Tributes pour in for British boxer Henry Cooper

Sir Henry Cooper

Tributes from across the world of boxing have been pouring in for former British heavyweight Sir Henry Cooper following his death at the age of 76 on Sunday.

Here, fellow fighters, promoters, and others from the world of sport and entertainment pay tribute to one of Britain's best-loved sportsmen.

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Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali

"I am at a loss for words over the death of my friend.

"I was not aware he was ill. I visited him two summers ago during a brief visit to Windsor as part of the Equestrian Games being held there. He was in good humour and looked quite fit.

"Henry always had a smile for me; a warm and embracing smile. It was always a pleasure being in Henry's company.

"I will miss my old friend. He was a great fighter and a gentleman.

"My family and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family and loved ones."

Britain's reigning WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye

"He was at all the charity dinners and what-not and we'd talk to each other and he'd give me advice and wish me luck, give me his opinion on what he thought I should do and it was always sound advice.

"He'd let you know his opinion - whether you wanted to hear it or not! - and I believe the advice he's given me over the years is working out because I'm now the heavyweight champion of the world."

Ireland's former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan

"He was a lovely fella, and I was a personal friend of him and his wife. It really is tragic news for the world of boxing, what a great man he was.

"He was full of encouragement for young boxers, I remember coming to London in 1982 as a youngster and I was thinking he wouldn't remember all the young fighters' progress but he told me: 'You've got great potential', which summed him up. I also looked up to him and his wife who were a great example of a family.

"I know he was 76 and had a good innings but he was such a great man and our thoughts are with his family.

"He was the first boxer ever to be knighted that is the greatest compliment of them all. I have no doubt if he had been around boxing in this day and age he would have been cruiser weight champion for many years.

"He had a terrific career after boxing he was just so full of grace, full of energy."

Britain's WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan

"He had everything. I remember meeting him a few times and he came across very humble, we had a good conversation about my own career.

"For me to be able to speak to a legend like that was great for my career and a huge privilege. He gave me great advice at the start of my career and it has proved very useful.

"Nowadays you get a lot of trash talking but Henry was known for one thing, doing his talking in the ring, he was like an animal in there, but respected his opponents outside of the ring. He never said no for an autograph and would stand there for hours. He was such a nice person.

"In my opinion he was in the top three heavyweights we ever had."

Boxing promoter Frank Warren

"He was a true gentleman and he epitomised true British grit, that's why the public took to him.

"He never won the title but he won everyone's heart and affections because of the spirit he had."

Boxing promoter Barry Hearn

"It's obviously very sad. Henry was the nation's favourite boxer and no-one will forget the punch that knocked over Cassius Clay.

"It was probably the most famous punch every thrown in a British boxing ring. That will live in everyone's minds for ever. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

"Henry had some great contests, some great English fight nights and he became everyones favourite boxer. He was the epitome of British sportsmanship. He will be missed and I will always have fond memories of a great British heavyweight."

BBC boxing commentator Mike Costello

"I was speaking to him a couple of years ago and it was clear he had become disillusioned with boxing, maybe 18 months ago we were at an event where there was women boxers and I remember he walked out of the room.

"He had his strong opinions and he stuck to them and that was the measure of the man. He gave up his radio punditry because he wanted straight, hard and fast boxing that he was used to from his times. When he became pro he had the personality that was ripe at that time."

Britain's former WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion Chris Eubank

"I'm the type of person who looks at a man's behaviour. It inspired me that Henry Cooper was loved by the public, and I wanted the same.

"There are many world champions who did not have the respect which he garnered. A world championship belt is one thing - it's a symbol. A lot of people mistake having a belt for being a champion, when in fact it is winning the heart of the people.

"Henry Cooper behaved as a champion which is why he was a champion of the people."

Retired chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson

"He was a wonderful guy, generous and funny and kind, and one of the best heavyweight boxers we have produced.

"I never met anybody who didn't like Henry Cooper. He was a very fine fighter, a good boxer, although a bit too light and he cut too easily - ultimately remembered for decking Ali in that spectacular fight.

"He was the best kind of athlete, the best kind of boxer, he wasn't boastful, he was genuinely modest and a gentleman.

"I think of him in the same way as I do Bobby Charlton - the two of them represent something which I think has gone out of sport rather, that kind of hero."

And on Twitter...

Britain's former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis:

"R.I.P. Sir Henry Cooper. Former British, Commonwealth and European Champion. My deepest condolences to the Cooper family."

BBC Sport's boxing writer Ben Dirs:

"Very sad news about Our 'Enry, a legend from a genuine golden age of heavyweight boxing. He'd be pretty handy nowadays, I tell you that..."

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