Ali, the three-time World Heavyweight Champion was named the first Honorary Freeman of Ennis on September 1 last year in recognition of his career achievements and his ancestral links with the Clare county capital. More than 15,000 people watched “The Greatest” receive a civic reception before embarking on a drive through the streets of Ennis and a visit to the home of his great grandfather Abe Grady.
Ennis Town Council, supported by Alltech, which facilitated Muhammad’s trip to Ireland in 2009, will host Celebrating The Greatest – An evening with Barry McGuigan at Glór in Ennis tomorrow night.
Bob Sheridan (nicknamed “the Colonel”) broadcast more than 10,000 fights on radio and television, with more than 725 world title fights in a career from the late 1960s to the new millennium.
Some of his accomplishments include anchoring the world feed of the first live heavyweight championship telecast – George Foreman vs Muhammad Ali in the 1974 in the historic “Rumble in the Jungle” – in Zaire, Africa.
The fight was telecast to an audience exceeding one billion people. Sheridan also commentated the first heavyweight fight out of the Philippines – “The Thrilla in Manila” featuring Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier in 1975.
Mayor of Ennis Cllr Tommy Brennan said: “It is important that Co Clare celebrates its connection with one of the greatest sporting icons of all time. However, this week’s events go further in that they promote the importance of participation in sport as well as Muhammad Ali’s own conviction of being the best that you can be. Plans are already in motion to develop an annual event, one that will engage the wider community in Clare, based around this theme.
“We were honoured that he accepted the council’s offer of becoming the town’s first Honorary Freeman which we deemed to be thoroughly deserved in light of his unrivalled sporting achievements on the world stage, and his contribution to educational and charitable causes through his global fundraising foundation, the Alltech-Muhammad Ali Center Global Education and Charitable Fund.”