Boxing has gone through many changes since a Seymour man was earning recognition for his accomplishments in the ring.
In the 1970s and ’80s, Floyd Sanders rose through the amateur ranks to become a professional boxer.
An exhibit about Sanders’ accomplishments recently was placed in Brownstown’s Historical Museum.
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“I started fighting when I was living back in Austin when I was a kid,” Sanders said. “I was about 13 years old. I just got good enough to fight pro. I fought about 200 amateurs and 140 pros. I went from being a nobody to something.”
During his teen years, Sanders attended Seymour Community Schools and befriended John Mellencamp.
The two are now displayed next to each other in the Brownstown museum.
During his time in the ring, Sanders fought in the light-heavy, middleweight and heavyweight divisions.
“I tried to knock them out,” Sanders said. “I went for the head and didn’t mess around. Most people say ‘hit the body and kill it out.’ If I hit them with the right hand, it usually knocked them out. I led with the left and went with the right.”
For Sanders, boxing wasn’t about personal gain. He organized several events at Seymour’s armory and high school for the less fortunate.
“I put on a lot of fights for kids that were handicapped,” Sanders said. “Fights for buying kids beds and wheelchairs. Nobody else did that. It’s good to give back. It was standing room only at Seymour High School. All the money went to those boys, and I’m glad I did that.”
At one of the events, Sanders put on a benefit for his sister, Wanda, and brother-in-law, Fred Clifton. Wanda was born with no legs, and Fred had lupus.
In another benefit, he raised money for Jacob Baker and Charlie Wolter, who had muscular dystrophy.
Boxing was a family affair for Sanders.
He said his brother, David, and sister-in-law Rita Sanders often came and watched. David and Floyd Sanders’ son, Floyd Jr., often helped him prepare for contests.
In Louisville on the same card as Greg Paige, Floyd Sanders fought in the Golden Gloves.
One of the greatest accomplishments for Sanders was fighting on Joe Frazier’s card.
On the national level, Floyd Sanders fought Marvin Johnson on ESPN. Sanders fought a number of events and had fans across Europe during the time.
A person Sanders wanted to recognize was then-Seymour mayor Chris Moritz, who helped them put on all the matches at the armory. Floyd Sanders said he owed a lot to the mayor for allowing to him put on all the fights in the area.
Now retired from the sport, Sanders lives in Brownstown.