to welcome home the newly crowned WBC world featherweight champion.
“Johnny is a Frankston and Australian sporting legend,” says Gary, a supporter of the Johnny Famechon Statue Project, which helped the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame raise $128,000 for the 2.1m bronze statue of ‘Fammo’.
The statue will be unveiled in Ballam Park at 11am on Sunday, January 21 – the anniversary of Johnny’s 1969 title fight in London when he beat Cuba’s Jose Legra to earn his place in sporting history – and Gary hopes everyone will get along to honour the former King of Moomba and inductee into the Australia Sport Hall of Fame, World Boxing Hall of Fame, Frankston Hall of Fame and Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame.
Jean-Pierre Famechon was born in Paris in 1945 and grew up in Melbourne. He won 56 of his 67 featherweight bouts and drew six. “I don’t like draws. You want to win,” he told our sister publication, Frankly Frankston, in August 2016.
“I knew boxing was for me when I punched the bag for the first time at 16. The first fight is the biggest. There are no more nerves after that. You’ve got to knock them out before they get you.”
In 1991 Fammo was hit by a car while jogging in Sydney. It took him seven years to recover with the help of his wife, Glenys, and clinical counsellor Ragnar Purjie. He’s also written two autobiographies - Fammo and The Method.