Laila Ali

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Laila Ali
Laila Ali at Heart Truth 2011.jpg
Laila Ali modeling in the 2011 Heart Truth fashion show
Statistics
Rated at Super middleweight, 72.5 kg[1]
Height 5'11 (1.81 m)
Nationality American
Born (1977-12-30) December 30, 1977 (age 36)
Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 24
Wins 24
Wins by KO 21
Losses 0
Draws 0
No contests 0

Laila Amaria Ali (born December 30, 1977) is a retired American professional boxer. She is the daughter of retired heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali and his third wife, Veronica Porsche Ali. Laila is the eighth of her father's nine children and his youngest daughter.[2]

Boxing career[edit]

Ali began boxing when she was 18 years old, after having first noticed women's boxing when watching a Christy Martin fight.[3][4] She first publicized her decision to become a professional boxer in a Good Morning America interview with Diane Sawyer.[5] 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. However, Laila assured him she would be fighting women, not men, and she had his genetics.[6]

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.[2]

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.[2]

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 pay-per-view match between two black women.

After a year's hiatus, on June 7, 2002 Ali beat Shirvelle Williams in a six-round decision.[7]

She won the IBA title with a second-round knockout of Suzette Taylor on August 17, 2002 in Las Vegas.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]

On August 23, 2003, Ali fought her original inspiration, Christy Martin, beating Martin by a knockout in four rounds.[11]

On July 17, 2004, Ali retained her world title, knocking out Nikki Eplion in four rounds.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

On February 1, 2005 in Atlanta, Ali scored a commanding and decisive eighth-round technical knockout over Cassandra Geigger in a ten-round fight.[15]

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.[16] (The Ali-Toughill bout is considered one of the most violent female to female fights in history.[17] ) She was the second woman to win a WBC title (Jackie Nava was the first).[18] 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.[16]

On December 17, 2005, in Berlin, Ali fought and defeated Åsa Sandell by TKO in the fifth round. The decision was heavily disputed. The audience booed Ali during her post-fight interview.[19]

While a guest on Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith on June 7, 2006, Ali announced that she would be making a world tour, and said that she was looking forward to fighting Ann Wolfe on October 2006.[4] However, the fight with Wolfe never materialized. Instead, on November 11, 2006, Ali fought and defeated Shelley Burton by TKO in the fourth round.[20] Ali was rescheduled to fight O’Neil in Cape Town, on August 5, 2006, but Ali pulled out amid allegations of fraud.[21] The match eventually took place in South Africa on February 2, 2007.[22] Ali defeated O'Neil in the first-round by technical knockout.[23] It was Ali's last professional fight.

Boxing record[edit]

24 Wins (21 knockouts, 3 decisions), 0 Losses (0 decisions, 0 retirement), 0 Draws
Result Record Opponent Type Rd, Time Date Location Notes
Win 24-0-0 Guyana Gwendolyn O'Neil TKO 1 2007-02-03 South Africa Kempton Park, South Africa
Win 23-0-0 United States Shelley Burton TKO 4 2006-11-11 United States New York, New York
Win 22-0-0 Sweden Åsa Sandell TKO 5 2005-12-17 Germany Berlin, Germany
Win 21-0-0 United States Erin Toughill TKO 3 2005-06-11 United States Washington, D.C.
Win 20-0-0 United States Cassandra Giger TKO 8 2005-02-11 United States Atlanta, Georgia
Win 19-0-0 Guyana Gwendolyn O'Neil KO 3 2004-09-24 United States Atlanta, Georgia
Win 18-0-0 Dominican Republic Monica Nunez TKO 9 2004-07-30 United States Louisville, Kentucky
Win 17-0-0 United States Nikki Eplion TKO 3 2004-07-17 United States Bowie, Maryland
Win 16-0-0 United States Christy Martin KO 4 2003-08-23 United States Biloxi, Mississippi
Win 15-0-0 United States Valerie Mahfood TKO 6 2003-06-21 United States Los Angeles, California
Win 14-0-0 United States Mary Ann Almager TKO 4 2003-02-14 United States Louisville, Kentucky
Win 13-0-0 United States Valerie Mahfood TKO 8 2002-11-08 United States Las Vegas, Nevada WIBA, IWBF & IBA title match
Win 12-0-0 United States Suzette Taylor TKO 2 2002-08-17 United States Las Vegas, Nevada IBA title match
Win 11-0-0 United States Shirvelle Williams UD 6 2002-06-07 United States Southaven, Mississippi
Win 10-0-0 United States Jacqui Frazier-Lyde MD 8 2001-06-08 United States Verona, New York First Pay Per View boxing card ever to be headlined by women
Win 9-0-0 United States Christine Robinson TKO 5 2001-03-02 United States Verona, New York
Win 8-0-0 United States Kendra Lenhart UD 6 2000-10-20 United States Auburn Hills, Michigan First time opponent went the distance
Win 7-0-0 United States Marjorie Jones TKO 1 2000-06-15 United States Universal City, California
Win 6-0-0 United States Kristina King TKO 4 2000-04-02 China Guangzhou, China
Win 5-0-0 United States Karen Bill TKO 3 2000-04-08 United States Detroit, Michigan Ali hit the canvas for the first time in her career
Win 4-0-0 Canada Crystal Arcand KO 1 2000-03-07 Canada Windsor, Ontario
Win 3-0-0 United States Nicolyn Armstrong TKO 2 (60) 1999-12-10 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 2-0-0 United States Shadina Pennybaker TKO 4 1999-10-11 United States Chester, West Virginia Pennybaker's pro debut
Win 1-0-0 United States April Fowler KO 1 (15) 1999-12-08 United States Verona, New York Ali's pro debut

