Died Inoki – participant of the “fight of the century” against Muhammad Ali


Antonio Inoki, the Japanese professional wrestling star of the 1960s who became a politician after ending his wrestling career, has died at the age of 79 after years of battling a rare disease.

“New Japan Pro-Wrestling is deeply saddened by the passing of our founder Antonio Inoki,” wrote the company he founded in 1972. “His achievements both in professional wrestling and in the global community are unparalleled and will never be forgotten.”

Inoki will be remembered by the world sports for the “Fight of the Century” against the reigning WBC / WBA heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. The fight, announced as the “War of the Worlds”, took place on June 26, 1976 in Tokyo, took place according to special rules and, one might say, was partly the “progenitor” of modern mixed martial arts.


For most of the 15-round fight, Inoki, lying on his back, kicked Ali 107 times in the legs.


The result of the duel, a draw, was discussed for a long time in the press and by the fans. The crowd at the Budokan threw trash into the ring and chanted, “Get the money back! Return the money! Almost no one liked the duel.

How did the era of the Greatest begin?

In 1989, a 1.9 m tall fighter, popular in his homeland, was elected to the upper house of the Japanese parliament, and a year later he traveled to Iraq during the Gulf War to pull compatriots hostages out of hell. His second entry into parliament was in 2013-2019.

Inoki was also remembered for his close ties with the totalitarian regime in North Korea: he traveled to a country isolated from the outside world about 30 times on various occasions, meeting among others with members of the DPRK Politburo, which caused scandals in Japan.

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