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ESPN staff
January 10, 2015
Robert Helenius, pictured in action against Michael Sprott, has twice fought in Sweden © Getty Images

Is boxing still banned in Sweden? asked William Reynolds

Sweden has long been ambivalent about boxing: when the 1912 Olympics were held in Stockholm, there was no boxing as it was banned there at the time.

That restriction was eventually lifted, and Ingemar Johansson from Gothenburg became the world heavyweight champion in 1959. Several of his fights were in Sweden, although his three meetings with Floyd Patterson - Johansson won the first one but lost the next two - were all in America. Johansson later won the European heavyweight title (beating the Welshman Dick Richardson) in Gothenburg in 1962.

After worries were voiced about the sport's safety, boxing was banned again in Sweden in 1970. That ban wasn't lifted until 2006 - and even then there were restrictions on the nature of contests.

Robert Helenius, the still-undefeated heavyweight who held the European title for a while, was born in Sweden, and had two of his early fights there, although he later took Finnish nationality. Six of his later fights have been staged in Finland - including the 2011 bout against Britain's Dereck Chisora that gave the 'Nordic Nightmare' the European title - and 11 in Germany.

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