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Subject: Boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper dies aged 76

Written By: Philip Eno on 05/01/11 at 4:26 pm

Boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper has passed away at the age of 76 at his son's house in Oxted, Surrey.

The former English, Commonwealth and European heavyweight champion fought 55 times and is revered for his knockdown of Muhammad Ali in 1963.

London-born Cooper, who won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award twice, was knighted in 2000.

Alongside Frank Bruno, Tommy Farr and Lennox Lewis, Cooper is considered one of the great British heavyweights.

He represented Britain at the 1952 Olympics - losing in the second round to Russian Anatoli Petrov - and is the only British boxer to have won three Lonsdale belts outright.

Despite enjoying a hugely successful professional career, he never won a world title and retired in 1971 after losing to Joe Bugner, a year after becoming the first person to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year on two occasions (1967 and 1970).

Cooper, who began boxing professionally in 1954, is best remembered for his two famous clashes with Ali in the 1960s.

He floored the American in the fourth round with 'Enry's 'Ammer - his trademark left hook - but Ali eventually won the 1963 non-title fight at Wembley.

Ali later said on British television that Cooper "hit me so hard that my ancestors in Africa felt it".

Ali triumphed again when they boxed three years later but Cooper remained a favourite with the British public.

Following his retirement he pursued a successful career in television as a pundit and was also a published author. He was a popular captain on the BBC quiz show A Question of Sport.

Britain's world heavyweight champion David Haye used his Twitter feed to pay tribute to Cooper, who would have celebrated his 77th birthday on Tuesday.

"One of Britain's greatest sports man Sir Henry Cooper passed away today. A true warrior and great human being. Rest in Peace," Haye wrote.

Ireland's former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan told the BBC: "He was a lovely fella, and I was a personal friend of him and his wife.

"It really is tragic news for the world of boxing. What a great man he was."

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