Mohammad Ali, the former heavy weight champion, died yesterday Friday 3 June, 2016, at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, US.
According to a statement by a family spokesman, Ali died at a hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona after being admitted on Thursday.
The professional American boxer who is considered to be the greatest heavyweight in the history of the sport, was known early in his career as being very inspiring both within and outside the boxing ring. He was one of the most recognized sports figures of the past 100 years. He was crowned, “Sportsman of the century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. He also wrote several best-selling books about his career, including, The Greatest: My Own Story and The Soul of a Butterfly.
Born Cassius Clay, Ali began training at 12 years old. At the age of 22, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a stunning upset in 1964. Shortly after that, Ali joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name. He converted to Sunni Islam in 1975, and then to Sufism in 2005.
Mohammad Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Between February 25, 1964 and September 19, 1964, he reigned as the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion.
Nicknamed, “The Greatest”, Ali was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were the first Liston fight, three with rival Joe Frazier, and “The Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman, in which he regained titles he had been stripped of seven years earlier.
He died leaving behind his wife, Yolanda Williams and children.
However, since his demise on Friday 3 June, 2016, at age 74, Nigerians at home and in diaspora have been paying tributes to the inspiring and greatest heavyweight boxer in the history of the sports. youngNigerian.com compiles these tributes and presents below:
“SAD, VERY SAD: I woke up this morning to learn of the death of boxing legend, civil rights icon and an inspiration to my generation- Muhammad Ali.
His life inspired many of us to insist on standing firmly on basic life principles, prepare to suffer for what we believe and expect victory after adversity.
May the Almighty Allah grant Muhammad Ali’s soul abode in Aljannah Firdaus, Amin ” –Nasir El-Rufai, Governor, Kaduna State.
“He was my hero and I so much appreciate him. He was one of those who made me to become highly interested in boxing. And through him I discovered his skill, most of the skills he used I was able to use them at my own level. He was a wonderful guy and I will want Nigeria to recognize him because he was a man who recognized Nigeria….” – Obisia Nwakpa, Nigerian Boxing Great and Former Champion
“Our great legendary boxer finally give way. May his gentle soul rest in peace. I will always remember him for his fight with George Foreman and Joe Frazer. So he was a wonderful boxer all round.” – Tony Konyegwachi , 1988 Olympic Boxer and Current National Coach.
“RIP the greatest. A Legend and simply the Best..” – Austin Okocha , Former Super Eagles and Bolton Wanderers Captain.
“R.I.P to my idol and the Greatest sportsman that ever lived”. –Carl Ikeme, Nigerian and Wolves Netminder
He fought his greatest battle yet and he won. Now he rests. – Genevieve Nnaji, Nollywood Award and Winning Actress.
“You Never Let anyone talk you into NOT believing yourself, now you Remain the Greatest.! Goodnight! Vení Vidi Vici!” – D’banj, Nigerian Musical Star