Muhammad Ali: 'The most famous man on the planet' - Promoter Frank Warren pays tribute to boxing legend

Boxing promoter Frank Warren paid tribute to Mohammed Ali on the Paul Ross Full Set Breakfast Show

Muhammad Ali: the greatest, but a man of the people, says Frank Warren

Monday, June 6, 2016

The death of former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali last week has prompted an outpouring of reminiscences about the legendary fighter. British promoter Frank Warren paid his own tribute on the Paul Ross Full Set Breakfast Show this morning (Monday), calling Ali "a great ambassador and the most famous man on the planet". 

Ali passed away in Phoenix, Arizona, on 3 June following a long battle with Parkinson's disease. The three-time heavyweight champion was known for his cultural impact and sharp mind, as much as his brilliance with his fists.

He was a committed political activist, campaigning against the Vietnam War and for the civil rights movement in the United States. A practicing Muslim, he was among the first to condemn the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City in 2001. 

“As a world figure, [he became famous for] his stance on human rights, his role as a great ambassador for peace and goodwill, and for Islam. " Warren told Paul Ross.

“He was the first high-profile Muslim to stand up after the Twin Towers in 9/11 and come out against it - to explain that Islam is about peace and love, not terrorism and radicals."

Never afraid to make his point outside the ring, as well as in it, Ali was determined to stand up for what he believed in. 

"Look at what he was willing to sacrifice during his boxing career," Warren said. 

"He decided he wasn't going to go to Vietnam [as a US Army conscript in 1967], he took on the American government.

"They took away his [boxing] licence and he didn't fight for the prime years of his career.

"He got a five-year [prison] sentence and eventually got his licence back [after three years]. He was a man willing to stand up for his principles."

Arguably the first sportsman to gain international acclaim on and off the field of play, Ali - known as 'The Greatest' - nevertheless retained a strong connection with his roots. 

"If you were heavyweight champion of the world, you were huge," Warren said. "It was a prestigious title, and you were recognised everywhere you went. 

“Ali was made for TV. His fights and press conferences were broadcast around the world. 

"He was the most famous man on the planet, but he was a man of the people."