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The boxer denied a title shot because he was black

Len Johnson, from Manchester, was denied a title shot Credit: ITV

Historians have pieced together the story of a boxer, from Manchester, who was denied a British title shot in the 1920s because he was black.

Len Johnson was kept from reaching the peak of his sport, because boxing regulations banned title bouts between anyone except white fighters.

Those who have researched his story say the sport's organisers believed seeing black and white fighters square-up, for boxing's greatest prizes, would have "challenged the foundations" of the British Empire.

Len won a title in Australia that was not recognised back at home Credit: ITV

Len did win a "Northern area" title, and an "Empire" title in Australia, but was never permitted to challenge for any of the official British titles.

He eventually quit boxing in frustration, turning to politics to fight racism. The fighter joined the civil defence services to rescue people from bombed-out houses during World War Two.

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