Ivanson Ranny Nelson, more commonly known as Johnny, has now received an MBE for his commitment to the sport of boxing and young people in South Yorkshire.
Not only was Nelson the longest reigning cruiserweight champion of all-time, but his work in the community helping prisoners and mentoring young people, has played a part in him receiving the award.
Despite losing his first three fights as a professional, Nelson went on to win the WBO world title in 1999 with a record of 31-12-1, after previous stints as WBF, European and Britain champion.
Nelson knocked out fellow Brit, Carl Thompson, in the fifth round and never looked back, defending the belt all the way up until retirement in 2005.
The Sheffield southpaw trained in the prestigious Wincobank gym under the guidance of legendary cornerman Brendan Ingle. Nelson was surrounded by world class talent such as Prince Naseem Hamed on a daily basis, and the high standards of the gym.
Nelson defended his WBO strap on fourteen occasions over the course of his six-and-a-half year reign, winning thirteen and drawing one of his fights as champion.
Since hanging up the gloves, ‘The Entertainer’ has established himself as a regular pundit on Sky Sports and, in an interview, told of his pride at being awarded an MBE.
“The first person I wanted to ring was Brendan [Ingle], obviously that wasn’t going to happen, but I think he would be so proud. Second would be my Mum, she would be proud, but I think it is the recognition of the work that he [Ingle] put into us and then we put into others. It’s about working within your community.”
“The award is for my work done with youths in South Yorkshire and for my contribution to boxing. Honestly, it is a proper honour. A proper honour.”
Nelson’s work in the community and ability in the ring make him a deserved Member of the Order of the British Empire.
He admitted that he will have a joke and a gloat amongst his fellow pundits about becoming an MBE and may even ask to be called ‘Sir’ from now on.