Sugar Ray Robinson and the Boxing Bhoys. The day Muhammad Ali visited Celtic Park and got to meet Big Yogi

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A year later on 18 August 1965 the Greatest of them all Muhammad Ali visited Celtic Park after touching down in Glasgow ahead of his fight with Jimmy Ellis at Paisleys ice rink, the visit did not go as planned after he was booed and jeered by the fans, again this was a promotion campaign led by Glasgow boxing promoter Peter Keenan.

John (Yogi) Hughes one of the Celtic players who met Ali that day says “He was massive; a huge guy. I’m a big guy myself but he had a tremendous physique.

“He wasn’t there very long and we were a wee bit overwhelmed to be honest.”

“We were only young and he was a guy who, even then was, famous. I was only 22 at the time.”

“How would you like to look after Freddie?”  This was the question put to Jimmy Steel, the Celtic Masseur, and the Freddie in question was none other than Freddie Mills who went on to be World light-heavy weight champion who wanted Steelie to travel all over the world with him, He would say… “You’ll be a bigger sensation than me”.

Steelie’s time with Celtic spanned nearly 50 years, unpaid at his request I may add, working with managers like Jimmy McStay, Jimmy McGrory, through to Jock Stein and Billy McNeill, Ex-Celt Andy Walker once recalled a story that Steelie told him:

“Steelie was one of the characters who had a million stories and one in particular tickled me when he was recounting the times he had with the famous boxer Freddie Mills. Before one fight Freddie had been telling Steelie of how good he felt after one of his rubs. Jumping off the table Freddie declared himself unbeatable because he felt so good and invited Steelie for some shadow-boxing. Poor old Steelie was so tired after all the training and massaging that he couldn’t get out of the way of one of Freddie’s punches and ended up with a broken nose!”

Here, Jimmy is pictured holding a testimonial dinner brochure for World flyweight boxing champion Walter McGowan who hailed from Burnbank, the same Lanarkshire town as the Celtic manager, Jock Stein.

Pictured alongside Steelie in this 1966 photograph is Celtic Chairman, Sir Bob Kelly and Falkirk Director, Willie Palmer.

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