Mystery Over Legendary Boxer Muhammad Ali Picture In Sabah


Ali treasures Sabah visit
Meet and Greet with the Muhammad Ali in Kota Kinabalu
Social activist Robert Foo recalls his meeting with boxing legend Muhammad Ali at Tong Hing Supermarket in Kota Kinabalu as he joins fans worldwide in mourning the passing of Ali. ocial activist Robert Foo shares the grief and sorrow of boxing fans worldwide over the passing of boxing legend Muhammad Al, who was known as Cassius Clay prior to his conversion to the Islamic faith, last Friday at Arizona Hospital, Louisville, USA.

Foo, a former President of the Council of Sabah Senior Citizens Associations (Cosca), fondly recalled his meeting with Ali during the latter’s memorable tour of several places in the Asian region during the early 1970’s, including the famous bout against Joe Bugner at the Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur in July 1975 and against Joe Frazer in Manila. Both bouts were won by Ali.

“Unfortunately, these two boxing events were not carried ‘live’ on the TV and sadly we missed watching them,” he said.

“It was lucky that I had an opportunity to meet this greatest boxing legend in person at the Gardenia Lounge, Tong Hing Supermarket, Kota Kinabalu, whilst carrying out an assignment in the Special Branch then.

“From the brief encounter, I found him very humble and extremely polite.

“As a senior social and rights activist myself, I admire his courage and civil rights stand against the White Establishment in his homeland on military conscription and his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War then.

A young Robert Foo with boxing legend Ali at Gardenia Lounge, Tong Hin Supermarket in Kota Kinabalu. “He stated that his newly found religious belief disallowed him to kill or murder people. Until today, I and my family still treasure the photograph with this boxing legend and civil rights activist with his signature,” Foo said.

FORMER world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali said confidently yesterday that former world champion Joe Frazier would be no problem to him when they meet in a return bout early next year at Madison Square Garden. “It is impossible for Joe Frazier to beat me”, All said with quiet confidence, “if Frazier beats me I will retire the same night”.

The former world champion accompanied by his wife Belinda, Manager Angelo Dundee and sparring partners Alonze Johnson and Tony Doyle and others in his touring party flew in here by MAS Boeing yesterday afternoon from Singapore to be greeted by a hadrah welcome at the airport. On hand to welcome him was the State President of the Sabah Amateur Boxing Assocation and Minister of Local Government, Encik Salleh Haji Sulong, the Assistant Minister of Finance, Tuan Haji Fadzil Wong, Datuk Idrus Matakim and members of the Organising Committee for the Muhammad Ali exhibition bout here.

In an interview with the press shortly after arrival at the Hotel Jesselton, Muhammad Ali who was exceptionally quiet-spoken described his coming return fight with Joe Frazier as “no problem” to him. He said it was easier to fight Frazier than to fight Ken Norton and that it was “impossible for Frazier to beat me”.

Answering a question on his plans, the former champion said when he winds up his tour of the East he would return straight to his Pennsylvania camp for serious training for his coming fight with Joe Frazier. “There will be no more clowning and I will he serious about my preparation although Frazier will be easier than Norton”, he said.

After defeating Joe Frazier his plans are to fight George Foreman the present heavyweight champion of the world and be the heavyweight champion of the world again before he retires in two years’ time. He is getting old and in two years will be finished, he said, but he will retire champion of the world.

Asked how he rated George Foreman, Ali said George Foreman is slow and inexperienced. All the heavyweight championship fighting he has done since winning the crown has been two rounds of action and since then has been inactive. Ali expects to win the title back.

Commenting on others he met, Ali said Rudi Lubbers was underrated like Ken Norton. Being the Dutch champion he should have been given more credit, he said.

His fight with Lubbers was a question of scientific boxing against will. Lubbers was no match but the will was there and sometimes the will can triumph over power.

Ali said he tried to knock Lubbers out but his right hand that had been injured in his fight against Norton did not respond and he was unable to do so.

On Joe Bugner, Ali said Bugner was also a scientific boxer but still a bit young. Ali predicted that Joe Bugner would be the next heavyweight champion of the world after him. The difference between scientific and fighting is that the scientific boxer never really got hurt, he added in answer to a question.

