The WBC championship belt that Muhammad Ali was awarded for knocking out George Foreman during the “Rumble in the Jungle” on Oct. 30, 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire was sold at auction early Sunday morning for $6.18 million. 

The winning bidder was Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. 

The NFL owner prevailed and paid the hefty price after outlasting several other bidders into the wee hours of the weekend, as bidding persisted until 4 a.m.

The belt was last bought and then sold in 2017 for $120,000, and $358,000 in 2016.

Heritage Auctions described Ali’s belt as “arguably the most important boxing award ever made available at public auction.’’ 

“Proud to be the steward!” Irsay wrote on Twitter. 

The belt derives from Ali trainer Drew "Bundini" Brown's storage lockers after the coach died in 1988. 

The auction house said the belt is one of the two known WBC belts that belonged to Ali. The other is held in a private museum and it’s not expected to be sold. 

The eclectic Irsay is a memorabilia collector who’s spent tens of millions on his possessions through the years, all of which are housed in “The Jim Irsay Collection.”

Irsay owns several of Ali’s fight-related items, including the robe Ali wore to the ring in his 1965 rematch against Sonny Liston after changing his name from Cassius Clay, the shoes Ali wore against Joe Frazier during the “Thrilla in Manila’’ in 1975, and the gloves Ali wore in 1966 against Karl Mildenberger. 

The belt will be publicly displayed on Aug. 2 in Chicago’s Navy Pier, and then in Indianapolis starting Sept. 9. 

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at] or on