Derby

Jack Bodell: Muhammad Ali's boxing friend celebrated in exhibition

Muhammad Ali and Jack Bodell Image copyright Coventry Telegraph
Image caption Muhammad Ali opened Jack Bodell's chip shop in 1983

The life of a boxer who once convinced Muhammad Ali to open his fish and chip shop is to be celebrated at an exhibition in his hometown.

Jack Bodell, from Swadlincote, who died in November aged 76, famously beat Joe Bugner against the odds to be crowned British champion in 1971.

Mr Bodell invited his former sparring partner Ali, who died in June, to open his shop in Coventry in 1983.

South Derbyshire District Council said Mr Bodell was a "national hero".

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jack Bodell meets US heavyweight Jerry Quarry prior to a fight at Wembley

The boxer, known as "Mr Swadlincote", won his first British and Commonwealth heavyweight championship in 1969 before losing it to Henry Cooper in his first defence of the title.

However, despite everyone writing him off, he won it back a few years later after defeating Joe Bugner.

Mr McArdle, the chief executive of the local authority, said: "Fighting people like Henry Cooper for Commonwealth and British titles is something we take for granted now.

Image caption The exhibition of Mr Bodell's life is at Sharpe's Pottery Museum until February

"In those days it was quite special and there's an amazing amount of information we've assembled to celebrate his life."

Graham Nutt, from The Magic Attic, a local history archive, said: "[After] he sorted Bugner out... he arrived home the next day in an open top car and thousands of people lined the High Street."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Boxer Jack Bodell after beating Joe Bugner to become British heavyweight champion

Ken Land, a friend of Mr Bodell's, said it was his "down to earth" nature that persuaded Muhammad Ali to visit Knockout fish and chips, in 1983.

About 1,500 people visited the takeaway in Jardine Crescent on the day.

The exhibition is at Sharpe's Pottery Museum, in Swadlincote, until 4 February.

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