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Tuesday, 22 February, 2000, 14:06 GMT
Palace pride for Sir Henry

Sir Henry Cooper
Sir Henry said his knighthood was "something special"


Former heavyweight champion Sir Henry Cooper has finally been recognised for his contribution to boxing after receiving his knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.


It's the icing on the cake. It's wonderful to be the first knight in boxing - other sports had been recognised and now boxing has too
Sir Henry Cooper
The 65-year-old, who becomes boxing's first knight, said taking part in the investiture ceremony felt like a return to the ring.

"The old heart starts thumping and the adrenaline gets going," he said.

"It's marvellous and I'd like to thank everyone concerned. I've been to the palace on several occasions but this is special."

The ex-British, Commonwealth and European Heavyweight Champion's most famous fights were two losses to Muhammad Ali in the 1960s.

Cooper vs Ali Sir Henry twice lost to Muhammad Ali
He said his knighthood, awarded in the Millennium New Year honours list, was something of a surprise.

"I was slightly surprised because I already had the OBE and I thought that was my honour for boxing.

"It's the icing on the cake. It's wonderful to be the first knight in boxing - other sports had been recognised and now boxing has too."

He said his greatest achievement in his 17-year professional career which ended in 1971 was to win three Lonsdale Belts outright.

"It had never been done before and it's a record that hasn't been broken," he said.

Sporting stars honoured

Among other celebrities honoured was BBC sports presenter and former tennis star Sue Barker who received an MBE.

Sue, 43, said: "It's the best honour I've ever had. "I've won Grand Slam tournaments and I've been given broadcasting awards, but this is better than anything."

Sue Barker The BBC's Sue Barker was also honoured
Retired footballer Steve Bull, 35, who won 13 England caps and made 561 appearances for Wolverhampton Wanderers, scoring 306 club goals, received an MBE.

Britain's first men's world squash champion Peter Nicol, 26, collected an MBE.

Millennium Dome architect Michael Davies, of the Richard Rogers Partnership, got a CBE, and Good Housekeeping magazine editor-in-chief Patricia Roberts-Cairns received an OBE.

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See also:
31 Dec 99 |  Sport
Arise, Our 'Enery
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