The Ali Center, Louisville, Kentucky and the great Muhammad Ali and his family are world institutions and epitomize all that we respect and hold highest. The beauty and values of this foremost hero is a torch that leads the way for all humanity.
In August 2009, we had the pleasure of presenting an 18 inch bronze scale model of a proposed 30ft giant statue of Muhammad that it has been a dream for 20 years to create. In October 2010, work began sculpting a 8ft tall clay enlargement in Liverpool, England, a multi cultural city having a history of the hardest times and a reputation as the toughest area of the poor side of Britain.
By December of that year, with a collection of friends and little more than raw determination, working and pooling our resources and money together, the larger than life statue was cast into bronze, bringing nearer the prospect of finding the last little bit of support to make it to the finish and give the gift of a 30ft landmark bronze monument of The Greatest to his home town and The Ali Center.
During the weeks spent, sculpting the clay statue, more aid came from Belvedere Boxing Club, which itself is an underdog victor in a long and painful fight. For many years it played a vital part in the lives of generations of the local community. It offered something to do, somewhere to meet and socialize and a lifeline as sports clubs often are. When Liverpool hit the skids, the writing was seemingly on the wall and it looked really bleak for the centre 3 years ago. It had become a decrepit and sorry sight, its youth club services had stopped due to Council cutbacks but without any government support, a community-led development process began which has culminated in a most remarkable victory. Thanks to direct citizen action, The Belvedere Community Activity Centre was reborn and is prospering. These new friends and the opportunity to link sculpture, art and sport promises to be permanent.
This new union which this common appreciation of Ali forged between artisans gained us a place at the Aspire4Sport Congress and Exhibition in Qatar. The region of this event an ideal place to gather interest and perhaps even financial support for the landmark statue for The Ali Center knowing that Muhammad is as vital a uniting hero across the Islamic world as he is in the West. The response from delegates, fellow exhibitors and the public was phenomenal. More than 2000 people stopped to look, chat and have photographs with the sculpture. The Deputy Chairman of Aspire Zone, Mr. Tariq Abdulaziz al-Ni’ama even requested that his Chairman, Mr. Hilal Jeham al-Kuwari be presented with a 18” bronze of the Muhammad Ali statue in front of guests at a private dinner. Both of these dignitaries were appointed by HH the Deputy Emir and Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani of Qatar. This constitutes support that can be turned into something to fulfill the giant statue project – intending two twinned statues to show the way that Muhammad Ali links the world and is a bridge to peace and understanding for all cultures and people.
It is our sincere wish to deliver the landmark statue to The Ali Center on behalf of the proud inner city youth of Britain and Ireland and all the friends we haven’t yet met.