Tom Jones recalls meeting his wife
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Sir Tom Jones, 80, has found himself stood alongside some of the biggest names in the world throughout his career. However, one moment that he remembers vividly was stepping into a ring across from Muhammad Ali.
He invited me up to his camp and said, ‘You want to get in the ring?’
Sir Tom Jones
Singer Tom had been a keen boxer during his days as a schoolboy before making it big as a singer.
While Muhammad, who died in 2016, was hailed as “The Greatest” in the sport, Sir Tom has been hailed as one of the greatest singers of his generation.
However, a chance encounter between the pair struck up a scenario that either could never dream of.
Sir Tom and Muhammad who died aged 74 became friends of more than 30 years after being introduced by Ali’s former business manager, Gene Kilroy.
It’s said that the former heavyweight boxer had been a long-term fan of Tom and would often visit his home while the singer was in the United States.
Despite their friendship, it’s said that one day, Muhammed believed it would be “fun” for Sir Tom to visit his intense training camp for a day.
Speaking of his late friend, Sir Tom said: “Yeah, he was great. He was a wonderful person, very clever, very smart.
“He invited me up to his camp and said, ‘You want to get in the ring?’ I used to box when I was at school, so we got in there, he said, ‘Just throw something’.”
The Sex Bomb singer went on to tell Jonathan Ross: “I said, ‘Alright’ and I threw a left jab and a right cross and they both connected.
“He threw a left jab, slow, and I could just feel the wind of it.
“Just to block his punches, he was just playing really.
“I thought, could you imagine being in there with him?”
The play fight that occurred in July 1980 saw Muhammad hit the canvas during their spurring as Sir Tom became one of few men who said that they knocked Ali down.
In a 2014 documentary titled I Am Ali, Muhammad and Tom’s mutual friend, Gene, admitted that it took some persuasion for Tom to visit the camp that he been nicknamed “Fighter’s Heaven”.
Gene said: “I remember Tom being asked if he’d like to do some sparring and replying ‘What? Oh no, no, no.’
“But Ali wouldn’t take no for an answer. ‘C’mon Jones, we’ll have some fun’”.
Recalling the iconic moment, Kilroy added: “So they both threw a few punches and Ali pretended to hit the deck – I took a shot of it and those pictures went all around the world.
“We got sacks of mail about it, letters saying things like ‘If Tom Jones can knock out Ali then maybe it’s time he hung up his gloves and retire.”
Kilroy who resides in Las Vegas continued: “Of course, Tom’s best known as a singer but he’s a pretty tough fella too.
“He’d be great in a street fight, I think, and if I could choose anyone to have next to me in a foxhole it’d be Tom – he’s a stand-up guy.”
Sir Tom recently created history by landing a number one album at the age of 80.
“They told me that it’s number one, I couldn’t believe it, I was thrilled to bits, after all this time,” he told Jonathan Ross.
Speaking about his age, the rocker went on to say: “I didn’t think about being alive at this age. 80 years old. Who knows? You think if I get there maybe, and here I am and here we are.
“I’ve always wanted to keep recording as long as possible, I want to sing as long as I possibly can. I’ve never really known life without it. I’ve always been singing since I was a kid.”
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