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Muhammad Ali to visit his ancestral home in Clare

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MUHAMMAD ALI'S IRISH ROOTS

MUHAMMAD ALI ON RTE TELEVISION IN 1972

Muhammad Ali is set to visit the home of his Irish ancestors in County Clare when he visits the country at the end of August.

The Mayor of Ennis, Frankie Nealon, and his aides will meet Ali’s representatives this weekend to go over the details, but it is understood that Ali is very keen on making the trip to the home of his great-grandfather Abe Grady.

“The people of Ennis and County Clare will welcome Muhammad Ali with open arms.  His visit will serve as a huge boost to the local economy," said Mayor Nealon.

The boxing legend will be in Dublin on August 31 for a fundraiser for his Alltech Ali Charitable Foundation, but Mayor of Clare Tony Mulcahy is delighted that his county has the opportunity to welcome a sporting legend who has familial links to the area.

“Even thirty years after he retired from professional boxing he manages to attract widespread attention and great excitement wherever he goes,” said Mulcahy.

"The people of Clare look forward to formally recognizing his work with the less well-off along with his direct ancestral links with the Banner County.”

Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, made his pro debut on October 29, 1960, a few months after winning the gold medal in the light-heavyweight division at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

In 1964 he won the heavyweight title for the first time when he defeated champion Sonny Liston. Shortly after winning the title, Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali after joining the Nation of Islam.

Ali was stripped of his boxing license and world title by the New York State commission in 1967 when he refused to fight in the Vietnam War.

He would be reinstated in 1970, going 15-2 before winning the title for a second time when he overcame all the odds to beat George Foreman on October 30, 1974 in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire.

Ali and Frazier fought for a third time in the "Thrilla in Manilla” on October 1, 1975, with Ali winning after Frazier could not get off his stool for the 15th and final round.

Ali lost his title to Leon Spinks in February 1978, but won the heavyweight title for a third time when he beat Spinks in September of the same year for the WBA crown. Ali retired after the Spinks win but made a comeback before his final retirement after losing to Trevor Berbick on December 11, 1981.

Muhammad Ali's professional record was 56-5, with 37 knockouts.

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 1984 but has maintained a public profile, and was a special guest at the launch of the Special Olympics in Dublin in 2003.

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