South Jersey Artist Honors the Greatest Boxer of All Time – In Tree Form

Cumberland County’s James O’Neal decided to honor the greatest boxer of all time with an even stronger material – a tree. His life-size sculpture of Muhammad Ali, carved from a black walnut tree he cut down last year, stands at 8 feet, 3 inches.

O’Neal, a self-taught woodworker, announced the project in July. He’s been carving ever since, updating his followers on Twitter at each stage.

“When Muhammad Ali passed away, I saw how much he meant to the world,” O’Neal said during a TMZSports segment. “I knew he would be a good one.”

This isn’t O’Neal’s first boxing sculpture, though. Earlier this year, he carved UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor from a maple tree.

The Ali sculpture will be displayed on Friday at 2300 Arena’s Philly Fight Night.


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