Ali in London, 1963

ali in london, 1963
Ali, early morning training Piccadilly Circus, 1963

On June 18, 1963, Henry Cooper and Cassius Clay (not yet known as Muhammad Ali, and still called the Louisville Lip) for a non-title heavyweight fight. Clay was the Olympic gold medalist and would-be champion of the world. Cooper was the British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion.

Fast-talking, fast moving Clay, the heavier man by nearly two stone, would surely beat big punching Cooper. He did, of course. But towards the end of the fourth round, Cooper, bleeding heavily, hit him. Hard. That punch became ‘Enery’s Hammer. Clay recalled with typical wit: “That punch was felt by my ancestors in Africa.”

Clay eventually took the fight in the fifth round after the ref stopped the bout due to a heavy cut under Cooper’s eye.

During his time in London he was photographed training in and around some of the capital’s most famous landmarks, making for a set of iconic imagery [see above].


For more incredible images:




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