Muhammad Ali, who was considered as one of the greatest heavyweights (a weight class in combat sports) in the history of professional boxing, passed away on June 3 at the age of 74. The three-time heavyweight boxing champion and an Olympic gold medallist was admitted to a hospital in Phoenix, USA on June 2 for respiratory complications. He had also suffered from Parkinson’s disease since the year 1984.
Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr
He began practicing for boxing when his red and white bicycle was stolen from a fair
He began training at the age of 12 and just six weeks later Clay won his first fight
In 1964, at the age of 22, Clay won the world heavyweight boxing championship
After graduating high school, the then 18-year-old fighter travelled to Rome for the summer Olympics and won the light heavyweight gold medal
As an amateur boxer, Clay won 100 out of 108 fights. His style of fighting has been described as “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”
Shortly after his first win, Clay converted to Sunni Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Approximately after 30 years, he began adhering to Sufism
In 1967 during Vietnam War, Ali refused to serve in the U.S. military. For this refusal to serve in the army, Ali was arrested and his boxing license was immediately suspended for 43 months
During this tough time, Ali spoke at colleges and performed on stage in a Broadway musical called as “Buck White”
In his autobiography, Ali has claimed that he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after he was refused to be served at a ‘whites-only’ restaurant
He has fought a total number of 61 fights and has won 56 of them
He has been named ‘Fighter of the Year’ by the Ring Magazine
Ali was honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the year 2005 for his charitable work
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