Legendary boxer Smokin’ Joe loses cancer battle

Kian Hudson, nine, pictured with Boxer Jamie McDonnell and boxing legend smokin Joe Frazier during the opening of Stainforth ABC. Picture: Marie Caley D2448MC
Kian Hudson, nine, pictured with Boxer Jamie McDonnell and boxing legend smokin Joe Frazier during the opening of Stainforth ABC. Picture: Marie Caley D2448MC

FORMER world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier, who came to Doncaster to open a state-of-the-art gym, has died.

Frazier - known as Smokin’ Joe - had been in a hospice receiving treatment in Philadelphia after being diagnosed with liver cancer several weeks ago.

The 67-year-old, who has the first man to beat Muhammad Ali in 1971, visited the borough to officially open a new boxing club in Stainforth back in May.

The former world title holder also came to Doncaster to guest speak at fundraising dinners about his glittering career in the ring.

Frazier won an Olympic gold medal in 1964 after going to the Games as a replacement for Buster Mathis.

He won the heavyweight title in 1970, after Ali had been stripped of the championship in 1967 for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War, by defeating Jimmy Ellis in New York.

Three years later he lost his crown to George Foreman.

But the boxer is perhaps most widely-known for three great fights with Ali, including the epic “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975.

Tributes for the colourful character have flooded in across social networking sites such as Twitter, including friend and former opponent George Foreman who tweeted: “Goodnight Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend.”