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Muhammad Ali's Bangladesh visit in 1978
Muhammad Ali, the magnificent heavyweight champion whose fast fists and irrepressible personality transcended sports and captivated the world, visited Bangladesh in 1978.
According to a documentary made of his trip called “Muhammad Ali Goes East: Bangladesh, I Love You,” some 2 million delirious fans greeted Ali's arrival at the airport in Dhaka.
During his stay in Bangladesh, Ali visited the Sundarbans, a world-famous mangrove forest, tiger preserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site; the splendid Sylhet Tea Gardens; the beautiful lakeside town of Rangamati; and the coastal district of Cox's Bazaar.
He even received Bangladeshi citizenship, courtesy of a passport. After, receiving the passport, he said: “If I get kicked out of America, I have another home.”
He staged a “boxing match” with a 12-year-old Bengali boy who “knocked him out” (to huge cheers and laughs).
Ali was also awarded a plot of land in Cox's Bazaar and had a stadium named in his honor.
In the documentary, Ali speaks of returning to Bangladesh and building a home here: “If you want to go to heaven, come to Bangladesh.”