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James "Jimmy" Ellis (b. 1940) gained the heavyweight title by defeating the top heavyweight contender, Jerry Quarry on April 27, 1968. Mr. Ellis reigned as World Heavyweight Champion from 1968-1970 before surrendering the title to the legendary Joe Frazier. He has been inducted into several boxing hall of fame museums, including the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Jimmy Ellis’ gift for boxing was evident from an early age when he rose through the ranks of the Golden Gloves Tournaments and won the 160-pound division in 1961. Jimmy Ellis trained alongside his childhood friend, Muhammad Ali. They boxed in the North American Boxing Federation Championship. Mr. Ellis is known as one of the lightest heavyweight champions ever. During his celebrated career, Jimmy Ellis also fought such boxing greats as Floyd Patterson, George Chuvalo, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Tommy Sims, and Oscar Bonavena. Jimmy Ellis’s boxing career ended at the age of 35 when he was accidentally injured. Mr. Ellis is currenty a manager and trainer in the local and national boxing scene. He has continually been a mainstay in the Louisville community by working with youth groups, senior citizens, and young aspiring boxers.
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