Sonny Banks

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Lucien "Sonny" Banks (June 29, 1940 – May 13, 1965)[1] was a mid-20th Century American boxer who is primarily historically remembered for being the first competitor to knock down Cassius Clay (later "Muhammad Ali") in a professional match. In the early 1960's Banks was regarded in the sport as rising prospect known for a lightning fast left hook, but his career was cut short when he died from injuries sustained in the ring in 1965.

Early life[edit]

Banks was from Lee County in North-East Mississippi, he was born in the farming community at Birmingham Ridge, about halfway between Tupelo and Saltillo.[2]

Boxing career[edit]

He fought Clay on 2 October 1962 in Detroit, and knocked him down for a count, although he went on to lose the match.

Death[edit]

Banks died on 13 May 1965 at the age of 24 from a head injury sustained three days earlier in a 9-round bout against Leotis Martin, his body was buried at Westlawn Cemetery in Wayne, Michigan.[3]

Professional boxing record[edit]

18 Wins (14 knockouts, 4 decisions), 7 Losses (5 knockouts, 2 decisions)[4]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 18–7 United States Leotis Martin KO 9 1965-05-10 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Banks died three days later from injuries sustained during the fight.
Loss 18–6 United States Cleveland Williams KO 6 1964-07-21 United States Houston, Texas
Win 18–5 United States Don Warner KO 1 1964-05-18 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 17–5 United States Lee Batts KO 2 1964-03-16 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Batts knocked out at 1:08 of the second round.
Loss 16–5 United States Lee Batts SD 10 1963-11-29 United States Battle Creek, Michigan
Win 16–4 United States David E. Bailey SD 10 1963-10-18 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Win 15–4 United States Jim Jones UD 8 1963-07-06 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City
Win 14–4 United States Freddie Mack SD 10 1963-06-05 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan
Win 13–4 United States Leroy Roker TKO 6 1963-03-15 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan Referee stopped the bout at 0:40 of the sixth round.
Win 12–4 United States Lou Bailey KO 1 1963-02-09 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan
Win 11–4 United States Gene Jackson KO 3 1962-07-28 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan Jackson knocked out at 2:02 of the third round.
Loss 10–4 United States Young Jack Johnson KO 5 1962-05-26 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan
Loss 10–3 United States Cassius Clay TKO 4 1962-02-10 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan Referee stopped the bout at 0:26 of the fourth round.
Win 10–2 United States Clay Thomas KO 2 1962-01-27 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan
Win 9–2 United States Tunney Hunsaker KO 2 1961-10-16 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 8–2 United States Willie Coleman TKO 5 1961-08-07 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan Michigan Heavyweight Title.
Win 7–2 United States Joe Shelton KO 2 1961-06-06 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan
Win 6–2 United States Herman Wilson KO 1 1961-04-25 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan
Loss 5–2 United States Chuck Garrett PTS 5 1961-02-06 United States Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois
Loss 5–1 United States Joe Shelton KO 3 1960-10-11 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan
Win 5–0 United States Rufus Handsome KO 1 1960-09-23 United States Detroit Olympia, Detroit, Michigan
Win 4–0 United States Chico Gardner KO 4 1960-08-31 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Win 3–0 United States Ted Davis KO 1 1960-08-18 United States Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan
Win 2–0 United States Lloyd Washington KO 1 1960-07-12 Canada Peace Bridge Arena, Fort Erie, Ontario
Win 1–0 United States Ernie Berthet, Jr. PTS 4 1960-05-19 United States Detroit, Michigan

References[edit]