World Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (10 June) to a rapturous welcome form more than 15,000 fans.
World Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (10 June) to a rapturous welcome form more than 15,000 fans. He's to defend his title in the Malaysian capital against European champion Joe Bugner on 1 July.
The crowd burst through a police cordon in an attempt a catch a glimpse of Ali who broke into a broad smile and waved his hands. Meanwhile flower girls, drums and welcomers throwing garlands of flowers added to the good-natured chaos.
At an airport news conference Ali -- Islam's most famous modern-day convert -- pushed a strong Muslim line for the Muslim Malaysians. Ali composed a number of his famous spontaneous poems for reporters but hit closest to the truth when he said of Bugner: ''He's a great fighter ... but when Bugner fights me he fights Allah.'
The ecstatic airport crowd was about five times the size of the relatively, subdued one that greeted Bugner three days earlier. Ali is a national hero in Malaysia and the British challenger will face many of the same psychological handicaps that seemed to affect George Foreman when he lost the heavyweight crown to Ali in Zaire, last year.