A CHAMPION was recognised by thousands of well-wishers at the unveiling of boxer Johnny Famechon in Ballam Park on Sunday (21 January).
The 2.5-high metre bronze sculpture was unveiled in an emotional unveiling ceremony to honour one of Frankston’s favourite adopted sons.
The sculpture was commissioned by Rob McCarthy and the Australian Boxing Hall of Fame and was paid for by a tenacious fundraising effort by a passionate group of boxing fans keen to see Famechon immortalised in Frankston.
The group of boxing aficionados, including Gary Luscombe, have raised nearly $180,000 themselves over seven years for sculptor Stephen Glassborow to build the sculpture showing Famechon in his boxing heyday.
“It was two years of planning and five years of fundraising,” Mr Luscombe said.
“It’s all been worthwhile and we’ve got a boxing statue built by the boxing community and the people of Frankston who all contributed.
“People said we were dreaming but the dream’s come true and it’s all come together fantastic.”
He praised Frankston Council for its help in installing the sculpture at Ballam Park.
“The surrounding design the council came up with is great.”
Famechon is a former world champion boxer with 56 wins under his belt, contesting a total of 57 bouts during his career, an inductee of the Australian Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
As a resident of Frankston for over 40 years, he has inspired and mentored young people since retiring from his boxing career in 1970 and is also an inductee of the Frankston City Hall of Fame.
“John’s triumphant story has captivated sporting enthusiasts not only here in Frankston, where he has lived for over 40 years, but across the country and beyond,” Frankston mayor Cr Colin Hampton.
“I’d like to acknowledge and thank the hard work of those involved in bringing this project in recognition of John to life. We are delighted to have his success story enshrined within the popular Ballam Park playground for future generations.”
Famechon and wife Glenys were guests of honour at the sculpture unveiling on 21 January, the anniversary of the champ winning the World Featherweight Championship in 1969.