Boxing legend Muhammad Ali laid to rest

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali laid to rest

Louisville (Kentucky), June 11 (IANS) Thousands of people attended a farewell procession for boxing legend Muhammad Ali in his home city of Louisville, in the US state of Kentucky on Friday.

Muhammad Ali was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, after one last drive through his hometown in a motorcade bearing his remains, CNN reported.

The processional passed important spots in Ali’s life before heading to the ceremony for the private burial.

Onlookers cheered his cortege as it passed by on its way to the cemetery. The ex-heavyweight champion and rights activist died last Friday aged 74.

CNN quoted Ali’s spokesman Bob Gunnel as saying that former president Bill Clinton, longtime sportscaster Bryant Gumbel and comedian and Ali friend Billy Crystal will be among those delivering eulogies.

A two-day funeral began on Thursday at the Freedom Hall arena where Ali had some of the best bouts at the dawn of his distinguished boxing career. Some 14,000 free tickets were issued to attend the jenazah, Tass reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan are also in Louisville to pay their tribute to the world’s unmatched boxer.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, the legendary boxer converted to Islam in 1964 assuming the name of Muhammad Ali.

He first tried boxing gloves at the age of 12 and six years later he won gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics in the light heavyweight category.

Boasting a record of 56 wins and five losses including 37 knockputs, Ali, nicknamed ‘The Greatest,’ is the only boxer as of today to be named five times by respected boxing magazine The Ring as the “Fighter of the Year”.

He is also the only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion, having won the titles in 1964, 1974 and 1978.

He reigned as the undisputed Heavyweight World Champion between February 25 and September 19, 1964, while Sports Illustrated magazine named him “Sportsman of the Century” and BBC called him “Sports Personality of the Century”.

Actor Will Smith, who portrayed the boxer in the 2001 film about his life called “Ali”, was present with former boxer Mike Tyson at the stadium.

An interfaith memorial service for the boxer is underway at the sports centre.

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