Muhammad Ali was named "Sportsman of the Century" by Sports Illustrated in 1999. He is the only person to have won the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship three times. Ali also won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1960 and won the North American Boxing Federation championship. At age 12, then known as Cassius Clay, he had his bike stolen and reported it to a policeman named Joe Martin, who also spent time training young boxers at a local gym. Ali learned how to box from Martin and added some training routines of his own.
Regardless of the weather, Muhammad Ali was known to go running every day as part of his rigorous training routine. He would often race the school bus for 20 blocks down Chestnut Street in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky rather than riding the bus like the other kids. Ali would rise at 4 a.m. to begin his running before school. This was well before dawn and, by the time he raced the school bus, he had already been running for hours.
After Ali's bike was stolen, he told police officer Joe Martin that he wanted to find the thief and beat him up. Martin told him, "You better learn how to fight before you start challenging people." Martin brought Ali to Louisville's Columbia Gym to work on boxing technique. At the gym, Ali learned from trainer Fred Stone how to move gracefully, like a dancer.
Ali trained diligently at Columbia Gym from the beginning. In addition to running before school started every day, he practiced boxing moves at the gym after school until it closed at 8 p.m., then would find another gym that was open later. He created a unique eating routine, which included raw eggs and milk for breakfast.
Youth Boxing Tournaments
Ali trained extensively in the boxing ring during his teen years. His record as a teenager was incredible: He won the national Golden Glove championship, the national Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championship, and the Olympic Gold Medal in Rome, accomplishing all of these feats by the age of 18.
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