Muhammad Ali’s only son has vowed to continue his father’s legacy.
Muhammed Ali Jr has opened up about the late three-time heavyweight champion abandoning him as a child in the documentary ‘My Father Muhammad Ali’, in cinemas now, and despite his troubled upbringing, he’s vowed to carry on his father’s name.
He told The Sun newspaper: “I was born with the name Muhammad Ali, so I had to be protected because, later in life, my father said, ‘This is Muhammad Ali — when I’m done, he’ll take over’.
“Now I’m taking over the legacy. I’m going to keep the legacy going. I am Muhammad Ali Jnr.”
Being the son of a boxing legend wasn’t easy growing up, with his son bullied at school because he refused to show if he could fight like his father.
He said: “I got bullied because the other children wanted to know if I could fight like my dad.
“I never showed my technique to anybody and I never will.”
Ali – who was brought up by his grandparents – recalled there never being enough money to put food on the table as a kid, despite his father earning hundreds of millions from his bouts.
He said: “He was away a lot, so our grandparents raised me when I was a child. My grandfather was going to retire, but he had to work to pay the bills, the mortgage.”
Ali Jr turned to drugs but has since cleaned up his act.
He said: “I used to use weed and smoke crack and heroin.”
Other ways his 51-year-old offspring has carried on his father’s memory is by helping to launch The Muhammad Ali Legacy Continues, which is opening gyms in his name and campaigning against bullying.
Ali Snr was known for his humanitarian work as much as his boxing and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush for his work with the civil rights movement and the United Nations.
Ali Jr’s life is also being turned into a movie produced by the same producer as ‘The Irishman’.
He spilled: “A biopic is going to start filming on my life story later next year by the same producer who did ‘The Irishman’ with De Niro.”
Ali Snr was 74 when he died in 2016 of septic shock.
He had battled Parkinson’s disease from being thumped in the head over the years.