Asked his impressions of Sabah at first glance, Muhammad Ali said from what he could see Sabah was a young progressive country and he found the people very happy, the pictures that he would be taking of this beautiful country and other souvenirs he takes back to America, will be treasured. He thanked the people here for their warm welcome.

Ali said he was happy to be able to come to Sabah to show some of his talent in the ring here.

Ali exhibition bouts will be held at the Mini Expo grounds tonight. A picture of late legendary boxer Muhammad Ali with Sabah and Kuala Lumpur leaders when he visited Malaysia in 1975 has kept the rumour mill busy. Mystery over Ali pic Among the versions were that either Ali converted to Islam in the company of national and Sabah leaders or that one of his wives converted to Islam as a woman in veil is seen seated beside him.

Others in the picture include first Prime Minister late Tunku Abdul Rahman and Chief Minister late Tun Mustapha Harun.

The photo shows a woman raising her index finger while Abdul Rahman, Mustapha, and others look on, with Ali seen sitting on far left of the photo.

Apparently, the photo was taken at Rumah Sabah at Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur.

The woman remained unidentified but was said to have been converted by Sabah religious leader, the late Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Titingan, father of State Minister Datuk Tawfiq.

Claims that the event was the wedding of Ali and his wife were also making the rounds.

But it was more likely to be one of the latter reasons since he converted in 1964 in the US.

Not much is known of his first wife but the three others were Belinda Boyd, Veronica Porsche and Lonnie Williams.

Ali died aged 74 in the US on Saturday.

Muhd Ali during a courtesy call on the Minister of Co-ordination, Datuk Haji Mohd Yassin bin Hashim (left). Also seen is Ali’s wife Belinda.
Former State Secretary Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Egoh, who was also present, confirmed the meeting was held at Rumah Sabah, but could not remember the reason.

Ali came to Sabah in 1975, along with his manager Don King, following the invitation of Mustapha, the then CM.

He was in the Federal Capital for a bout and after he had defeated Joe Bugner in Kuala Lumpur on June 30, came to Sabah for a three-day visit.

Abdul Hamid said he was the Sabah Defence Assistant Secretary when Ali visited KK and was asked to accompany Ali to Mustapha's residence in Tg Aru.

"Ali with his manager made the flight to Kota KInabalu from Kuala Lumpur onboard the private jet belonging to Mustapha, a Grumman (which was sold by the Berjaya State Government as wasteful when it toppled Mustapha's Usno in 1976).

"It was my sweet memory with the boxing legend when he came to Sabah.

I was the individual responsible to welcome, send him off and accompany Ali from the airport," he said.

Sabah Boxing Association President Datuk Orlando Harumal who was among those who coordinated Muhammad Ali's visit to Sabah said there was always a huge crowd wherever the boxer went.

Muhammad Ali visited the Istana to meet then Head of State Tun Fuad Stephens.

Harumal dealt with the boxer's protocol, as well as the exhibition boxing, near the High Court building here.

"I waited for him outside when he visited the palace and Mustapha's residence.

Ali was with Don King and a number of boxers accompanied him during his visit here.

Asked his impressions of Sabah at first glance, Muhammad Ali said from what he could see Sabah was a young progressive country and he found the people very happy, the pictures that he would be taking of this beautiful country and other souvenirs he takes back to America, will be treasured. He thanked the people here for their warm welcome.

Ali said he was happy to be able to come to Sabah to show some of his talent in the ring here.

Ali who was from Louisville, Kentucky, died on June 3, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States. Photos of Muhammad Ali who Visited Sabah in 1975 RIP to the legend. Here are some photos of his visit to Sabah (North Borneo) in 1975.

Muhammad Ali teaching Tun Fuad Stephens how to throw a jab. Muhammad Ali visited Kota Kinabalu and was based in Jesselton Hotel en route to Manila where he fought Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila.”

Shown above was his photo together with the first Chief Minister of Sabah, Tun Fuad Stephens.

There are not many publicly posted photos of Muhammad Ali during his visit to Sabah.

This was one was posted on Facebook under the Keeta Gallery Collection. Please check again for more photos of him here.


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