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Carl "Bobo" Olson Inducted into International Boxing Hall of Fame

Senator Daniel K. Akaka

Mr. President, I rise to honor Carl "Bobo" Olson, the legendary world boxing champion born and nurtured in Hawaii, who was inducted yesterday into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. This is certainly a well-deserved honor for "The Hawaiian Swede," a distinguished champion whose life and sixteen-year professional career represent the grit, tenacity, skill and love of sport that have made boxing popular worldwide.

Born in 1928, Bobo Olson grew up quickly on the tough streets of downtown Honolulu in the early 1940s, sharpening his boxing skills at an early age. Bobo and I grew up in the same community, the Pauoa and Punchbowl area in Honolulu — a neighborhood where families of different races, many of Hawaiian or Portuguese heritage — lived side-by-side and shared our cultures and traditions. We all closely followed Bobo's rise to champion and took pride in a local boy who had reached the top in his sport and handled his success with humility and grace.

He began fighting professionally at age sixteen, and won nineteen fights before he reached the age where he could legally box on the mainland circuit. As a professional, Bobo won the World Middleweight Championship by defeating Randy Turpin of England in October 1953 before 18,869 spectators in a fifteen-round fight at New York's Madison Square Garden. Ring Magazine named him fighter of the year in 1953. He held the title for two years; losing it in 1955 to Sugar Ray Robinson.

Olson's career record was 117 fights, ninety-nine wins, forty-nine by knockout, sixteen losses, and two draws. Four of those losses were to Ray Robinson, who is considered by many boxing experts and fans to be the greatest middleweight ever and among boxing's all-time greats. Bobo Olson held the middleweight title longer than any other boxer in the 1950s and fought as a middleweight and light-heavyweight. He never shied away from a challenge. Bobo was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1958, and was also among the first class of athletes, sportsmen and sportswomen inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. After retiring from boxing in 1966, Bobo worked as recreational director for the Operating Engineers Local Union in San Francisco and in public relations for the Teamsters. Now happily retired, he and his wife Judy reside in Honolulu.

Mr. President, I join boxing enthusiasts and the people of Hawaii in congratulating Carl 'Bobo' Olson on his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He remains a soft-spoken champion, and his quiet intensity and commitment to excellence offer a lasting illustration of good sportsmanship for all of us.

[Taken from the Congressional Record, 12 June 2000, page S4951.]