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Lewis hails Ali as an inspiration

HEAVYWEIGHT HEROES: Ali and Lewis

LENNOX LEWIS has paid tribute to Muhammad Ali on his 70th birthday, describing the legendary boxer and icon as ‘the man who inspired him.’

Lewis declared that Ali ‘should be considered the greatest sportsman of all time because what he achieved’. The American was the first three-time lineal world heavyweight champion and he was involved in several historic fights that helped put boxing on a global platform.

“All the other athletes in the world may not admit it, but they wouldn’t have the earning power they enjoy today without the things Ali did,” Lewis told The Telegraph.

“He paved the way for the successful careers of other athletes. For example, we wouldn’t have been the great symbols in sports if it had not been for him. He was a great pathfinder. He stood up against the Vietnam War he created a legacy outside the ring. He stood up for those things, and never feared in doing so. He showed that you do not have to be a puppet, that you can be yourself and stand up tall and proud for your beliefs."

Lewis, who is the most recent undisputed world heavyweight champion, also revealed how the man nicknamed ‘The Greatest’ drove his boxing ambition:

“Muhammad Ali inspired me – from when I was a young boy growing up – he motivated me to chase my dreams inside and out of the ring. I admired the fact that he was concerned about people, enough to oppose the war in Vietnam and young men going there to fight. He is a religious man and he captured my attention because he was always helpful to people. He gave hope and inspiration to nations all around the world and was revered by them.”

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