Muhammad Ali: Major Accomplishments and Facts

Accomplishments of Muhammad Ali (born – 1942; died – 2016), the athlete widely hailed as the greatest boxer of all time

Born Casius Clay on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, Muhammad Ali was an American heavyweight boxer most known for winning the heavyweight champion of the world three times. In a career that was interrupted by his refusal to be enlisted in the U.S. Army, Muhammad Ali still bagged an impressive 56 career wins (out of  61 bouts), with 37 coming via knockout.

The 1960 Olympic gold medalist (in the light heavyweight class) etched his name into the annals of history by being fast, agile and strong in the ring. Outside of boxing, Ali was a colossal civil and social rights activist, often times campaigning against institutional racism and advocating peace wherever he went.

Quick Facts: Muhammad Ali

Name at birth: Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.

Birthday: January 17, 1942

Place of birth: Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.

Died: June 3, 2016

Place of Death: Scottsdale, Arizona

Cause of death: Septic shock

Parents: Odessa Grady Cay and Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr.

Sibling: Rudolph “Rudy” Clay (later known as Rahman Ali)

Education: Central High School, Louisville

Spouses: Sonji Roi (1964-1966), Belinda Boyd (1967-1977), Veronica Porché Ali (1977-1986), Yolanda Williams (married in 1986)

Children: 7 daughters (including Laila Ali) and two sons

Religion: Islam

Most known for: Winning the heavyweight title three times; civil rights and social activism, and anti-war activism

Famous Awards: Boxing Hall of Fame (Inducted in 1990), Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005)

Boxing record: 56 wins and 5 losses and 37 knockouts

Alias: The Greatest, The People’s Champion

Achievements of Muhammad Ali

Below is our pick of 10 major accomplishments of Muhammad Ali, the boxer who truly deserved his epithet, “The Greatest”.

  • Before bursting onto the scene as a professional boxer, Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, made his amateur debut in a bout against Ronnie O’Keefe in 1954. Unfazed by that bout, which ended in split decision, pushed himself harder. He realized that he ought to make speed the fulcrum of his technique. All of that dedication and training paid off, as he bagged numerous amateur titles, including two national Golden Gloves, six Kentucky Golden Gloves and two Amateur Athletic Union national titles. He did all of that before he was 18. It was a very impressive start to what would be a glistering professional boxing career.

    He picked up a pair of boxing gloves around the age of 12. A Louisville law enforcement officer/boxing trainer by the name of Joe E. Martin served as his trainer in his formative years | Image: – Cassius Clay and his trainer Joe E. Martin (1960)

  • Coming on the back of a very outstanding amateur showing, Ali went into the 1960 Summer Olympics buzzing with confidence. His journey to the Olympic gold medal began with him winning his first three fights, with one second-round knockout. The final saw him clash with high-flying Polish boxer Zbigniew Pietrzykowski. Although the three-time European champion put up a strong resistance, Ali’s speed and strength ultimately ferried him to victory on that day in Rome.

    Ali defeated Polish boxer Zbigniew Pietrzykowski to win gold medal in the 175-pound category (light heavyweight division) at the 1960 Summer Olympic Games held in Rome, Italy. His Olympic triumph was just a tip of the iceberg of the incredible things that he achieved in his record-laden boxing career.

  • Following his Olympic gold medal, Ali focused on fine-tuning his technique and gaining more stamina in the ring. Just as he got better with each passing bout, so did his trash-talk and loud mouthedness become more irritating to his opponents. Ali was the kind to walk the talk in the ring, as showed his great fighting prowess by knocking down then-heavyweight champion and outright pre-match favorite Sonny Liston in just six rounds. Ali, 22, was crowned heavyweight champion of the world. Not only did Ali’s defeat of Liston go down in history as one of the greatest upsets in the sports, but it also made Ali the youngest heavyweight champion up until that time.

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