Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Officially Nominated for Knighthood

Kingsley Kanayo

Officials will today begin considering Muhammad Ali for an honorary knighthood after nomination papers were handed in, Evening Standard reports.

The call for the honour was submitted by former world heavyweight boxing champion David Haye and is supported by sports stars, celebrities and politicians. A petition, also started by Haye, has been signed by more than 23,000 people.

As he sent in the papers, Haye called on Downing Street to support the bid, saying: “I urge Prime Minister David Cameron to make this happen.”

Further supporters for the honour stepped forward this morning, including former world boxing champion Nigel Benn. London-born Benn said Ali deserves the honour because he is the “ultimate people’s champion”.

The former WBO middleweight and WBC super-middleweight champion, whose nickname was the Dark Destroyer, said: “Muhammad Ali is a remarkable human being who took on more than just the opponents he defeated inside the ring. This is a man who’s defended his race, beliefs and moral standing to save lives, and inspired the world.”

The campaign for recognition comes as an exhibition on Ali’s life opens at the O2, called I Am The Greatest.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attended the opening of the exhibition. He told the Standard: “He truly was the people’s champion but was also a great campaigner for civil rights and peace. We don’t expect our sports stars to be politicians or our politicians to be sports stars, but Muhammad Ali achieved both.”

Previous recipients of an honorary knighthood given to non-UK nationals include Bono, the late Terry Wogan, Steven Spielberg and Kevin Spacey.

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