According to interntional media, “New Japan Pro-Wrestling is deeply saddened at the passing of our founder, Antonio Inoki,” the company he started in 1972 posted on Twitter.
“His achievements, both in professional wrestling and the global community are without parallel and will never be forgotten.”Inoki became one of the biggest names on Japan’s pro-wrestling’s circuit in the 1960s. His fame went global in 1976 when he had a mixed martial arts match with boxing legend Muhammad Ali, billed as “the bout of the century”.The lantern-jawed, 1.9-metre (6-foot-three-inch) performer entered politics, winning a seat in the upper house of Japan’s parliament in 1989. He made headlines the next year going to Iraq during the Gulf War and intervening on behalf of Japanese hostages, who were subsequently released.The wrestler, who converted to Islam in 1990, was immensely popular in Pakistan as well. In 1976, Inoki was challenged by Pakistani wrestler Akram aka “Akki” and when he came to Pakistan for the encounter, he was surprised to see nearly 50,000 spectators turn up for the spectacle at the National Stadium Karachi.