Former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks Jr. dies at 67

Sports

LAS VEGAS (NewsNation Now) — Former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks Jr. has died after battling prostate and other cancers. He was 67.

Picture taken on July 1976 at Montreal showing American Lignt heavyweight boxer Leon Spinks (R) on the ring at the end of his fight as part of the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. (Photo by – / AFP) (Photo credit should read -/AFP via Getty Images)

Spinks died Friday night, according to a release from a public relations firm. His wife, Brenda Glur Spinks, and a few close friends and other family members were by his side when he passed away.

“Leon will be remembered as a beloved husband, father and brother. Leon served our country in the United States Marine Corps, who he proudly represented when he won a Gold Medal in the Montreal Olympics in 1976, But Leon truly cemented his place in history on February 15, 1978, in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he shocked the world by beating Muhammed Ali, to become the undisputed World Heavyweight Boxing champion Leon entered that fight with only seven prior professional fights, weighing only 197 pounds and being outweighed by over 25 pounds. Leon fought 72 professional fights, winning 46 of them.”

STATEment on behalf of brenda glur spinks

Spinks won gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. But he rose in prominence when he beat Muhammed Ali for the heavyweight title in 1978.

Spinks had only seven professional fights under his belt when he got into the ring with Ali.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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