Boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, is determined to travel to London to see the landmark show at the O2 Arena in March because of his “love of Britain”. The exhibition, across 25,000 square feet, will include unseen video footage, photographs and stories told in audio form by Miller and Ali himself.
Muhammad Ali exhibition hopes to tempt boxing icon into London visit. The exhibition runs from March 4 until August 31. Tickets go on sale on Friday Jan 29.
Fans will be treated to rare footage and an interactive boxing ring in show that follows a similar Elvis tribute in 2015
Ali, former heavyweight champion boxer, had three fights in UK, against Henry Cooper in 1963 and 1966 and later that year against Brian London. In one of such famous fights, Ali was dropped by Cooper’s left hook, but won by a stoppage in the fifth, just as he had predicted.
Ali, now 74-year-old, may do what could be his final trip abroad.
Details of the show were announced on Tuesday of a six-month exhibition telling the story of Ali’s extraordinary life in and out of the ring.
“I know he wants to come and I hope that he does,” said his friend and exhibition co-curator Davis Miller. “I saw him last September and he looked surprisingly good. He had put on about 30 pounds and he looked like Muhammad Ali. He was playful, playing with kids, doing magic tricks and was very alert and joking.”
Ali’s wife Lonnie told the Standard: “The O2 has done an incredible job working with the Muhammad Ali Center to share Muhammad’s legacy and ideals with audiences around the world. The family is anticipating we will attend this tremendous celebration of the principles that shaped his life.”
Highlights include an Olympic torch from the 1960 Rome games where Ali, then Cassius Clay, won gold, and signed golden boxing gloves given by Ali to Elvis in 1973. The wisecracking young boxer “shook up the world” when he knocked down heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in 1964.
Most boxers and boxing fans across the world accept Ali as “The Greatest”, a reputation which he created in and outside the ring, including his refusal to join the Vietnam War, which cost him his titles and saw him banned from boxing. He returned to reclaim the heavyweight title twice more during the Seventies, beating Foreman and Joe Frazier.
After retirement, despite publicly battling Parkinson’s for more than 30 years, he kept up his charitable work.
Author Davis Miller, co-curator of the I Am The Greatest exhibition, said: “I don’t think if this was happening anywhere else in the world Ali would do it. He connects with people in the UK, he connects with the Brits.
“He used to just get out on the streets and walk and talk with people.”