Laila Amaria Ali is a former professional boxer who was into boxing from 1999 to 2007. Laila Ali is the daughter of the legendary champion Muhammad Ali. In her boxing career span, she held the WIBA, WBC, IWBF and IBA female super middleweight titles, and the IWBF light heavyweight title.She retired undefeated.
Laila Amaria Ali was born on 30th December, 1977, in Miami Beach, Florida. She is the the daughter of famous boxer Muhammad Ali and his third wife, Veronica Porché Ali.She was a manicurist by profession at the age 16. She did her graduation from California’s Santa Monica College with a business degree. Before she started boxing as a career, she started her own nail salon.
Laila Ali began boxing at the age of 18. She was first noticed years old, after having first noticed women’s boxing when watching a Christy Martin fight. She first publicized her decision to become a professional boxer in a Good Morning America interview with Diane Sawyer. When she first told her father, Muhammad Ali that she was planning to box professionally, he was unhappy about her entering such a dangerous profession.
In her first match, on October 8, 1999, the 5’10”, 166 lbs, 21-year-old Ali boxed April Fowler of Michigan City, Indiana. They fought at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino on the Oneida Indian Nation in Verona, New York. Although this was Ali’s first match, many journalists and fans attended, largely because she was Muhammad Ali’s daughter. Attention to Ali’s ring debut was further boosted because it occurred on the eve of what was supposed to be the first male-female professional bout ever to be sanctioned by a US state boxing commission … later ruled an exhibition. As WomenBoxing.com explains: “The near-alignment of the two events focused more attention on female professional boxing than there had been since Christy Martin’s 1996 pay-per-view fight with Deirdre Gogarty.” Ali knocked out April Fowler – described by WomenBoxing.com as an “out-of-shape novice” – in the first round.
Ali also won her second match by a TKO with only 3 seconds left on the clock. In that match her opponent was 5’4″ Shadina Pennybaker, from Pittsburgh, who was making a pro debut after earning a 2–1 record as an amateur. They fought at the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort in Chester, West Virginia.
Ali captured eight wins in a row and many boxing fans expressed a desire to see her square off in a boxing ring with George Foreman’s daughter, Freeda Foreman or Joe Frazier’s daughter, Jackie Frazier-Lyde. On the evening of June 8, 2001, Ali and Frazier finally met. The fight was nicknamed Ali/Frazier IV in allusion to their fathers’ famous fight trilogy. Ali won by a majority judges’ decision in eight rounds. This match by Ali and Frazier was the first main-event pay-per-view match between two women.
After a year’s hiatus, on June 7, 2002, Ali beat Shirvelle Williams in a six-round decision.
She won the IBA title with a second-round knockout of Suzette Taylor on August 17, 2002, in Las Vegas.
On November 8, she retained that title and unified the crown by adding the WIBA and IWBF belts with an eight-round TKO win over her division’s other world champion, Valerie Mahfood, in Las Vegas. Ali stopped a bloodied Mahfood in eight rounds.
On June 21, 2003, Mahfood and Ali fought a rematch, this time in Los Angeles. Once again bloodied by Ali, Mahfood lost by TKO in six rounds while trying to recover her world title. Nevertheless, for the first time in Ali’s boxing career, she suffered a bad cut on her right eyelid and a bloodied nose, inflicted by Mahfood, something no other female boxer has done to Ali to this day.
On August 23, 2003, Ali fought her original inspiration, Christy Martin, beating Martin by a knockout in four rounds.
On July 17, 2004, Ali retained her world title, knocking out Nikki Eplion in four rounds.
On July 30, 2004, she stopped Monica Nunez in nine rounds, in her father’s native city of Louisville, Kentucky. This fight was part of the undercard for the fight in which Mike Tyson was surprisingly knocked out by fringe contender Danny Williams.
On September 24, 2004, Ali added the IWBF Light Heavyweight title to her resume by beating Gwendolyn O’Neil (whom she had earlier canceled a fight against) by a knockout in three rounds, at Atlanta, Georgia.
On February 1, 2005, in Atlanta, Ali scored a commanding and decisive eighth-round technical knockout over Cassandra Geiggar in a ten-round fight.
On June 11, 2005, on the undercard to the Tyson-Kevin McBride fight, Ali defeated Erin Toughill in round three to remain undefeated and won the World Boxing Council title in addition to defending her WIBA crown.She was the second woman to win a WBC title (Jackie Nava was the first). Toughill and Ali disliked each other, and prior to the fight Toughill joked about Ali. Ali promised she would punish Toughill, much like her father did with Ernie Terrell back in 1967.
On December 17, 2005, in Berlin, Ali fought and defeated Asa Sandell by TKO in the fifth round. Following Ali’s hard right to Sandell’s face with 17 seconds remaining in Round 5, Sandell was struck by numerous undefended shots to her head. The referee stopped the bout with 12 seconds remaining. Muhammad Ali was in attendance and kissed his daughter.
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