The greatest showman on earth: Muhammad Ali will appear at a charity fundraiser in Dublin in August

Seconds out. Round three.

He first came here to fight Al Blue Lewis in 1972 and returned to Croke Park as a guest of the Special Olympics in 2003.

Now Muhammad Ali is answering the bell for a third time and will come to Ireland for a knockout charity night at the end of next month.

And while it might be a long way from his battles of Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manilla, the 'Evening with the Greatest' is certain to cause its own stir in Ireland.

The man who has spearheaded Ali's return to Dublin, Dundalk native Dr Pearse Lyons, confirmed last night that the function has been given the green light by Ali and will take place at the Ballsbridge Court Hotel on 31 August.

Lyons' company, Alltech, has recently established an Ali-Alltech fund to promote educational and humanitarian goals and plans to donate a portion of the funds raised in Ireland to the Jack and Jill foundation and the Irish Rugby Charitable Trust, among others.

"We got involved with the World Equestrian games and through that became sponsors of the European Equestrian games ... Ali has agreed to go to Windsor in England at the end of next month and I told Lonnie, his wife, I would love to get him to Ireland when he was so near," explained Lyons. "Like most Irish people, I grew up listening to his fights with Floyd Patterson, Joe Bugner and Sonny Liston on radio and I went to see him in 1972. So it is a sort of life achievement to get him back to Ireland.

"I think we will have a really successful night with a lot of Irish business people and sport stars having the chance to dine in the presence of a man voted the greatest sporting icon of the 20th century. You don't get opportunities like those very often."

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