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Sonny Liston’s Merry Christmas

Dec. 25, 1963 - Heavyweight champion Sonny Liston celebrated what he called “the nicest Christmas I ever had” today at his Denver home. Liston’s home is elaborately decorated for the holidays. In fact, the decorations won him ninth place in the annual Denver Christmas lighting contest. The champion has been spending the past few days playing Santa Claus. Last night, he passed out turkeys to needy families. Then Liston went to Stapleton Airfield to greet an 11-year-old friend who had flown from Scotland to spend Christmas with him. The visitor was Peter Keenan Jr., son of the former British flyweight champion. Liston, who often appears more relaxed and happier with children than with adults, met the boy while the fighter was touring Scotland and England in September. They have been corresponding regularly, and Liston decided to bring the youngster to the U.S. for Christmas. Liston’s home has been a rallying place for the kids of the neighborhood, especially since the champion put up a big Christmas tree and loaded it with gifts. The champion probably made his biggest hit last week at the National Jewish Home for Asthmatic Children. He brought several armloads of presents and passed them out to the youngsters. Liston will leave for Las Vegas Friday to begin preliminary training at the Thunderbird Hotel for his February title defense against Cassius Clay. He will break camp Jan. 16 and shift his training quarters to Florida.


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