I am The Greatest: Muhammad Ali at The O2

Are you a fan of boxing, MMA, martial arts and combat sports? Then we think you’ll be interested in this expo of epic proportions focused around one of the truly great, sporting legends the world has ever known – Muhammad Ali! It’s on in London until 31st August 2016 and tickets are on sale now. Read on, if you’re passionate about Ali, you’re in for an awesome and memorable treat!

I AM THE GREATEST: MUHAMMAD ALI AT THE O2 exhibition opened on Friday 4 March to huge amounts of global interest and showcases the extraordinary life and career of the world’s most famous heavyweight boxer, Muhammad Ali. The exhibition runs at The O2 in London until Wednesday 31 August 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

The exhibition features more than 100 artefacts – including unseen footage, fight tickets and programmes, documents, photographs and rare personal memorabilia – taking visitors through Muhammad Ali’s incredible journey.

The exhibition, which reflects important events in the life of Muhammad Ali, features historic items including:

  • The famous ‘Split Glove’ and the ‘Seconds Out’ clock from the fight between Muhammad Ali and Henry Cooper at Wembley Arena in 1963.
  • Signed Ali ‘ring worn’ boots from the 1976 Muhammad Ali v Jimmy Young fight in Maryland along with the signed Ali training boots from before the fight.
  • Signed full length white cotton robe with ‘Muhammad Ali’ embroidered on the back that he wore before the 1981 fight against Trevor Berbick in Nassau.
  • Signed, half-length cotton robe embroidered on the back with ‘Float Like A Butterfly Sting Like A Bee,’ worn by cornerman Bundini Brown at the Rumble In The Jungle fight and other fights.
  • Muhammad Ali’s gloves used to fight Joe Frazier from The Fight Of The Century at Madison Square Garden in 1971.
  • The door frame from the living room of Cassius Clay’s childhood home at 3302 Grand, West End Louisville, which he touched each time he left the house.
  • Championship ring given to Muhammad Ali’s cornerman, Angelo Dundee, following the 1974 Rumble In The Jungle fight against George Foreman.
  • Muhammad Ali’s passport that was issued in 1972 and the replacement passport that was issued in Ireland in 1973.
  • Muhammad Ali’s ‘Two Time World Champion’ ring from 1974, presented to Drew ‘Bundini’ Brown.
  • Muhammad Ali’s ‘Three Times World Champion’ ring from 1978, presented to Drew ‘Bundini’ Brown.
  • 1980 Muhammad Ali’s worn headgear inscribed to Sylvester Stallone.
  • Torches and Participation Medal from the 1960 Rome Olympics, where Ali won the gold medal in boxing’s Light Heavyweight class in his last group of amateur fights, as well as US Team patch, fight tickets and programme.
  • Gold boxing gloves given to Elvis Presley and signed by Muhammad Ali in 1973.
  • A pair of boxing shorts signed Muhammad Ali and a pair of boxing gloves signed in 2007 as ‘Cassius Clay’.
  • The exhibition also features four pieces of original artwork, created by world famous sports artist and friend of Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee, Jace McTier. These are displayed in the Angelo Dundee room as he saw the essence of Ali in Jace’s artwork and felt that the pieces captured the graceful movements of Ali in the ring.

I Am The Greatest tells Muhammad Ali’s story both inside and outside of the ring, from his humble beginnings in Kentucky where he was known as “The Louisville Lip”, to becoming one of the most recognisable sports figures of the 20th Century, now known as “The Greatest of All Time”.

Lonnie Ali says: “Muhammad and I are very excited to be part of a project that will connect Muhammad with a whole new generation of fans. The O2 has done an incredible job working with the Muhammad Ali Center to share Muhammad’s legacy and ideals with audiences around the world in this tremendous celebration of the six core principles that shaped his life.

Davis Miller, co-curator of the exhibition and Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of the new book, Approaching Ali, says: “Nothing like this exhibition has been done before. The goal is for each and every visitor to come away feeling that they have spent serious time in the company of – and sharing stories with – this singular and extraordinary man. I have had the privilege and the good fortune to get to know Ali quite well over the last 30 years, and have tried to share those personal experiences, providing what I hope is an uncommonly multi-faceted understanding of Ali both in the exhibition and in the stories in my new book, Approaching Ali.” Approaching Ali, published by W.W.Norton, is out now.

Muhammad Ali is far more than just a boxer and the exhibition also reveals the stories behind his refusal to join the American military fighting in the Vietnam war and subsequent struggle to be accepted back into the boxing world. The exhibition also covers Ali’s religious conversion and his incredible interactions with some of the world’s most powerful and influential leaders including Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and even Saddam Hussein and Leonid Brezhnev during the height of the Cold War.

Muhammad Ali was named ‘Fighter Of The Year’ by Ring Magazine more times than any other boxer, and he dominated his sport like no one else ever has. In 1999, Ali was awarded both the BBC Sports Personality Of The Century and Sports Illustrated magazine’s Athlete of the Century awards. In 2005, at the White House, he was presented with both the Presidential Citizens Medal and the Presidential Medal Of Freedom. In 2007, for his humanitarian work, he received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Princeton University. In 2015, he was awarded the W. E. B. Dubois Medal from Harvard University, which is Harvard’s highest honour in the areas of African and African-American culture.

Ali’s story resonates with our current world situation. His mantra of peace and understanding of his fellow man, be they rich or poor, black or white, regardless of their religion is a powerful message that ‘I Am The Greatest’ helps visitors understand through the words, pictures and possessions of this warm, loveable and ultimately incredible man.

I Am The Greatest: Muhammad Ali at The O2
The O2
North Greenwich
London SE10 0DX

Ticket prices:
Adult: £18.00 (+ £2.75 booking fee)
Child: £9.00 (+ £1.50 booking fee)
Concessions: £15 (+ £2.50 booking fee)
Family: £36.00 (+ £4.48 booking fee)
Coach parties / Groups: £14.50

Opening times:
Monday – Friday: 10.00am to 17.30pm (last entry at 16.00)
Saturday – Sunday: 10.00am – 19.00pm (last entry at 17.30pm)

For tickets and exhibition information visit: http://www.aliattheo2.com/

Raj, a wing chun student, enjoys spending time studying various aspects of the martial arts, from theory to practically applied skills. He enjoys interviewing prominent and dedicated martial artists from all over the world, who have something inspiring and stimulating to share. He also manages projects in terms of filming, reviews of movies/books and other quality features.

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