KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo — Barthelemy Bosongo, manager of Tata Raphael Stadium, where “the Rumble in the Jungle” was held 40 years ago, reports that the ring used for the fight was stolen. A “leading” sports official of the country formerly known as Zaire, told reporters that the ring is somewhere in South Africa. At the time the stadium was called 20th of May Stadium.
“There are no signs left now of the fight apart from the two dressing rooms” where Muhammad Ali and George Foreman prepared before stepping into the ring. “I would have liked the stadium to become a place of history, where you’d find the dressing rooms, photos, gloves . . . but there’s nothing to remind you of the fight.”
The 40th anniversary of the famous fight, in which Ali scored an eighth round knockout, was held Oct. 30.
The stadium itself has fallen in disrepair over the years. It is known to suffer from water leaks in the gyms where Ali and Foreman trained. Bosongo said the facility is set for renovation by a company from China.
Local press made no mention of the anniversary. More than 100,000 packed the stadium in what then was considered arguably “the fight of the century.” Of course, that label also was used to characterize one of Ali’s fights with Joe Frazier as well.