Muhammad Ali funeral procession draws thousands to line roads

Fans gather outside boxer's childhood home to greet cortege

Muhammad Ali, louisville

Akera Price-King, 9, carries a sign saluting Muhammad Ali on the street in front of Ali's boyhood home | Photo: PA Images

Tens of thousands of people are in Muhammad Ali's hometown celebrating the boxing legend's life ahead of his memorial service.

Hundreds of fans gathered outside Ali's childhood home in Louisville, Kentucky, from 6am for a procession, which will see his body carried past important landmarks in his life.

The body of Ali, who died on June 3rd, aged 74, was carried to a hearse by pallbearers including boxers Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson and actor Will Smith - who portrayed the three-time world champion on the big screen.

People lining the streets could be heard chanting "Ali, Ali" and "I love you Ali" as the motorcade made its way through the crowded streets.

The procession will make its way past Ali's childhood home, the Ali Center, the Center for African American Heritage and then down Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

The procession will end at the Cave Hill Cemetery where Ali will be laid to rest in a private ceremony.

Some 18,000 free tickets for the interfaith memorial service at the city's KFC Yum! Center - which starts at 7pm (2pm local time) - were snapped up within half an hour.

Former US President Bill Clinton and comedian Billy Crystal will deliver eulogies, while Ali's wife, Lonnie, and daughters, Maryum and Rasheda, are also expected to speak.

Outside Ali's childhood home, fan Juan Vivar said being there was "a beautiful experience".

He said: "There's so much love out here and everyone is showing their respect and love for this great man. The greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali."