Ingemar Johansson is a rookie in that formidable league, the winter sports banquet circuit, but last week he was performing with the style of a veteran and the stamina of youth. In Milwaukee the heavyweight champion was honored as Male Athlete of the Year; in Rochester, he was honored as the Professional Athlete of the Year and awarded the Hickok Belt, a massive gold-and-diamond trophy. Said Ingo: "This belt, I talk to the fellow and he tell me be careful. 'Never put it on your bathing trunks,' he say, 'because you go straight down to the bottom.' "
Between meals, Ingo works out at the gym. The other day, while he jumped rope at New York's Eighth Avenue Gym, two resolute teen-agers, Marie Johnstone and Rosalind Silverman, got past the astonished gatekeeper and interviewed Ingo for their high school paper, the Newton High X-Ray, of Long Island City, N.Y. The girls got his considerate attention, if no scoop. The champion said he hopes there will be a title fight in June if "we manage to get a contract signed in time," and repeated the hope his opponent will be Patterson. "We've interviewed Castro, too, but he scared us," said Marie. "Ingemar's too sweet to scare you."
Sightseeing in Hickok trophy room before award dinner at Rochester, Ingemar Johansson meets another heavyweight.
In midseason banquet form, Ingo shares dais at Rochester, where he received award as Professional Athlete of the Year, with Middleweight Champ Gene Fullmer, straining over an autograph, Carmen Basilio and Yankee Pitcher Bob Turley.
Back in trunks, Ingo works off calories jumping rope at Eighth Avenue (formerly Stillman's) Gym.
Meeting the press, Ingo gives interview to high school reporters Marie Johnstone and Rosalind Silverman, amiably poses for their albums.