WHEN ALI CAME TO IRELAND

When Ali Came to Ireland - Muhammad Ali Image Name: When Ali Came to Ireland - Muhammad Ali Description: Muhammad Ali with Butty Sugrue, the Kerryman who co-promoted the fight in Ireland in 1972 Copyright: Courtesy of The Irish Post

In July 1972, Muhammad Ali boxed Al ‘Blue’ Lewis in Croke Park, Dublin. The fight was organised and co-promoted by a former circus-strongman, a London-based publican called Butty Sugrue, originally from Killorglin, Co Kerry.

Using rare RTÉ archive and personal footage recorded at the time, this film tells the remarkable story behind the origins of the fight – and the fall- out from it – and talks to those who encountered Ali during his time in Dublin. Among them the late RTÉ broadcaster, Cathal O’Shannon, in his last recorded TV interview. And, from his home in Detroit, Al ‘Blue’ Lewis, and tells how, having been sentenced to life in prison for manslaughter, he ended up going eleven rounds with The Greatest in Dublin, Ireland.

The documentary also features contributions from, among others, Rock Brynner – the son of actor Yul Brynner – who was a confidante of Ali and who was part of his entourage in Ireland, the former Kilkenny hurler, Eddie Keher, who famously taught Ali how to use a hurley and sliothar as part of the pre-publicity for the fight, journalist and broadcaster Dave Hannigan, author of ‘The Big Fight’, and the respected American sports journalist George Kimball, who attended the fight in Dublin.

 When Ali Came To Ireland is a True Films production for RTÉ