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Henry Armstrong

Armstrong, Henry, 1912–88, American boxer, b. Columbus, Miss. He was originally named Henry Jackson. He began his professional career in 1931, and soon became known as a strong and tireless puncher. Armstrong won the featherweight championship from Petey Sarron in 1936, the welterweight title from Barney Ross in 1938, and in his next fight (10 weeks later) he defeated Lou Ambers to win the lightweight crown. He thus held three titles simultaneously; this prompted the National Boxing Association to rule that a champion must vacate a title if he wins another. In his career (1931–45), Armstrong won 144 matches, scored 97 knockouts, and lost 19 fights. After his retirement he was ordained a minister and devoted himself to helping underprivileged youth; Youthtown at Desert Wells, Ariz., was built through his efforts.

See his autobiography (1956).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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