Sonny Liston - His Life, Strife and the Phantom Punch

Robert Steen

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored


The career of Charles "Sonny" Liston has attracted more debate and hostility than that of any other master of the squared circle. Even now, there remain more questions than answers: How much was he controlled and manipulated by underworld figures? Did he take a dive in the momentous bout with Cassius Clay? When was he born and how and why did he die? What is certain is Sony's standing as one of the most formidable punchers ever to enter the ring. Despite all the efforts of the boxing fraternity, he was finally allowed to fight for the world title nine years after turning professional. Grasping his chance with indecent haste, he deposed Floyd Patterson with a first-round knockout, then repeated the dose a year later. He was not seen as a suitable role model by the civil rights movement because of his criminal past and dubious associates, and was reluctant to participate in the pursuit of racial equality. Meanwhile, he was constantly pursued and badgered by the police, compelling him to move from state to state in search of refuge. A larger than life character with a life of ups and downs, ending in tragedy, this is a mesmerizing portrait of one of the most formidable boxers of all time.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherJR Books
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)9781906217815
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008


  • Boxing
  • Sonny Liston
  • Muhammad Ali
  • corruption
  • Mafia
  • civil rights


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