World heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko on Tuesday expressed their sadness at the death of boxing legend Joe Frazier due to cancer at the age of 67.
Frazier, the former undisputed heavyweight champ during the heyday of boxing’s heavyweight division in the 1970s, was famed for his epic fights against Muhammad Ali.
He died late on Monday night after a brief battle with liver cancer.
Between them the Ukrainian-born Klitschko brothers currently dominate the heavyweight division.
Hamburg-based Wladimir, 35, is the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO champion, while Vitali, 40, holds the WBC belt.
“My brother and I are very sad about the death of Joe Frazier,” said Vitali in a statement.
“He was one of the greatest heavyweights.
“His three fights against Muhammed Ali are undoubtedly amongst the classics of the sport’s history.
“As a great champion and through his social engagements, Joe did a lot for the sport of boxing.”
Frazier won an Olympic gold medal in a brilliant career that spanned almost 20 years, but he was best known for fighting Ali in a famed 1970s trilogy of bouts, including the epic “Thrilla in Manila” finale.
Frazier, nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe,” captured two major heavyweight titles while taking on all comers, including Ali, George Foreman, Jerry Quarry, Joe Bugner, Oscar Bonavena and George Chuvalo.
Frazier finished his storied career in 1981 with 32 wins including 27 knockouts, four losses and one draw.
All his losses came at the hands of either Ali or Foreman, two other legendary fighters from that era.