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Muhammad Ali

U.S. boxer Muhammad Ali was one of the fastest and most gifted competitors in the
history of boxing. Muhammad Ali was born on 17 January 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, US.
His name was Cassius Marcellus Clay before converting to Islam. He began boxing as an
amateur boxer at the age of 12.

He won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Soon after his Olympic
victory, Clay became a professional boxer. Then, on 25 February 1964 he defeated Sonny Liston
and became the world heavyweight champion.

In 1964, Clay joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In
1967 he was forced to join into the army to fight in the Vietnam War, but because of his religion
he refused to sign up. As a result, Ali was convicted of breaking the law, prohibited to join any
boxing competition.

Ali finally regained the world heavyweight title in 1974 after defeating the former
champion, Joe Frazier, and the reigning champion, George Foreman. The historic match against
Foreman took place in Kinshasa, Zaire. In 1978 Ali lost his title to Leon Spinks but regained it
by beating Spinks later that year. Ali thus became the first boxer to win the heavyweight
championship three times.

In 1979 Ali announced his retirement. Later, Ali was invited to light the Olympic flame
at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Ali had nine children. One of his daughters, Laila Ali,
also took to professional boxing. Muhammad Ali was one of the fastest and greatest boxers.