Yesterday, I posted Sam Rowley's fantastic photo of two brawling mice on a subway platform that won the London Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year LUMIX People's Choice award. Also in the animals-that-fight vein is Aaron Gekoski's photo of a pugilist orangutan, a beautiful and ultimately tragic image that earned Gekoski a Highly Commended award in the Natural History Museum's competition. From the photo caption:
Orangutans have been used in degrading performances at Safari World, Bangkok – and many other locations – for decades. The shows were temporarily stopped in 2004 due to international pressure, but today the shows continue – twice a day, every day – with hundreds of people paying to watch the orangutans box, dance, play the drums and more.
Image: Aaron Gekoski/Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. Read the rest
This is such a beautiful GIF. Read the rest
On Saturday night, junior featherweight boxer Tremaine Williams won two regional title belts by beating Yenifel Vicente. Check out this astonishing clip from the eighth round when Williams masterfully ducked and dodged punch after punch. And don't miss the slow-motion replay below.
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Ukrainian professional boxer Vasyl Lomachenko jabs with incredible precision at a tennis ball attached to his hat. It's a neat training technique! All that's missing, of course, is a soundtrack of "Gonna Fly Now/Theme from Rocky."
In August 1963, Cassius Clay released a spoken word/musical LP titled "I Am The Greatest." This was before he became the heavyweight champion of the world and renamed himself Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam. Above is the title track from that album, which was also released as two different 7" singles. The first single's b-side was a song called "Will The Real Sonny Liston Please Fall Down," (released after Ali beat Liston), and the second was a cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," both below:
Muhammad Ali, three-time world heavyweight boxing champion and cultural icon, died today at 74. He was the greatest. From the New York Times:
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Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.
But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”)
Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition...
If there was a supertitle to Ali’s operatic life, it was this: “I don’t have to be who you want me to be; I’m free to be who I want.” He made that statement the morning after he won his first heavyweight title.
This is footage from the 45th annual Junior Boxing Program Championships, held in 1964. From History's Playlist:
The Naval Junior Boxing Program was founded in 1919 by Spike Webb, and was made available to the children of naval Officers and cadets stationed in Annapolis, MD. Children ranging in age from 5 through 11 and weighing 30 to 100 pounds were allowed to enter the ring and fight during these tournaments... This youth boxing club was meant to teach the children sportsmanship and how to have a strong body and mind under pressure.
Sock 'im! A right! A left! A ... gahhhh! You let 'im too close!