Named the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC, the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated and Fighter of the Year six times by Ring Magazine, Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) will always be regarded as one of the world’s greatest boxers. Celebrated not only for his athletic skills, his legendary stature continues to inspire the world for his philanthropy, social activism and willingness to speak out against injustice.
Growing up, Muhammad Ali experienced racial discrimination and prejudice first hand, and at an early age showed that he wasn’t afraid of a challenge, inside or outside the ring.
Muhammad Ali became an Olympic gold medalist in 1960 and the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1964. The 1960’s- 70’s saw Ali’s conversion to Islam, and followed a few years of suspension from boxing for his outspoken views and refusing to serve in the Vietnam War. He was back in the ring to reclaim further career successes including taking on Joe Frazier and George Foreman in 1974 and 1975 and winning the heavyweight title two more times.
After being diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 1984, Mohammad Ali devoted his time to travelling to numerous countries to help those in need. He was chosen to be a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 1998 and earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
“Ultimately, he became a silent messenger for peace, who taught us that life is best when you build bridges between people, not walls.” – Billy Crystal