The World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Muhammed Ali, and the Japanese Champion wrestler, Antonio Inoki, who are due to set in a boxing-wrestling match next Saturday (26 June), both had a public work-out in Tokyo earlier this week.
SV Ali and trainers walking to ring as crowd shouts and chants (2 shots)
SV Ali in ring talking to crowd and demonstrating what he will do to his opponent as crowd cheers and whistles (2 shots)
SV Ali resting on ropes and talking to crowd (3 shots)
SV Spectators at ringside
GV & CU Ali skipping in ring (2 shots)
SV Photographers at ringside
SV Ali sparring with partner
CU Inoki speaking over microphone to crowd (2 shots)
GV & CU Inoki skipping in ring (3 shots)
SV Japanese trainers at ringside
SV Inoki in ring wrestling with partner
SV Ali and trainer amongst newsmen gesticulating towards Inoki
ALI: "And when I hit with no gloves -- with no gloves. One punch. There's no man -- wrestler, karate, martial arts -- there's no man who can won me in the ring.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Muhammed Ali, and the Japanese Champion wrestler, Antonio Inoki, who are due to set in a boxing-wrestling match next Saturday (26 June), both had a public work-out in Tokyo earlier this week.
SYNOPSIS: The mixed bout in Tokyo will bring back memories of the old-fashioned prize fights of the last century. Like the 19th century prize fighters, Inoki will fight with bare fists, and Ali now says he'll only wear hand wraps or bag gloves. But as always, Ali was supremely confident of winning.
Ali will earn a guaranteed six million dollars (GBP 3 million sterling) for the match, yet he still went to great lengths to advise Inoki to back-down while he was still alive. Inoki should have stuck to wrestling, said the World Champion. He though Inoki was making a big mistake fighting "the greatest fighter of all time."
During his public work-out session, Inoki showed no concern about Ali's threats, and said he had no intention of with-drawing from the fight. He has been training intensively for a month, and he told the crowd of spectators that he was absolutely confident that he would win.
Inoki showed his skills by working-out with three other wrestlers, and each of them found him too much to handle. The second partner had to roll out of the ring gasping, after being felled by a wicked karate kick to the back from Inoki. It was a sample of what could be in store for Ali.
But Ali's wrestling coach, American Freddy Blassie, said that Inoki had not shown anything not known before. But when asked how he rated Inoki, Blassie conceded "He's good. He's good."