Five years ago, Gary Luscombe was told that he was dreaming. He recalls countless people letting him know that the Johnny Famechon Statue Project he was supporting wouldn’t be able to raise the $128,000 needed to help the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame complete the bronze statue of ‘Fammo’.
But after the 2.1m sculpture of the former world champion boxer was unveiled at Ballam Park on January 21, Gary had the last word: “We did it. The dream came true.”
It was an impressive turnout for the unveiling, with an estimated 1000 people coming to pay tribute to Fammo on the 49th anniversary of his World Featherweight Championship triumph. Commissioned by Rob McCarthy and the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame and supported by Frankston City Council, the statue is the work of Sydney-based sculptor Stephen Glassborow.
“Everyone was very excited to see the result of five years of fundraising,” said Gary. “It all came together for the final unveiling. Fans from overseas and Australia came together for the occasion. The list is too long, but I’d like to thank everyone again.”
Frankston Mayor Colin Hampton paid tribute to the sporting legend. “John’s triumphant story has captivated sporting enthusiasts not only here in Frankston City, where he has lived for over 40 years, but across the country and beyond.”
With an impressive 56 wins from 67 bouts, Fammo is also an inductee of the Australian Hall of Fame, Frankston City Hall of Fame, and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, in 1991 he was hit by a car while jogging in Sydney. This resulted in a seven-year recovery period with the help of his wife, Glenys, and clinical counsellor Ragnar Purjie. It was fitting that Ragnar, the man who brought Fammo back to life, unveiled the statue.
“It gave us a great sense of accomplishment,” Gary said of Fammo’s career in the ring. “He inspired so many for over 50 years and now he will go on inspiring everyone for an eternity through this everlasting sculpture.”