Club tribute to Smokin’ Joe

A HEMSWORTH boxing club has paid tribute to sporting legend Joe Frazier, who died on Monday - just months after he worked with the club’s young fighters.

Smokin’ Joe - who famously beat Muhammed Ali in 1971 - became involved with Alpha Boxing Club as part of a project celebrating Olympic values.

Mr Frazier, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1964, died from liver cancer on Monday.

The media arts project, called Energize, was funded by Wakefield Council and ran by the One to One Development Trust.

It saw a number of sporting greats working with local sports clubs on how they can interpret the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence.

In his interview for Energize he said: “Being a black man at that time in the States during the Civil Rights movement there was only one way I could go in the Olympics and that was up, you earn respect and you must give respect.”

Dave Radford, Head Coach of Alpha Boxing Club, said “We have worked with the Energize Project to document the thoughts of some of the best boxers in the sport including Roberto Duran, Joe Egan, Tim Witherspoon and, of course, Joe Frazier, each of them has been very supportive of what our club is doing in the community and with Energize.

“Joe Frazier is a worldwide icon and we are very lucky he chose to support this arts project.”

Judi Alston, Chief Executive of One to One Development Trust, said “Joe Frazier’s contribution to the Energize project is very poignant as is his life story; he was a lovely man to have involved in the project.”

Energize will be launched next March.