Naseem Hamed: 'Muhammad Ali bigger than sport'

Prince Naseem Hamed, WBO world champion, is lifted high above the crowd after beating Tom Johnson on February 3, 1997
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Prince Naseem Hamed has claimed that Muhammad Ali is "bigger than sport".

Former world champion Prince Naseem Hamed has claimed that Muhammad Ali is "bigger than sport".

The former IBF and WBC featherweight king claimed that Ali's civil rights work in America during 1960s means he transcends not only boxing, but sport in general.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Hamed said: "People say an individual can never be bigger than his sport, but do you know what? Muhammad Ali is bigger than boxing, and bigger than sport.

"For me, the man was just amazing. I studied his characteristics, his style, his attitude and what he said and how he said it, the way he threw his punches, his movement. Everything about him, I absolutely loved.

"That's why for me, he stood alone on a platform that I believe could not be made by human hands. That [platform] was just for him. The rights that he stood up for in America at that time was just amazing."

Hamed, whose career ended in 2002, retired after 36 wins and one defeat.

Joe Calzaghe of Wales celebrates after his victory over Will McIntyre of the USA during their WBO World Super-Middleweight title fight on October 13, 2001
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