Muhammad Ali 'Rumble' belt tops sale

The WBC Heavyweight Championship belt Muhammad Ali won in his 1974 Rumble in the Jungle bout against George Foreman has sold for $358,500.

The lot starred in a dedicated sale of Ali's memorabilia at Heritage Auctions.

Ali champion belt
Muhammad Ali won back the heavyweight title in 1974

The fight took place in Kinshasa, the capital of what was then Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).

The fight was one of the most important sporting moments of its era.   

Ali, then in his early 30s, was expected to lose to Foreman - who was both the undefeated world champion and a good seven years younger.

Instead Ali "rope a doped" Foreman over eight punishing rounds in the equatorial heat. After years in the wilderness he was back on top.

Heritage comments: "The historical significance of the piece, arguably the most significant boxing award ever made available at public auction, is quite simply immeasurable…

"It is a truly priceless artifact of the American experience, and of an American life as consequential as any thus far lived."

The shorts Ali wore during the fight also sold, achieving $143,400.

Meanwhile a letter he wrote in 1964 that features the first known reference to his conversion to Islam realised $131,450.

It's addressed to the staff of Life magazine, which wrote requesting written confirmation of his conversion.

Ali writes (sic): "I believe in the Religion of Islam which means: I believe there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is His apostle, This is the same religion that is beleived in by over 750 Million of our people through out Africa and Asia.

"And 750 Million is about 4 times as many people as there are in America."

Want your own piece of Ali memorabilia? Check out this phenomenal signed drawing.

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