THE GREATEST heavyweight of all time Muhammad Ali, who famously declared “I am the greatest”, was brought to his knees by a County Limerick man.
Boxing experts will tell you that Ali was knocked down four times but the Ceapach Mhor yearbook exclusively reveals there was a fifth occasion - and it was by a Cappamore man.
Those scratching their heads thinking that Ali never fought an Irishman would be correct. However, the man with the unique claim to fame is Michael Wright, who passed away in 2007. His brother Tom writes about the incident in the Cappamore yearbook.
It occurred in London in 1966 when Michael was working on the building sites and Ali was preparing to fight Henry Cooper.
“My brother Mike who was good on questions about Irish history and sports in general asked a few of the boys in the pub who was the only Irish man to knock down Muhammad Ali.
“One of the boys replied: ‘You’ve had one too many tonight Mike, no Irishman ever fought Ali’. Michael answered, ‘I didn’t say fought, I said knocked. Ali was jogging in Hyde Park in preparation for the Henry Cooper fight, I was sleeping rough, he fell over me and so I knocked him down’,” wrote Tom.
Round one to the Cappamore man!
The story was one of the most popular at the launch of Ceapach Mhor in Michael Leonard’s Centra last week. Produced by Cappamore Historical Society it covers every aspect of community life in the parish. Chairperson of the society, Oliver Dillon, said: “Our 26th edition of Ceapach Mhor with its wide variety of articles and photographs from our organisations, clubs, schools and individuals reflects the very strong and active community spirit in Cappamore. Thanks to all those who give so much of their time on a voluntary basis, and everyone who contributed to Ceapach Mhor which was printed by Mulcair Print,” said Mr Dillon. It was officially launched by Fr Liam Ryan, president of Cappamore Historical Society.
“There is an excellent balance between present day activities and the historical section with many fine articles,” said Fr Ryan. He paid special mention to Cappamore Celtic FC who won the Lipper Cup and their county champions - Cappamore camogie junior team. As the team picture doesn’t show any of the girls with a hurley Fr Ryan, a former Limerick GAA great, joked, “there is nothing those girls could achieve if we gave them hurleys!”. Ceapach Mhor is on sale in the parish and surrounding ones.