posted at 20:50
Author Name: Habibou Bangre
Kinshasa still rumbles with Ali-Foreman boxing bout
Water leaks into the gyms where Ali and George Foreman trained for their epic fight. Then the world was scared that Ali - aged 32 and fighting his way back to the top after his ban for refusing to fight in the US Army - would suffer a humiliating beating by the fearsomely powerful George Foreman, the defending world champion. Ali soaked up the pressure for seven rounds, taunting his opponent all the time, and then knocked him out in the eighth with a lightning right hook. Stadium security chief Abdelaziz Saliboko Serry took up boxing after watching Ali and Foreman. Ali won the fight and also the hearts of the people of DR Congo, which was then known as Zaire. Guy Lioki, now 50 and a referee in amateur boxing tournaments, twice came across Foreman - who had already aggravated the local population by arriving on his plane accompanied by two German Shepherd dogs which evoked memories of the brutal rule of their former colonial masters Belgium - before the fight when a child. Judex Tshibanda remembers Ali coming to box with the local children. The slogan inspired Ali, even though his efforts to repeat the phrase with his thick American accent caused hilarity among Zaireans.

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