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Boxing fan meets Muhammad Ali in chance encounter

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Tony Kelly met Muhammad Ali after knocking on his door in Louisville, KY on Jan. 17. (Tony Kelly/WDRB 41)

A knock on a door turned into a chance encounter with "The Greatest" for a Louisville, KY plumber. 

Tony Kelly was working on a repair job on Jan. 17 when his colleagues claimed Muhammad Ali lived at a neighbouring home, according to WDRB 41.

"It was just a normal day at work and [the] guys were joking around with me telling me how [Ali] lived next door and I didn't really believe them at the start," he said.

Kelly is a fan of the former champion boxer and though skeptical of his co-workers' claim, he knocked on the door.

"Mr. Ali's wife, Yolanda, answered the door and I explained to her I was a fan from Ireland and she said Muhammad would love to meet an Irish fan," Kelly said. "She told me to come back in an hour's time."

When Kelly returned, he was star-struck by "The Greatest," who turned 72 that day.

"It was just great to meet him. I shook his hand. He posed for a couple pictures with me," Kelly said.

After posting an image with Ali on Facebook, Kelly has been inundated with phone calls and messages from friends and family in Ireland as well as Irish media.

"I was over the moon," he told the Irish Independent about the encounter.

"I honestly thought it was a wind-up so it was a shock to meet Ali and his lovely wife. They were so pleasant," he said.

Have you ever had a chance encounter with a celebrity or sports legend? If so, who? 

Tags: Kentucky, Louisville, Muhammad Ali, The Greatest

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