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Antonio Inoki, a pioneer in combat sports, a powerful politician, and a larger-than-life character in his home Japan, died on Friday at the age of 79.

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The cause of death for Inoki was not disclosed, although he had been unwell in recent years and was confined to a wheelchair.

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Inoki was most recognized for his involvement in combat sports as a pro wrestler, promoter, and fighter, most notably his battle with Muhammad Ali.

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From the 1970s until the present, Inoki was the most significant professional wrestler in Japanese history, selling out innumerable arenas and stadiums.

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He was also the first Japanese wrestler to win the WWF title (though the reign was not acknowledged by WWE at the time), and he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.

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On June 26, 1976, Inoki faced Ali in what was maybe the most high-profile mixed-rules fight ever.

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Inoki had a history in amateur wrestling and judo, and he studied with catch wrestler Karl Gotch, where he developed a fighting strategy he termed "strong style."

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 Of course, Ali was one of the best boxers in the world at the time, and he was well-known across the globe.