BILLY Boston last night spoke of his joy after being named in the top 10 greatest black athletes of all time.
The Wigan legend features at seventh in the list behind some of the world’s most iconic sporting stars including Muhammad Ali, Jesse Owens and Pele.
Boston said: “It’s fabulous.
“When I was told about it, it was a complete surprise.
“When you see some of the other names on the list, it’s great that a sport like rugby league is recognised.”
The honour has been made by Sporting Equals, a fully independent body created in 1998 by Sport England in partnership with the Commission for Racial Equality.
Boxing great Ali tops the list, with American athlete Owens second and football legend Pele third.
Decathlon champion Daley Thompson, tennis’ Althea Gibson and football’s Andrew Watson are also ahead of Boston, with athletics’ Abebe Bikila (8th), Cathy Freeman (9th) and baseball’s Jackie Robinson (10th) completing the list.
Boston scored 478 tries for Wigan during a 15 year playing career at Central Park after moving north from Cardiff.
He has lived in Wigan ever since, though he has remained close ties to his Welsh roots and was a guest at Wrexham last Saturday for the 80-12 landslide Test defeat by England.
“It’s always going to be tough for Wales, because they don’t have anywhere near as many players to choose from,” he said.
This latest accolade comes just weeks after he was immortalised on a statue at Wembley.