Muhammad Ali and Joe Bugner competed in the first round of the world heavyweight boxing championships in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday (12 June).
Muhammad Ali and Joe Bugner competed in the first round of the world heavyweight boxing championships in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday (12 June). But the first bout, the reception in the Malaysian Prime Minister's Palace, was one of public relations, not punches.
The world champion, Ali, and his challenger, European champion Bugner, were guests of Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak. The confrontation between the two boxers was watched by some 200 guests. The reception was one of the latest episodes in the build-up to the world title fight in Kuala Lumpur on 1 July.
Bugner was the first to arrive. Then Ali arrived, not in his usual limousine but in a tourist bus along with his entourage. His showmanship came to the fore immediately he entered the palace when he said: : "He's no good, he can't beat me".
For the two fighters this was their first meeting since they arrived in Malaysia. After signing autographs and joking with photographers, they were ushered into the dining hall where they were served an elaborate meal.
Ali and Bugner were seated opposite each other at the main table with Tun Razak, and they exchanged insults for the benefit of the guests.
SYNOPSIS: The Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Razak had special guests to dinner on Thursday.European heavyweight boxing champion, Joe Bugner was the first to arrive tat his palace in Kuala Lumpur.
Next to arrive was world champion Muhammad Ali. He chose to travel to the reception on a tourist but with his entourage instead of in his usual limousine. The dinner was one of the latest episodes in the build-up to the world title fight in the Malaysian capital on the first of July. This was the first time the two fighters had met since their arrival in Kuala Lumpur.
The big fight will provide Joe Bugner with his second attempt at the title.He met Ali two years ago but lost on points. The reception provided the two fighters with their first round -- but it was jokes that were being thrown, not punches.
The Prime Minister had invited another two hundred guests to see the first confrontation between Ali and Bugner. And they weren't disappointed. For most of the elaborate meal, the star guests insulted each other and both claimed they would be the champion.