Did You Know? Boxing champ Ken Norton was from IllinoisKen Howard Norton Sr. was born on August 9, 1943 in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Norton was a heavyweight boxer during a classic era in American boxing. His athletic career began in high school, where he participated in track, baseball, and football. He went on to play football for Truman State University in Missouri, but his collegiate career was cut short by injuries. He left Truman State and began his boxing career while serving in the U.S. Marine Core in 1963.

After his four year tour, he left the Marines and became a pro boxer in 1967. He won his first 16 fights. His most notable fight came in 1973 against former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Looking for a way to win back the title, Ali figured that he could beat Norton to earn a fight against the new champion, Joe Frazier. However, Norton defeated Ali in 12 rounds and ended up breaking Ali’s jaw in the process. This would not be the last time that the two would meet in the ring. They fought again in 1973 and in 1976, and Ali went on to win both matches by decision.   

Norton won the WBC heavyweight title in 1978 after the current champion, Leon Spinks, refused to fight Norton and elected to fight Muhammad Ali instead. Norton finished his career in 1981 with a record of 42-7-1. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in New York in 1992. Ken Norton Sr. passed away in Nevada in September of 2013 at the age of 70. Norton had four children, and his son Ken Norton Jr. played in the NFL for 13 seasons.
Learn more:
Ken Norton Sr. Bio
The boxing record of Ken Norton Sr.