Rumble in the Jungle anniversary


The sporting world remembers Muhammad Ali’s triumph against George Foreman

It was 40 years ago that Muhammad Ali beat then world heavyweight champion George Foreman in reportedly, “the greatest sporting event of the 20th century.”

The fight titled ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ took place in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, then Kinshasa, Zaire, in 1974.

Ali landed a devastating straight right-hand punch that knocked out Foreman in spectacular fashion.

Before the fight, bad blood was evident between the two fighters with Foreman saying Ali’s children would soon be in an orphanage. It was a tense day with British sportswriters summing up the mood in a single sentence, “As we go to the stadium at that unreal hour we shall be hoping for a miracle but dreading a calamity.”

Ali was confident and kept to a strict regime pre-fight to ensure his win. His daily routine in Zaire started with a 4am run, breakfast, a late-morning movie, a nap, his daily afternoon training session in the gym, dinner and then a stroll along the river before lights out at 10pm.

Ali eventually knocked Foreman out in the eighth round in front of a jubilant crowd, on returning to the US he received a hero’s welcome. Gene Kilroy, one of the men in Ali’s corner recounts the atmosphere, “New York stopped. Cars honked. People rushed to embrace him. He was no mere fighter then, he was the king of the world.”

The event, 40 years on, is still remembered as a staple in sporting history.


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