Legendary Boxing promoter, Don King, has clarified his staging of “Rumble in the Jungle” II in Ghana to celebrate the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
It will be recalled that Sports Minister, Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, in June announced the possible hosting of the event in Ghana.
Don King, who has nurtured and promoted hundreds of world champions from across the world, has issued a statement about the upcoming event.
“I am honoured by the expression of interest shown by the visionary Minister for Sports & Youth, Minister Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, to bring a first class global boxing promotion to Ghana to mark the anniversary of the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ as a tribute to Muhammad Ali who sadly passed away last month,” said Don King in a statement.
“We have had an exploratory conversation about the possibility of this event being hosted in Ghana with the Minister, but nothing concrete has been planned. There is a great deal of interest from other countries on the African Continent and we are exploring all possibilities as the most suitable venue for logistics and a tight time frame as the ideal time would be around the anniversary of the original ‘Rumble’ in October/November.”
He added: “The concept which the Minister discussed with Don King, is to mark the anniversary of the historic Heavyweight boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held in Kinshasa known as ‘the Rumble in the Jungle.
“It was a unique sporting event broadcast live to over 1 billion people. It put Kinshasa Zaire (now DRC), on the map and the continent of Africa at the center of global attention.
“Global sporting events are recognized as bringing revenue, development and nation building to a country and an invaluable source of promotion for countries and their culture.
“The historic sports event was bigger than boxing and was a cultural and sporting masterpiece bringing celebrities and athletes together from around the world for what was a unique ‘first of its kind’.
“For Ali it was a defining moment and set him apart as a global icon and a household name. It would be a fitting tribute to Ali to bring his name and legacy back to Africa, the Continent and its people that meant so much to him, for a final farewell.”
“I love Ghana and I love the Ghanaian people. I have had the honour of meeting Ghana’s Presidents in the past. Some of the greatest boxers I promoted from the start of their careers to their crowning as World Champions, hailed from Ghana.
“Azumah Nelson was not just a great Ghanaian boxer, he was one of the greatest of all time so I have a lot of love and motivation to come to Ghana to hold this historic event to mark the anniversary of the first ‘Rumble’ and as a tribute to the great Muhammad Ali.
“It will be attended by celebrities and movers and shakers of global industry as my promotions are very high profile and this will be especially so,” said Don King.
“But there are no firm proposals to hold this event in Ghana as of now and there are other potential countries in Africa who have expressed strong interest.
“Undoubtedly the event will be history in the making again. Sport brings people together and the world needs unifying and an uplifting message now more than ever.
“Putting the host country centre stage on global media and live and direct from Africa! It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to it,” King stated.
The Ghana Minister for Youth and Sports Nii Lantey Vanderpuye expressed ‘we are working to try to bring this event to Ghana.
Don King is planning the mega event for the autumn and discussions are ongoing with several African countries as potential host nations for this historic event live from Africa.