Courageous Ali inspired people - Eubank


Chris Eubank paid tribute to Muhammad Ali as an inspiration who attracted the entire world to boxing.

The legendary three-time world heavyweight champion died with his family by his side on Friday after being admitted to hospital earlier this week with a respiratory illness.

Ali had suffered from Parkinson's disease for more than 30 years, but his passing sent shockwaves far and wide despite such a long illness and his advancing years.

Eubank, a former middleweight champion, told Omnisport that Ali had left an enormous impact.

"The legacy he leaves, where do we start? The working class, the common man, boxing is the king of sports which is why the mass of the world loves boxing," he said.

"In part because of Muhammad Ali, he's the one who made boxing the king of sports by his brilliance and attracting the entire world to it.

"Then you have people like myself who have been inspired, when I was younger I was inspired by the 'Ali shuffle', the poetry, the philosophy, the human rights, as well as the ability to box and to play that theatre, the entire thing.

"He most certainly encapsulated Shakespeare's 'The world is a stage and we are all actors', because he was the greatest.

"It's inspired people like me to make world champion and stay at the top of my field as a middleweight for as long as I did which was five and a half years."

Ali, who died aged 74, also refused to fight in Vietnam in 1967, a decision Eubank described as his most courageous.

"Having the flair and charisma he had within the scariest of all sports, boxing - taking on another man in front of an audience - you have to have huge courage to do that," he said.

"But over and above that, to actually stand up against a government, standing up against the Vietnam War, not going to the Vietnam War, being stripped of his title, being banned from boxing for three years in the prime of his youth: This talks about a giant, this is a giant of a man."