Leon Spinks has passed away at the age of 67.
Firm PR, a public relations firm that represents him, announced the news, saying that Spinks, who had been suffering from prostate and other cancers for five years, died with his wife, Brenda, by his side.
Spinks won the gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and then shocked the boxing world by beating Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in only his eighth pro fight in February 1978. An unranked fighter at the time of their bout, Spinks was chosen to be Ali's opponent because he was thought to be an easy victory.
Spinks retired at age 42 and finished his professional boxing career with a record of 26-17-3 (14 KOs).
Over the years, Spinks made a number of appearances in the world of professional wrestling. The first of which came for New Japan, losing to Antonio Inoki in their October 1986 boxer vs. wrestler match. Spinks then appeared in Memphis, facing Jerry Lawler at a Mid-South Coliseum event in June 1990. Finally, Spinks performed regularly for Japan’s Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling from 1991 through 1993.
Spinks was the brother of Hall of Fame former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks and the father of former undisputed welterweight world champion Cory Spinks.
Fightful would like to send its condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Leon Spinks.