Awards[edit]

Ali was named Super Middleweight Champion by the International Boxing Association in 2002[9] and Super Middleweight Champion by the International Women's Boxing Federation in 2005.[24]

Criticism[edit]

Other top women's boxing champions such as Ann Wolfe (24-1), Vonda Ward (23-1), Leatitia Robinson (15-2),[25] and Natascha Ragosina (22-0) have claimed in interviews that they have challenged Ali many times over the years, but Ali found ways of avoiding them. Boxing writers and fans have repeatedly expressed disappointment in Ali's perceived ducking the top contenders throughout her career.[26][27][28][29] However, Ali has contended that other boxers want unrealistic amounts of money and "play themselves right out of the deal" during negotiations intentionally because their names will have no value after they've fought Ali.[30]

Television[edit]

In spring 2002, Ali appeared in a boxing role for the music video "Deny" by Canadian hard rock band Default.[31] The video gained airplay on music channels including MTV2 and MMUSA.

In 2004, Ali appeared on the George Lopez show, where she owned a gym,[32] as well as on Real Husbands of Hollywood.[33]

In mid-2007, Ali was a participant in season four of the American version of the television show Dancing with the Stars;[34] she had no previous dancing experience. She and her professional dancing partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, were widely praised by the judges, receiving the first "10" from judge Len Goodman for their rumba. They came in third place in the competition, losing to Apolo Anton Ohno (with Julianne Hough) and Joey Fatone (with Kym Johnson).[35]

Ali hosted the revival of American Gladiators alongside Hulk Hogan. The show premiered in January 2008.[36]

Ali and the cast of American Gladiators appeared on the NBC show Celebrity Family Feud in an episode that aired on July 8, 2008.[37]

Ali joined the CBS team as a contributing correspondent on The Early Show with her first appearance in early January 2008.[38]

She hosted The N's Student Body, a reality show on The N.[39]

Ali also appeared in a 2007 episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, titled "Train", in a brief dance number, and on Love That Girl, episode 3.4, "Fighting Shape".[40]

In 2012, Ali was picked to co-host Everyday Health with Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca. The show airs on ABC Saturday mornings and profiles everyday people living with health issues, who aspire to not let their health keep them from helping others or doing extraordinary things.[41]

Also in 2012, Ali appeared in a Kohl's commercial with a tag line, "I box to win; I shop to win.".[42]

Ali was a contestant on the NBC celebrity reality competition series called Stars Earn Stripes from August 2012 to September 2012.[43]

On February 4, 2013, Ali appeared on NBC reality series, The Biggest Loser in the episode Lead By Example. In the episode, she boxed alongside Dolvett Quince's team consisting of Jackson Carter, Joe Ostaszewski and Francelina Morillo.

In March 2013, Ali started appearing as a co-host on multiple episodes of E! talk show series Fashion Police filling in for Giuliana Rancic, who was maternity leave. In May 2013, Ali appeared once again on another episode filling in for Rancic, who had other commitments and was unable attend the show.

