Mohammed Abdalla Kent was the only Kenyan who had the courage enough to fight Muhammad Ali when he visited the East African nation in February 1980.
At the time the heavyweight champion toured the region, other heavyweights were all scared to get into the ring and spar with the champion.
This pushed Kent to nod to entering the boxing ring where he traded blows with the three-time world heavyweight champion at an exhibition match that was part of a controversial US diplomatic mission to push African countries into boycotting the Moscow Olympics.
The brave heavyweight recalled that he was able to down Ali in the third round, but the legend got up abruptly to give him a hard left punch to the neck.
(Video: Source NTV)
Kent said he was able to cough out under his breath that Ali was hurting him even though it was just meant to be an exhibition match. But his shock, the legend replied “No you must guard yourself.”
The boxing match which served an exhibition was tagged a draw after the fourth round.
Now 62 years old, the former international boxer said he was devastated when he learned that his role model had died. He admitted that he actually cried when the news about Ali’s death flooded the internet on Saturday morning.
“It is the second person for whom I have shed tears since I was born – the first time was when my mum passed away.”
Mr Kent confessed that the remarkable boxer who beat many histories in boxing during his lifetime had had a super influence on his life. He revealed that he too converted to Islam, and changed his name from Simon Kent to Mohammed Abdalla Kent.
He’s currently asking for donation from well meaning Kenyans to enable him attend Ali’s funeral in the US town of Louisville in Kentucky.
Mohammed Ali passed away on Friday from septic shock at age 74. He was said to have suffered Parkinson. He was given the devastating prognosis by doctors after they discovered he was battling the crippling condition but his positive mindset allowed him to beat the odds and live for another aboutn 32 years more after the diagnosis.