Joe Frazier

Boxing legend Joe Frazier dies

Sportspeople

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier has died aged 67 after a brief battle with liver cancer.

Also known as Smokin’ Joe, Frazier is best-known as being the first man to beat Muhammad Ali in 1971.

He held the world heavyweight title between 1970 and 1973.

Frazier also won a gold medal at the Olympics in 1964 after going to the Games as a replacement for fellow boxer Buster Mathis, who had beaten him in the trials but could not go to the Games because of an injury.

He won the heavyweight title in 1970 after defeating Jimmy Ellis in New York. Ali had been stripped of the championship title in 1967 for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War.

In 1973, Frazier lost the world heavyweight title to George Foreman.

Frazier is arguably best-known for three major fights with Ali, including the legendary “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975.

Frazier and Ali had a rocky relationship since Ali taunted Frazier in the build-up to their famous bouts.

But in recent years, they were reported to be on better terms.

“The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration,” Ali, 69, said after Frazier’s death.

“My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.”

Frazier retired from boxing in 1976 after being beaten again by Foreman. He made an unsuccessful comeback in 1981, fighting only once before ending his career for good.

“Goodnight Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend,” Foreman said on Twitter.

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