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HISTORIC ARTICLE
HISTORIC ARTICLE

Oct 30, 1974 CE: Rumble in the Jungle

Oct 30, 1974 CE: Rumble in the Jungle

On October 30, 1974, boxer Muhammad Ali, nicknamed "The Greatest," reclaimed the word heavyweight title by winning the "Rumble in the Jungle" against George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Grades

4 - 12

On October 30, 1974, Muhammad Ali beat defending champion George Foreman to reclaim the world heavyweight boxing title. Ali referred to the fight, held in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), as the “Rumble in the Jungle”—and the name stuck. Although the fight took place in Africa, its participants both hailed from the southern region of the United States—Ali from Louisville, Kentucky, and Foreman from Houston, Texas. Both had won gold medals representing the U.S. in the Olympics—Ali in the light heavyweight division in 1960 in Rome, and Foreman in the heavyweight division in 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Younger than Ali and undefeated in his professional career, Foreman entered the bout as the favorite. However, Ali prevailed using the "rope-a-dope" technique to dodge ineffective punches and tire Foreman out. The third American who made the fight a reality was Cleveland-born promoter Don King. King convinced Mobutu Sese Seko, the dictator of Zaire, to sponsor the fight. Mobutu's investment succeeded in attracting attention to Zaire. As many as one billion TV viewers worldwide tuned in to the fight, whose odd start time (around 4 a.m. in Kinshasa) corresponded to prime time in the United States. The Rumble in the Jungle helped cement Ali’s reputation as "the Greatest." Foreman retired several years after fighting Ali, but later returned to the ring and won another heavyweight title in 1994. King promoted other notable, including the “Thrilla in Manila,” between Ali and Joe Frazier.

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National Geographic Society
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National Geographic Society
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Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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