Winston-Salem native Fred Pettyjohn could be called the accidental boxer. He was playing basketball at the YMCA when the boxing coach spotted him and thought the well-built youngster might make a good boxer. Pettyjohn gave it a shot. He began his career by knocking out his first opponent, then he lost a decision. That was followed by another KO win and another lost decision. He won the next bout by knockout, and then lost another decision. After that strange beginning, Pettyjohn got on track. Before he was finished he had won a boxing scholarship to Michigan State, and compiled a record of 38 wins and 12 losses. Most of his victories were knockouts. He was noted as a classy boxer with power. Pettyjohn won tournaments in Greensboro, Charlotte, High Point, and several other cities. His win at the AAU event in Greenville in 1953 gained him a spot on a Carolinas AAU team which competed in Boston Gardens, Mass. He was the fifth Naval District middleweight runner-up in 1954.
Pettyjohn, a widower, is the father of two children. He is an avid swimmer and likes old western movies.