Muhammad Ali’s WBC heavyweight title belt from his famous Rumble in the Jungle fight has sold for a huge £5.15million.
The 1974 fight was one of boxing’s most iconic moments, as Ali stopped the fearsome George Foreman to recapture the heavyweight title in the African nation of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ali won the fight in a knockout in the eighth round.
The gold-coloured metal belt, with green leather strap, fetched 13 times its £400,000 estimate at auction in Dallas, Texas.
Former UFC Middleweight champion Michael Bisping has little faith in the idea of a cross-sport bout between Floyd Mayweather and Khabib Nurmagomedov being realized.
The prestigious belt was put up for sale by American businessman Troy Kinunen, who has collected 1,600 items relating to the boxer during his lifetime, according to The Sun.
The winner of the competition for the belt was Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, as he confirmed the news in a tweet.
Irsay has revealed that he acquired the belt for his collection of rock music, American history and pop culture memorabilia that is currently touring the country.
‘Proud to be the steward!’ Irsay tweeted.
The winner of the competition for the 1974 green belt was Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay
The belt will be displayed on August 2 at Chicago’s Navy Pier and on September 9 in Indianapolis.
A Heritage Auctions spokesperson said: ‘Here we present the foremost symbol of that glorious achievement, the WBC Heavyweight Championship belt earned for Muhammad Ali’s victory over George Foreman in the fabled “Rumble in the Jungle”.
‘Ali drained the thunder from the Foreman storm and then unleashed lightning of his own, dropping Goliath for the count and, finally, seven years after his title had been unjustly stripped, completing his long journey back to the mountain top of the sport.
‘The historical significance of the piece, arguably the most important boxing award ever made available at public auction, is quite simply immeasurable.’
In the same auction, the red robe worn by Ali before the ‘fight of the century’ with Joe Frazier fetched £290,000.
The legendary American boxer walked towards the ring wearing the gown ahead of the 1971 bout held in Madison Square Garden, New York.
The garment is a crimson red colour with white trim and also features the heavyweight great’s name on the reverse.