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Jimmy Lyggett an American boxer and trainer of Croatian boxing national team from 1939 to 1945
Trainer of boxing clubs Croatia, Herkules, Makabi and Radnik in Zagreb
Jimmy Lyggett as a trainer of Croatian boxers in the city of Zagreb. Source of the photo.
Jimmy Lyggett on the right and Mijo Drvarić in the middle, heavy-weight champion of Croatia and ex Yu (in 1940).
Jimmy Lyggett (1897-1955), American boxer in Croatia
Jimmy Lyggett (1897-1955) was an American boxer and trainer of Croatian boxing clubs in Zagreb, as well as of Croatian boxing national team from 1939 to 1945. At the age of 20, he won the United States Championship for professional Black boxers, while the next year he won the Colored Championship of the World (light heavyweight). While he lived in Vienna, Austria, he met a woman of Croat descent, Roza, whom he married. The couple moved to Zagreb, Croatia in the early 1930s. There, he opened his boxing school in Ilica street. At the age of 33, he ended his career as boxer. He trained many young boxers in several boxing clubs in Zagreb, starting with boxing club Croatia, and later with clubs Herkules, Makabi (Jewish club in Zagreb) and Radnik. After a while, he became a friend with a neighboring tavern owner. He gave him his warehouse in Preradovićeva as a training hall.
Jimmy Lyggett was very popular boxing trainer in Zagreb during his stay in Croatia's capital from the early 1930 till 1945. He was speaking using a funny mixture of English, German and Croatian.
When the Independent State of Croatia was formed, its Minister of Sports, Miško Zebić talked Lyggett into training the Croatian national boxing team. He prepared the Croatian team for the cancelled 1940 Olympics. Despite his race, Lyggett was not interfered with by the Axis allied government of Croatia.
Lyggett was an anti-Communist. Before the end of the war, his brother invited him to return to the US. Finally he accepted the invitation and convinced his wife to move to the US. In 1945, they set off for the US via Italy. They waited for months the ship that would take them to United States. His wife got ill and died in Milan. Broken, Lyggett returned to America alone. His death place and death date are unclear. Some sources say that he died in US in 1955. In Croatia, among his friends he had a nickname "glista" (worm).
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