Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali.

Mike Tyson late addition as pallbearer for Muhammad Ali service

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Mike Tyson will serve as a pallbearer at Friday's memorial service for Muhammad Ali, it has been confirmed today.

It had been thought that Tyson, who shared a strong relationship with the boxing legend, would be unable to attend the service in Louisville, Kentucky due to a prior commitment.

However, per a report from ESPN, the former Heavyweight champion will now join Will Smith, Lennox Lewis and members of Ali's family in fulfilling the duty at a private ceremony at Cave Hill Cemetery in Ali's home town.


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According to the spokesman for the Ali family Bob Gunnell, again via ESPN, Tyson has been hit hard by the passing of his long-time idol and was concerned where or not "he could handle the emotions of Ali's memorial."

He has, though, now opted to be present at the service and took an overnight flight from Las Vegas to Louisville last night in order to pay his respects personally.

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Tyson and Ali shared a long-running friendship dating back to the 49-year-old's early years in the sport, and Iron Mike was amongst the first to pay his respects via social media when the news of Ali's passing aged 74 was confirmed last Friday.

Before the Cave Hill Cemetery service where Tyson will act as a pallbearer, fans will have their opportunity to pay their respects as they watch a 19-mile long procession involving 17 cars make its way through Louisville.

The procession will take in several key landmarks associated with the legendary fighter, including his old family home and 'the Muhammad Ali Center' - the museum in the city which bears his name.

Later, there will be a service at the KFC Yum! Centre where some 15,500 people are expected to be in attendance and the likes of Bill Clinton and Billy Crystal will deliver eulogies.

The multi-faith service comes after a Muslim funeral service took place on Thursday, again in Louisville. 14,000 people were present.


The sheer scale of events this weekend sum up just how much Muhammad Ali meant to so many, not only in the fighting world but beyond.

Speaking about his role today, Tyson's fellow pallbearer Lennox Lewis said:

"Its going to be (a feeling) of sadness but happy at the same time because we can only feel positive looking back at his life. I look at the situation and he's going to be in a better place.

"We're laying to rest another king - the greatest. Definitely the gates of heaven are going to open for him because he's done so much work on planet Earth."

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