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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

November 23, 2007

"Karl who?"

Filed under Life in Europe

That is how many reacted when the heavyweight title fight was announced in 1966. "Karl" turned out to be the only boxer to knock down Muhammed Ali in a title bout during Ali’s first reign as world champ.

German heavyweight Karl Mildenberger got his chance at the world heavyweight title on September 10, 1966 heavyweight title fight before a crowd of 35,000 in Frankfurt’s "Waldstadion". At the time, Mildenberger was the Europe’s heavyweight champion and Ali boxed outside the USA because no venue would approve a fight at home after Ali’s controversial comments on the Vietnam war. In typical Ali fashion it was supposed to be "Gute Nacht in Runde acht" ["Good night in round eight" – it rhymes in German]. But Mildenberger’s southpaw stance and concentration on body blows gave the champ fits for the first eight rounds, even dropping him to the canvas for a knockdown at the end of round six. Instead of being over in round eight, the score was even. But the last four rounds Ali prevailed, eventually gaining a TKO in the final round. After the fight, Ali admitted that it was his toughest title bout since having won the title against Sonny Liston. In defeat Mildenberger was celebrated as a hero. Karl Mildenberger turned 70 today.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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