Donald Trump pardons boxing great Jack Johnson

US President Donald Trump has granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson.

Trump has cleared Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many see as his racially charged conviction.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act by travelling with his white girlfriend. That law made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes”.

Trump issued the pardon during an Oval Office ceremony on Thursday.

He was joined by current WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, retired titleholder Lennox Lewis, and actor Sylvester Stallone, who played Rocky in the famous films, and who Trump credited with championing the pardon.

Trump said: “I am taking this very righteous step, I believe, to correct a wrong that occurred in our history and to honour a truly legendary boxing champion.

“It’s my honour to do it. It’s about time.”

Johnson’s great-great niece, Linda E. Haywood, was also at the ceremony.

“For so long, my family was deeply ashamed that my uncle went to prison,” she told Trump.

“This pardon being issued, helps to rewrite history and erase the shame and the humiliation that my family felt for my uncle, a great hero.”