Legendary Heavyweight Boxer Muhammad Ali Dies Aged 74

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Bulgaria: Legendary Heavyweight Boxer Muhammad Ali Dies Aged 74 A picture made available on 04 June 2016 and dated 25 May 1976 shows US boxing legend Muhammad Ali training ahead of his heavyweight fight against British Richard Dunn at the Olympiahalle in Munich, Germany. Photo: EPA

Legendary US boxer Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday.

Ali, who is widely considered the best heavyweight boxer of all times, was admitted to hospital on Thursday with a respiratory illness, complicated by Parkinson's disease. The funeral will take place at his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Ali, who was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay in 1942, began training at the age of twelve and claimed the light-heavyweight title at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

After his triumph in Rome, he became professional and four years later defeated Sonny Liston to win his first world heavyweight title at the age of 22.

Known by his nickname “The Greatest”, Ali held the world heavyweight title in three separate spells from 1964 to 1967, from 1974 to 1978 and from 1978 to 1979.

He retired from boxing in 1981, managing to record 56 victories in 61 bouts (37 by knockout and 19 by decisions). He lost on only five occasions (four by decisions and one by retirement)

Ali was recognised as “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC.

Apart from his boxing skills, Ali was known as active campaigner for civil rights, a poet and a fervent opponent of the US war in Vietnam.

Refusing to be conscripted in the US military in 1971, he was stripped of his world title and his boxing licence was revoked.

Ali was also involved with the Nation of Islam, a religious movement which sought to improve the spiritual, mental, social and economic conditions of African Americans in the USA. In 1975 he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

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Tags: Muhammad Ali, boxing, heavyweight, Olympics, Islam, civil rights, USA
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