Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest boxers of all time. He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Ali was a fiercely serious child, who had experienced the harsh realities of racism at a very young age. He started training to be a boxer at the age of 12 because his bike was stolen outside a fair. When he reported the incident to a police officer named Joe Martin, and said that he wanted to beat up the thief, Martin replied that he would have to learn to fight first. So the young Ali started training under the same policeman every day after school.
Ali was very strict with his training. He woke up early every morning to go for a run, and after school he would go to the gym to train under Martin’s guidance. He also had a very healthy diet, and never touched alcohol, cigarettes or junk food. From the beginning, he was very confident in his abilities and would claim that he would become the greatest boxer in the world. He had a unique fighting style, and was a very fast mover – so fast that he was able to back away from punches before the opponent could attack, instead of ducking like others did. He also kept his hands by his sides, rather than using them to cover his face.
Ali had his first amateur fight in 1954, which he won. After several more victories, he went on to win the 1956 Golden Gloves tournament for novices in the light heavyweight category. In 1959 he won the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, and the Amateur Athletic Union’s national title in the light heavyweight division. Next year, in 1960, he made it to the U.S. Olympic boxing team that competed in the Rome Olympics, where he defeated the Polish-man Zbigniew Pietrzkowski to win the Olympic gold medal. He gained immense fame back home, and soon turned professional, backed by the Louisville Sponsoring Group. In 1964, after defeating fellow American Sonny Liston, he achieved his ultimate dream – the title of heavyweight champion of the world.
Shortly after winning the title, Ali embraced a new