Hall of Famer Eder Jofre, legendary bantamweight and featherweight champion, has died at the age of 86

Former bantam and featherweight champion Eder Jofre, who was honored by the WBC at their 2019 convention in Cancun, Mexico, died in Brazil on Sunday at the age of 86.

Former bantam and featherweight champion Eder Jofre, who was honored by the WBC at their 2019 convention in Cancun, Mexico, died in Brazil on Sunday at the age of 86. (Photo courtesy of WBC)

Eder Jofre, arguably Brazil’s greatest boxer whose boxing skills and punching power helped earn him induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, died in Brazil on Sunday after a long illness. He was 86.

Jofre, who competed at the 1956 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, is considered one of the greatest bantamweight champions of all time and was ranked 85th in The Ring’s 2003 list of the 100 greatest punchers of all time.

He was 72-2-4 with 50 KOs. In one of his draws on November 5, 1965 against Manny Elias, he actually won on all three scorecards, but since a rule in Brazil dictated that a fighter had to lead by at least four points on at least two cards, the fight was settled as a draw.

His only losses were Fighting Harada in bouts for the WBA and WBC bantamweight titles. Harada won a split decision on May 18, 1965 in Nagoya, Japan. Harada won a unanimous decision 69-68, 71-68, and 71-69 in the rematch in Tokyo on May 31, 1966.

The WBC held an amateur tournament named in his honor in Brazil on Saturday, which featured fighters from Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador and Mexico. He died a few hours after its completion.

“He was a warrior,” WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman told Yahoo Sports. “He was a great fighter who competed at a time when bantamweight was very important and had so many great fighters. Against Harada, Jose Medel. He’s had so many great fights and he’s considered the greatest bantamweight of all time. That era, boxing was so different. They fought 15 rounds and the fighters were so much more active. He really was a great and amazing fighter.

“He was a classic boxer, but he had strength. His technique was very good and he was aggressive so it was always fun to watch him. He could also take a punch and was just great. He was a great boxer and a great guy. This is a great loss.”

Jofre retired at the age of 30 after the second loss to Harada. He was then 47-2-4. After three years of retirement, he came back as a featherweight. He reeled off 14 straight wins to earn a shot at the WBC featherweight title against Jose Legra on May 5, 1973 in Brasilia, Brazil. Jofre won by majority decision to become both the lineal and WBC featherweight champion.

He wasn’t himself at featherweight and was stripped of the title a year later. He never lost another fight before finally retiring in 1976.

After his retirement he was a councilman in Brazil for 16 years and made many public appearances. The WBC honored him at its 2019 convention in Cancun, Mexico.

“He had fought [illness] tough for many years but he was always strong and positive and smiling,” said Sulaiman, who said Jofre was “extremely close” to his father, Jose Sulaiman. Jose Sulaiman was President of the WBC for many years before his son Mauricio, who succeeded him after his death: “When he was out in public, he started training with people in a fun way and was always happy and loved being with boxers and boxing fans.”

Champion Eder Jofre of Brazil lands a proper right to the nose of challenger Herman Marquez of Stockton, California during the eighth round of their bantamweight title fight at the Cow Palace in San Francisco May 4, 1962.  The tenth round fight with Jofre retains his title by a knockout.  (AP photo)

Eder Jofre (R), shown in a 1962 bantamweight title fight in San Francisco, California with Herman Marquez, died in Brazil on Sunday at the age of 86. He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. (AP photo)

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