Funeral for deceased boxer Johnson on Saturday

Updated: September 27, 2005, 6:16 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Funeral services for former lightweight titleholder Leavander Johnson will be Saturday in his hometown of Atlantic City, N.J., promoter Lou DiBella said Tuesday.

Johnson died last Thursday as the result of brain injuries suffered in his first title defense on Sept. 17 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

There will be a viewing from 9-11 a.m. Saturday followed by a funeral service at Shiloh Baptist Church in Atlantic City. Internment at Mt. Calvary Cemetary will follow at approximately 2 p.m.

Johnson, who was stopped by Jesus Chavez in the 11th round of the onesided fight, collapsed a few minutes afterward. He was rushed to the hospital and underwent two surgeries to relieve swelling of his brain and to remove blood clots. Johnson, who was placed in a medically induced coma, never regained consciousness and died with his family at his bedside.

Johnson, who was 34-5-2 with 26 knockouts, fought professionally for 16 years. He lost three title shots but in his fourth opportunity on June 17, Johnson stopped Stefano Zoff in the seventh round in Milan, Italy to capture the vacant IBF title.

Johnson, who was 35, is survived by his father Bill, who was also his trainer; his mother, Vivian; brothers Craig, Cade, Michael, Mark and Shaw; sisters Angie and Keshena; four children, Leavander Jr. (16), Tyric (15), Lamar (7), Latyah (4); and his fiancee, Deatra Nichols.

DiBella has established The Leavander Fund, a trust to help pay for Johnson's children's essential costs of living and college education. To contribute to the non-tax deductable fund, checks should be made payable to The Leavander Fund and sent to DiBella Entertainment, 350 Seventh Avenue, Suite 800, New York, N.Y., 10001, attention: Meredith Greenberg.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.

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