The ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ was a world heavyweight championship title fight between the unbeaten reigning champion, George Foreman, and challenger Muhammad Ali, who had been stripped of his world heavyweight title after refusing to be inducted into the US Army in 1967. The fight took place at what is now the Stade Tata Raphaël in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on October 30, 1974, at 4am local time, to cater for American television audiences.
In his previous title defence, against Ken Norton in Caracas, Venzuela in March, 1974, Foreman had won inside two rounds and was expected to make equally short work of Ali. Indeed, Foreman said later that he had hit Ali ‘with the hardest shot to the body’ that he had ever delivered. Nevertheless, by adopting by what was dubbed the ‘Rope-a-Dope’ strategy, Ali leant back against the loose ring ropes and absorbed punishment with his arms and body, while constantly taunting Foreman into more and more powerful, looping punches.
As the fight wore on Foreman, who had not fought more than four rounds since winning by technical knockout in the tenth round against Gregorio Peralta in Oakland, California more than three years previously, visibly tired. As Foreman ran out of steam, Ali landed a series of increasingly potent counter punches, culminating in a right-left-right combination late in the eighth round, which knocked his opponent to the canvas. Foreman rose to his feet, but not quickly enough, and was counted out by referee Zach Clayton.
Watch the Rumble in the Jungle fight