Heavyweight boxing legend Joe Frazier sadly passed last week from liver cancer, and old-timers in Athlone, Co. Westmeath fondly recalled his visit there in 1971, three months after defeating Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight championship of the world.
Frank Colgan, the manager of the Shamrock Lodge Hotel at the time of Frazier's visit, told the Westmeath Independent that Frazier was on a singing tour of Ireland and was down to play in Co. Roscommon.
"He decided to stay in Athlone with his entourage and group of female backing singers. They nearly booked out the whole hotel at the time," said Colgan.
"He was a very nice man and was really approachable. He spoke to everyone and was very nice towards our staff at the time.”
Frazier, as you can see from our photo, also attended a Friends of Sinn Fein event in New York a few years back. May he rest in peace.