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Rumble in the Jungle: Muhammad Ali championship belt sells for $6.18M

Rumble in the Jungle: Muhammad Ali championship belt sells for $6.18M
This is a Oct. 30, 1974 file photo of Muhammad Ali, right, as he stands back as referee Zack Clayton calls the count over opponent George Foreman, red shorts, in Kinshasa, DRC   -  
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Anonymous/1974 AP -

USA

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali's championship belt from his 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" victory over George Foreman has been purchase by NFL Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for $6.18 million.

The winner of the heated competition for the belt was Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, according to Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

The noted memorabilia collector Irsay announced the purchase Sunday in a Twitter posting, saying he was "proud to be the steward" of the historic World Boxing Council belt. He confirmed he acquired the belt for his collection of rock music, American history and pop culture memorabilia that is currently touring the country.

The belt will be displayed on Aug. 2 at Chicago’s Navy Pier and on Sept. 9 in Indianapolis.

The sale price early Sunday through Heritage Auctions, reported by Sports Collectors Daily, was called among the highest prices ever paid for a sports memorabilia item.

The 1974 fight was one of boxing’s most memorable moments. Ali stopped the fearsome George Foreman to recapture the heavyweight title in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) with an eighth-round knockout to reclaim the world heavyweight crown.

Ali, who died in 2016 at age 74, kept the WBC crown until losing to Leon Spinks in 1978.

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