Hartlepool boxing manager's tribute to Muhammad Ali - who boxed his father-in-law
A Hartlepool boxing manager whose father-in-law fought the great Muhammad Ali has paid tribute the sporting legend following his death.
It was announced this morning that Ali had died at the age of 74, having been admitted to hospital with a respiratory condition earlier in the week.
The three-time world heavyweight champion transcended his sport, and had battled Parkinson's disease for 32 years.
He won the first 31 fights of his professional career, with the 25th of those being against Brian London, from Hartlepool, for the world title in 1966.
Brian's father-in-law, boxing manager Dave Garside, has hailed Ali - nicknamed The Greatest - following his death.
He said: "This is a great loss, and not just to the boxing world.
"He will be sadly missed. He's one of the great, iconic sportsmen.
"He set the standard to meet, and nobody has reached that standard."
Ali did not fight between March 1967 and October 1970 because of his refusal to be drafted into Army service by America for the Vietnam War.
When his boxing license was finally reinstated, he went on to strengthen his legacy, eventually winning back the world title and beating the likes of George Foreman and Joe Frazier along the way.
Dave added: "Ali was a phenomenal fighter, and after a break of three-and-a-half years, he came back and boxed some of the greats and beat them.
"Everyone is desperate to be as good as him and to achieve a fraction of what he did."
Ali's family’s spokesman Bob Gunnell confirmed the former boxer's death in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday evening local time.
The funeral will take place in Ali’s home town of Louisville, Kentucky.
A statement from the spokesman said the Ali family “would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support” and asked for privacy.
Ali is survived by his fourth wife Lonnie - whom he married in 1986 - and multiple children, many of whom were reported to have flown to their father’s bedside on Thursday and Friday.