New BBC Radio 5 Live podcast, The Fight Of The Century: Ali v Frazier available today on BBC Sounds

New BBC Radio 5 Live podcast, The Fight Of The Century: Ali v Frazier available today on BBC Sounds Part-factual, part-dramatic, this new BBC Radio 5 Live podcast will tell the story of how Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier went from friendly competitors to fierce rivals, all amidst an America racked with race riots, political assassinations and the war in Vietnam

"This project has everything - not only one of the greatest fighters to ever walk the planet, but a boxing match that became bigger than the sport and changed history. That's why Ali’s an inspiration, he stood for more than just sports" — Nas

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BBC Radio 5 Live

Over six episodes the series will take listeners on a journey starting in 1967, ending with a 1971 sporting event dubbed The Fight Of The Century.

Part-factual, part-dramatic, this new BBC Radio 5 Live podcast will tell the story of how Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier went from friendly competitors to fierce rivals, all amidst an America racked with race riots, political assassinations and the war in Vietnam.

Narrated and executive-produced by hip-hop legend Nas, the podcast will recount what happened behind the scenes building up to one of the greatest sporting events of all time, whilst also exploring the lasting impact The Fight Of The Century had on society.

From the gyms of Philadelphia and the canvas of Madison Square Garden, to the White House and US courts, this podcast goes far beyond just boxing. It tells a story that reaches to the core of America at the time, revealing issues that still reverberate today.

The episodes will use historical accounts, archive, eyewitness contributors and music of the time to depict what happened and set the scene.

For those moments where there’s no record of what was said or who was there, dramatic reconstructions will imagine the key conversations that could have happened. The production enlists a superb cast of actors, including Hamilton’s Trevor Dion Nicholas as Muhammad Ali and Aaron Pierre as Joe Frazier.

Nas says: "This project has everything - not only one of the greatest fighters to ever walk the planet, but a boxing match that became bigger than the sport and changed history. That's why Ali’s an inspiration, he stood for more than just sports.

"You take a man like that, a match between two undefeated fighters and put it against a backdrop of social unrest in cities across America, assassinations, the Vietnam War…and it's a big story. I want people to understand the scale of what happened on that night, and how it's shaped things since.

"Take the history, take the drama and add the music that mirrored the struggles of the time and you've got something special. It's a story like no other."

Phil Critchlow - CEO of TBI Media, says: "Nas is undoubtedly one of the greatest rappers of all time. He’s a brilliant storyteller with a personal passion for Muhammad Ali and what he stood for. Whilst the events portrayed in The Fight of the Century happened 50 years ago, they’re just as relevant in the 21st century and this series will explore the impact they had at the time and how they’re still felt today."

Richard Maddock, Commissioning Editor for 5 Live, said: "Exactly 50 years on from the historic 1971 fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, this exciting project will go behind the scenes of one of the biggest sporting events of all time. More than just a boxing podcast, The Fight of the Century: Ali v Frazier will tell the story of a rivalry that blazed amidst a turbulent period in American society."

The podcast will be available on BBC Sounds from Monday 8 March, which is the 50th anniversary of the fight.

March 8, 2021 6:05am ET by Pressparty  

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