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Muhammad Ali to make one last trip to Britain

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London, July 3 (ANI): Boxing legend Muhammad Ali will make his last visit to the UK next month to bid his fans an emotional farewell, reports The Mirror.

Ali, 67, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, will make appearances at dinners held in his honour in London, Stoke and Manchester.

The plans were put in place after doctors told him he would not be well enough much longer to fly.

They warned the frail star that the trip could put him under enormous physical strain.

But Ali said: "The UK is very close to my heart. I want to visit one last time not only to raise awareness and funds for the Muhammad Ali Centre, but also to say goodbye in person to such a wonderful country and to all my friends and fans here, in case my health makes such a journey impossible in the future."

He will also visit boxer Ricky Hatton's gym in Manchester. The British light welterweight champ has described Ali as his inspiration.

Ali is hoping to raise support and funding for his various charities including the Muhammad Ali Centre, which opened in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky in 2005.

His wife, Lonnie, 52, will accompany him on the trip.

The three-time world heavyweight champion was last in the UK in December 1999 when he was named BBC Sportsman of the Century.

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1984 at the age of 42 but has since ploughed his energies into travelling the world and raising money for charity. (ANI)

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Story first published: Friday, July 3, 2009, 13:00 [IST]
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