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1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki On-Site Poster

1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki On-Site Poster

On 6/26/76, Muhammad Ali fought Antonio Inoki in a wrestler vs boxer match in Tokyo, Japan. Antonio Inoki, the top wrestling star in Japan, was trying to prove that professional wrestling was the greatest form of martial arts. Prior to this match, he had beaten Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Willem Ruska. Muhammad Ali was the World Boxing champion. A year earlier he beat Joe Frazier in “The Thrilla in Manila.” Antonio Inoki was a pioneer of mixed martial arts and has faced many opponents from all dominant disciplines of combat from various parts of the world, such as Akram Pahalwan in Pakistan, Willie Williams of Kyokushin Karate, Olympic judo gold medalist Willem Ruska and WBA and WBC World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali. Though many of Inoki's matches were dismissed by the skeptics as worked, there has been little or no proof at all to suggest the validity of the worked theory and Inoki's mixed martial arts opponents have never stated that the matches were "fake". Most of the skepticism arose from the fact that Inoki was a professional wrestler, which automatically led to an assumption that the matches might have been worked. This has yet to dent the image of Inoki in the eyes of the Japanese fans, where he is still viewed as a very legitimate wrestler.[2]The worked theory also arises from Inoki's match with Muhammad Ali. Inoki initially promised Ali a worked match to get him to fight in Japan, but when the deal materialized Ali's camp feared that Inoki would turn the fight into a shoot, which many believe was Inoki's intention. Ali visited a professional wrestling match involving Inoki and witnessed Inoki's grappling ability. This led Ali's camp to restrict the fight to striking rules only, with grappling disallowed.In the match, Ali landed a total of six punches to Inoki and Inoki kept to his back in a defensive position almost the full duration of the match, hitting Ali with a low kick repeatedly. The bout ended in a draw, 3-3. Ali left without a press conference and suffered damage to his legs as a result of Inoki's repeated leg kicks. Offered here is a scarce on site poster to this event. The poster has graphic depictions of both fighters and is in Japanese. The poster is paper measuring 20 1/4 x 28 3/4. It is in excellent condition with minor edge and corner wear and bold, vivid color.


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