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Sunday, 21 July 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL HEAVY WEIGHT BOXER ZORA FOLLEY - A VERY SKILLED WITH EXCELLENT DEFENCE AND ALSO A A GOOD PUNCHER : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS"
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY Zora Folley May 27, 1932 – July 9, 1972 was an American heavyweight boxer. He was well skilled with a good defence and also a punch to go with it.
Born in Dallas, Texas, he moved with his family to Chandler, Arizona in 1942, where he grew up playing baseball. Upon joining the U.S. Army in 1948, he entered the boxing ring, and won the 6th Army championship within a year, eventually earning the All-Army and All-Service titles. He fought in the Korean War, earning five battle stars, and was discharged in 1953.
He then signed a professional boxing contract, winning his first pro fight against Jimmy Ingram, then after a draw, won seventeen straight victories until losing to Johnny Summerlin in 6 rounds with a suspected broken jaw after being decked three times. Despite being considered a top contender, Folley never faced heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. This was partly due to his highly controversial points loss to Henry Cooper in England, in September 1958 (which was later avenged in December 1961 by a two round knockout.).
Folley beat such contenders as Eddie Machen, George Chuvalo, Bob Cleroux (twice), Oscar Bonavena but Oscar got the rematch 3 years later, and Doug Jones. He also had draws with Karl Mildenberger and Eddie Machen (their first fight). Between 1960 and 1962 Folley was knocked out by Sonny Liston, Alejandro Lavorante, and Doug Jones (in the rematch).
It wasn't until March 22, 1967, aged 34, that he faced the world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Folley was knocked out in the 7th round being somewhat past his best. Folley fought for three more years afterward before being knocked out by Mac Foster in 1970.
Folley served as a member of the Chandler City Council, and raising a family of nine children with his wife Joella. Before their fight, Ali joked that Folley was such a nice man that it posed a real problem because he couldn't possibly get mad at him.
In mysterious circumstances, Folley suffered severe head injuries in a motel swimming pool while visiting a friend in Tucson, Arizona on July 8, 1972, and died at a Tucson hospital within hours. The death was officially ruled to be accidental, but conspiracy theories regarding his death persist.
The city of Chandler dedicated Zora Folley Memorial Park in his honor.