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US former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali gives a punch in front of photographers at hotel Belvedere in Davos 28 January 2006. Photo by: Eric FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images

Ennis to celebrate Muhammad Ali on his landmark 70th birthday

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US former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali gives a punch in front of photographers at hotel Belvedere in Davos 28 January 2006. Photo by: Eric FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images

Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday will be celebrated by the Clare town that claims The Greatest as one of its own on Tuesday.

Ennis Town Council has agreed to send a birthday card to the former heavyweight world champion whose big day will be marked in the county.

The Irish Examiner reports that the town regards Ali as family as his great-grandfather Abe Grady emigrated from Clare to the US in the 1860s.

The boxing legend drew huge crowds when he visited Clare in September 2009 and became the first Honorary Freeman of Ennis.

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He thrilled locals when he went walkabout in the Turnpike area of the town, near his great-grandfather’s ancestral home.

Independent Councillor Frankie Neylon proposed that the Council send their congratulations to three times world champion Ali ahead of his landmark birthday. Cllr Neylon said: “It is just a little token from the sited council.”

Fine Gael councillor Johnny Flynn said: “I know we can’t make any commercial gain from our links with Muhammad Ali, but his family told us that the welcome he received here was of more importance to him than the medal he received in the Olympics. We should be marketing that welcome.”

Labour Party representative Paul O’Shea said: “Muhammad Ali should be the first person to receive the proposed Clare passport.”

Here's a video remembering Muhammad Ali's visit to Ennis in 2009:

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