Ex-world champion, Joe Frazier, loses battle for his life

by Rachel Ogbu

Joe Frazier, 67, boxing ex-world champion has died. Frazier who held the world title between  1970-73 died yesterday after a brief battle with liver cancer.

Fondly known as Smokin’ Joe and as the first man to beat Muhammad Ali in 1971 in the Thrilla in Manila, had been receiving hospice care in Philadelphia after being diagnosed with cancer several weeks ago.

During his career, he had won an Olympic gold medal in 1964 after going to the Games as a replacement for Buster Mathis, who had beaten him in the trials but could not attend the Games due to an injury. But he then lost the next two matches he had with Ali which had a major effect on his career . Frazier retired in 1976 after being beaten again by Foreman. He then made an unsuccessful comeback in 1981, fighting only once before ending his career for good.

Born in Beaufort, South Carolina, on January 12, 1944, Frazier took up boxing early after watching weekly fights on the black and white television on his family’s small farm.

Tributes have been flowing in continuously on his website.

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