Due in large part to former WBA heavyweight ruler David Haye, a petition designed to get the one and only Muhammad Ali a honorary Knighthood in Great Britain is gaining plenty of momentum. According to a report in The Mail, 12,000 people have already visited Change.org and signed their support – included amongst these people, fellow boxers Anthony Joshua and female Olympic gold medal winner Nicola Adams.
Joshua, who captured his Olympic gold medal some 52 years after the then Cassius Clay first rose to prominence by winning his, says Ali had a huge influence on his life and career:
“What makes Ali such a role model is the battles he had to go through,” the unbeaten 15-0 star said. “He was fighting through the Civil Rights movement. He was more than just a boxer, he was a leader for many people.”
Ali also influenced the world of politics, and in London, mayor Boris Johnson also spoke about the great man and the petition he fully supports:
“From race relations to religious freedom, he fought tirelessly and principled struggles all his life,” Johnson said of the boxer who, as a young child, he would watch on an old black and white television set. “I can’t think of a more fitting recipient of an honorary knighthood.”
Ali is expected in the UK in the coming days, to visit and officially open a fantastic exhibition dedicated to his life and boxing career at The O2 in London. The 74-year-old is, as fans know, in poor health due to his long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s decease. The planned visit to the UK could well be Ali’s last and the pride the former three-time heavyweight king would feel if he were to be awarded with a knighthood would almost certainly put some sparkle back into his eyes.
In short, Ali is deserving of this honour and there is simply no good reason why he should not receive it. Have you signed yet?