Most often he had a balloon of white silk and a French cap on his head. Some older Zagrepčani may think of this black-and-white bigger gentleman who carelessly walked in the streets of Zagreb, always smiling and good-willed.
During the hot summer days, it could be seen almost daily on the terrace of the Esplanade hotel or in the cult cafe Corso, among which others liked to love and Miroslav Krleža and Ranko Marinković drink black coffee and read the newspaper.
Although his first appearance was not his first appearance, American black Jimmy Lyggett was one of the most admired boxers and later boxing coaches in Europe and the world during the time between the two major World Wars, and his name was first in Croatia and then And reached the mythical status in the Independent State of Croatia .
19 years old
Just about his way of life that brought him from the poor in the black neighborhood of Philadelphia led to the world’s brightest capital, such as Berlin, Vienna and Paris, could be filmed several films.
Jimmy Lyggett was born in Philadelphia in 1897, and his family barely joined the end, so he could not even afford to send children to school. Rather, Jimmy and his brother were doing their physical jobs as well as thousands of their peers from the poor suburbs of the city. At the end of the 19th century, two boxing enthusiasts, both British immigrants in the United States, opened the first boxing school in Philadelphia, and it was the time when no gloves were used in this sport so competitors suffered severe injuries Which they later died.
At the beginning of the 20th century, boxing became especially popular among European and African immigrants in Philadelphia, whose number was strikingly increasing, just as the number of small halls where thousands of people in this activity practiced recreationally. Just in one of these teeming halls, Jimmy Lyggett started his way as a teenager. With seventeen, he put on the first boxing gloves, and because of his amazing talents, he has become a professional black race champion in the United States for nineteen years because of his daytime training.
– He was extremely persistent and diligent in training. When he first put his gloves and made the training, he said, “This is the life I want, this is my way.” I realized that with the physical, he possesses the equally important mental qualities needed in that sports branch – he was described by one of his first trainers. The door opened to Jimmy Lygget after he defeated Jack Blackburn, a renowned professional who later coached Black Bombardier Joe Louis in 1915, in the opinion of many of the best of all time, who held the title of the world champion in his category for an unbroken full twelve Years.
Several months after Jimmy beat Blackburn, he was given the opportunity to compete for the title of the world champion of the Black Boxing Federation. In the final, he finished his gloves with five young Eddie Palmer, and in the ninth round of the match he knocked Palmer directly. It was a victory after which it broke in – decided to go to Europe .
The reason was actually simple. Namely, at that time in the United States, because of race laws,white-black matches were banned, so Jimmy could never know if it was really the best. Outraged by racial discrimination, but also worried by the growing economic crisis in the United States, he packed all his belongings in a coffin and left for Europe, where there was no racial segregation in the box.
Ambitious as he was, he did not have to long for the Old Continent and became a very sought after and popular boxer. He performed in almost all European rings, from Paris to Bucharest, and he did not bypass Zagreb where he fought against the American Croat returnee Jure Modric. The fight ended undecided, which was a great success for the Croatian boxer. Lyggett’s popularity in Europe was so similar that we can compare it with the popularity of Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson. At the end of the boxing career Lyggett settled in Germany, and before that he lived in several European metropolises. His peak career was his two struggles against European and world champion Max Schmelling. In the first fight, Lyggett was disqualified in the second round, and the second fight ended undecided. After this fight, at the invitation of Schmelling’s manager,
On his European voyages, Lyggett met in Croatia with Rozu, who soon married, and in her early thirties at the time, she was moved to Zagreb . Tu Lyggett establishes a private boxing school, and to his first big hall comes to the father of one of his students who, seeing Lyggett’s extraordinary talent, remodeled a warehouse in Preradovićeva Street.
“If we want to describe Jimmy, then we must first emphasize that he was a man and then an excellent boxing skill demonstrator. Given that he had just spoken the Croatian language, and he mostly spoke with a sympathetic combination of English and German with the little word of the Croatian, his disciples, in order to compensate for the lack of verbal understanding, gutted his movements with countless times. Such demonstration methods emphasize his ability to transfer knowledge to young people. His attitude and attitude was always a champion, “said words in which one of his Lyggett texts described his pupil and boxer Milan Maglica .
Responsiveness to the youth was fantastic, everyone wanted to learn from Lygott, and he taught this knowledge without ever raising anyone’s tone. His great support was his wife, Rosa, who had spent most of the time with him in the hall, and when he did not train the students, he spent time with other boxers and trainers in city cafes, restaurants and inns.
Germans, Germans …
He was in the city as a man who raised the quality of the Croatian boxing box for three levels, which led him to offer him a place for the state-of-the-art racing team after the founding of the NDH State Sports Commissioner Miško Zebić. Lyggett accepted, and it should be pointed out that the team was preparing for the Olympic Games, which for the sake of war have never been held, but the results of his work were visible in Europe because our chasers were victorious by the chops from Italy, Germany, Slovakia, Romania …
Lygget was obvious, but he was deeply afraid of the war and the bombing, which is why, according to Milan Maglica, “his black skin was clearly visible at these critical moments.” Although he never publicly stated that he was not a communist, at the end of the war in 1945, he decided to return to America for his brother’s call. He was on his way to his wife, and they came from Geneva to Geneva with a plane from the UNRA humanitarian organization, where they needed to go to the United States. The moons were waiting for boarding the ship, and in that period Rose died, and Lyggett was taken to Genoa and burial. Without the desire to deal more with boxing or any kind of public life, according to the writing of the American magazine Ring, he died in 1955 where he started his life adventure.
Source: Sloboda.hr/ Vecernji.hr