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‘He was an icon’: Toronto’s boxing community mourns loss of Muhammad Ali

‘He was an icon’: Toronto’s boxing community mourns loss of Muhammad Ali
WATCH ABOVE: Toronto’s boxing community is mourning the loss of “the greatest” boxer of all time. Erica Vella reports.

Toronto’s boxing community is mourning the loss of “the greatest” boxer of all time.

Muhammad Ali died Friday at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, but his legacy has left an imprint on both young boxers and those who lived through the champion’s glory years.

“He was an icon,” said Spider Jones, a former three-time Golden Gloves Champion inducted into Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame.

“He was an American symbol of courage and strength.”

Jones met Ali in 1966 when the three-time heavyweight champion came to Toronto to fight Canadian boxer George Chuvalo.

“He trained at Sully’s gym, so that’s where I first met [him],” Jones said.

READ MORE: Muhammad Ali, who riveted the world as ‘The Greatest,’ dies

Jones even had a chance to spare with the legendary boxer during the epic fight.

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“I was privy to the other side of the ropes. I was in with the other fighters and Muhammad Ali,” he said.

“It was big news. The most famous man on the planet was in Toronto to fight George Chuvalo. It was huge. I have never seen anything like it to this day.”

Boxer and referee Jennifer Huggins says she was heartbroken to hear of Ali’s death.

“My heart sunk… It feels like I lost someone so close to me,” Huggins said.

READ MORE: Muhammad Ali: A timeline of the life of the ‘Greatest of all Time’

“He inspired so many people in and outside of the ring to be either better boxers or better people. Just all around he was an amazing person.”

WATCH: Legendary fighter Muhammad Ali has died at a Phoenix-area hospital after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Boxing champion Muhammad Ali dead at 74
Boxing champion Muhammad Ali dead at 74