The brilliant, tragic tale of Battling Siki: boxing’s first African world champion we can ill afford to forget

When overwhelming favourites lose to rank underdogs, it’s often the case of the mighty underestimating the hungry. Overconfidence is a flaw that comes into sharp focus in the ring, where Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis all invited shocking defeats against the unheralded Leon Spinks, Buster Douglas and Hasim Rahman, respectively. In boxing, complacency is more dangerous than an uppercut.

Ring legend, Georges Carpentier, was the nation’s darling in post-World War I France. All of Paris expected their decorated war hero and…

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