Frank Richards wanted to find out if he had the strongest stomach muscles in the world. He decided to make his stomach as strong as he could.
He trained very hard, became a circus performer, and used his strong stomach muscles in his act.
In 1927, the great heavy weight boxing champion Jack Dempsey hit Richards’ stomach 75 times. Dempsey hit as hard as he could, but Richards barely flinched. Richards toughened his stomach muscles even more and began to allow challengers to hit him in the stomach with a heavy sledgehammer.
Still, he felt nothing.
Bored and searching for more difficult challenges, Richards developed the stunt that earned him the name “Cannonball.” As part of his circus act, a 12-foot-long cannon fired a 9-inch, 104-pound cannonball into his stomach.
The power of the cannon knocked him into a canvas wall every time, but Richards always immediately stood up, completely unhurt. He performed this stunt twice a day.