Won Kentucky Golden Gloves titles six times in between 1955-60
Became Olympics light heavyweight champion in 1960
Twice won the Amateur Athletic Union Championships in 1959 and 1960
Three times Ring Heavyweight Champion: 1964, 1974, and 1978
Three times Lineal heavyweight champion: 1964, 1974 and 1978
Two times WBC Heavyweight champion:1964 and 1974
Martin Luther King Memorial Award in 1970
Three times WBA heavyweight champion: 1964, 1974 and 1978
Three times NABF Heavyweight champion:1970, 1971 and 1973
Three times "BWAA Fighter of the Year" in 1965, 1974 and 1975
Selected as the "Sportsman of the Year" by famous American magazine ‘Sports Illustrated’ in 1974
Named as the "Athlete of the Year" in 1974 by Associated Press and also selected as "International Press Athlete of the Year"
Honoured as BBC "Sports Personality of the Century" in 1999
Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001
Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005
Received Double Helix Medal in 2006
I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don't quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
These words are quoted by the man whose name has become a synonym of the boxing arena- "Muhammad Ali". The most significant boxer who remained above board for his virtues and beliefs and even justified his words, he never gave up, neither on-ring nor off-ring. Ali bagged 56 professional wins in his career by his unique techniques. Indeed, his positive attitude made him an iconic personality with strong religious persuasion and self-belief to triumph every field of life.
Photo Credits: independent.co.uk
Muhammad Ali was born on 17th January 1942, formerly known as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. He got the name from his father Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. who was a billboards painter whereas his mother was a domestic helper. In his youth, he experienced racial segregation which influenced his unimpeachable mind. The idea of Boxing struck to his mind while he was trailing a thief one night and got hindered by a police officer who told him to learn boxing first and hence the journey started.
Ali made his boxing debut as an amateur against a local wrestler in 1954 after that he recorded 100 amateur wins, including a gold medal in 1960Summer Olympics, and two national Golden Gloves titles (1959 and 1960 respectively). Post that, he debuted dominantly as a professional boxer and bagged WBA, WBC and Lineal Heavyweight titles which were preceded by Sonny Liston, one of the most prominent wrestlers of that era. Meanwhile, he also stated an example of resistance to white domination during the 1960’s Civil rights Movements.
Photo Credit: sportsnet.ca
Ali converted his name from Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. to Muhammad Ali after transforming his religion to Islam. His eye-catching performance made him much-publicized as one of the leading Lineal heavyweight boxers of the 20th century and the only boxer to be named as "The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year" for six times. The most recognized sports magazine of America "Sports Illustrated" ranked him as the "Greatest Athlete of 20th century". He reigned in the boxing arena for several years by defeating numerous skilled boxers.
Ali never failed to try new things throughout his life. Besides being one of the greatest boxers of the 20th century, he was also a musician who had recorded two Spoken Words (wordplay art) albums and a song "Rhythm and Blues" for which he was twice nominated for the Grammy Awards. He wrote two autobiographies which convey images of his On-ring and Off-ring experiences. Ali took retirement from boxing in 1981 after which he gave immense devotion to religious and charitable work. In 1984, he had a face-off with Parkinson's syndrome with which he fought with fortitude but lost his vim. Although Ali is not with us but his firm beliefs, fearless attitude and never giving predilection to win makes him alive in our heart, which always encourages us to move forward and follow our dreams, no matter how hard may be the path of glory.