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From Champion Boxer To Gospel Music: East St. Louis Native Arthur Johnson Has Varied Career

(Courtesy: Arthur Johnson)

East St. Louis native Arthur Anthony Johnson’s varied career has taken him from world champion boxer to contemporary gospel music artist.

Johnson’s remarkable story as an amateur boxer who competed for the United States in the 1988 Olympics and retired in his early twenties before mounting an incredible comeback as a professional boxer who would win three world titles is detailed in a documentary called “Greatest Comeback.”  His story is also presented in a new album of the same name.

Cityscape guest host Jim Althoff spoke with Johnson about his boxing and music career.

Growing up in East St. Louis, “there were quite a few things we could do,” Johnson said.  “Trouble was the easiest thing we could find and we did a lot of that.”

During his youth, two former boxers began a boxing club in the area to which Arthur Johnson became a part.

Johnson, who co-founded the Arthur Johnson Foundation along with his wife Latanya Johnson in 2001, are now working on raising funds for a boxing club which he hopes will benefit the community. 

The organization is holding a fundraiser at the Four Points by Sheraton in Fairview Heights, Illinois on August 30.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years. From 1988-2014 she also taught an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. Mary was inducted into the St. Louis Media History Foundation Media Hall of Fame in April, 2017 and received the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Award in 2012. Mary retired from St. Louis Public Radio in 2018, but still serves the station as a St. Louis Symphony Producer.

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