In April 2013, Ali participated in two episodes of Chopped: All Stars, making it to the final round and duking it out for a favorite charity.[44]

In September 2013, Ali began hosting "All In with Laila Ali", a new show in the CBS Saturday morning lineup "CBS Dream Team". This program airs from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern and Pacific times. Check your local CBS affiliate listings for times when this show airs in your time zone.

Personal life[edit]

Ali was a manicurist at age 16. She graduated from California's Santa Monica College with a business degree.[45] She owned her own nail salon before she began boxing.[46][47] In 2002, Ali wrote (with co-author David Ritz) the book Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power,[48] meant to motivate and inspire young people. In this book, she confides that she felt isolated at times because of her parents' fame. Ali has also spent some time in jail, and describes her arrests and the physical abuse she experienced in jail. Critics say that Ali's book has a good foundation but she does not give the readers advice; rather she just talks about her own experiences.[49]

Ali married Johnny "Yahya" McClain on August 27, 2000. She met McClain through her sister Hana at her father's 57th birthday party. McClain became Ali's manager and helped guide her career. In late 2005, Ali and McClain divorced and McClain quit managing Ali.[50]

On July 23, 2007, Ali married former NFL player Curtis Conway in Los Angeles. They have two children together, son Curtis Muhammad Conway Jr (born August 26, 2008) and daughter Sydney Jurldine Conway (born April 4, 2011).[51][52] Ali is stepmother to Conway's three children: twin sons Cameron and Kelton (born 1995) and daughter Leilani (born 1999).[53]

American Gladiators co-host and wrestling legend Hulk Hogan credits Laila Ali with saving his life by telephoning him when he was depressed and suicidal.[54]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Ali, Laila; Ritz, David (2002). Reach!: Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power. Hyperion. ISBN 0786868554. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Like dad, Ali's daughter rules the ring, accessed: 2008-01-12
  2. ^ a b c "Laila Ali Biography". Women's Boxing. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Sachs, Mark (August 3, 2006). "My Favorite Weekend: Laila Ali; For her, nothing beats laying low". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ a b "Episode 119". Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith. June 14, 2006. ESPN2.
  5. ^ Cortez, Ion (March 29, 2012). "Sexy Female Boxers: They Will Knock You Down". amog.com. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  6. ^ TIMOTHY W. SMITH (February 23, 1999). "BOXING; Another Ali Enters the Ring: His Daughter". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Feour, Royce (August 17, 2002). "Laila Ali motivated by father". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 
  8. ^ "Full Mike Tyson-Danny Williams Fight Card". eastsideboxing.com. July 23, 2004. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Bennett, Amy Beth (November 8, 2002). "Laila Ali takes two more title belts". usatoday. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Lewis, Mike (August 17, 2003). "Boxing: Ali's chance to knock out the critics". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  11. ^ Borges, Ron (August 25, 2013). "Ali stands tall against Martin". boston.com. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Associated Press (July 18, 2004). "Eplion falls in four". ESPN.com. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Laila Ali vs. Monica Nunez Added To Tyson-Williams Fight Card". eastsideboxing.com. July 22, 2004. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Laila Ali and Leticia Robinson win". eastsideboxing.com. September 25, 2004. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Laila and Layla: Risk and Glory". eastsideboxing.com. February 13, 2005. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Associated Press (June 12, 2005). "Ali wins first WBC title". smh.com.au. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "Laila Ali". Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  18. ^ Gil, Rafael Soto (January 27, 2012). "Interview: Jackie Nava". fightnews.com. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  19. ^ Murphy, Melissa (November 1, 2006). "Laila Ali expects her father at fight". usatoday.com. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (November 12, 2006). "Ali stops Burton in four rounds with father looking on". espn.com. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  21. ^ Carroll, Rory (July 26, 2006). "Fraud claims over failed 'Rumble in Jungle'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  22. ^ "'She Bee' flies in but stung by lack of fanfare". January 24, 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  23. ^ Associated Press (February 3, 2007). "Ali drops O'Neil early in first round, defends titles". espn.com. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Ottawa Krav Maga". Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  25. ^ "Leatitia Robinson Boxing Record". boxrec.com. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  26. ^ http://www.eastsideboxing.com/news.php?p=10238&more=1
  27. ^ http://www.eastsideboxing.com/news.php?p=522&more=1
  28. ^ http://www.wban.org/biog/awolfe.htm
  29. ^ http://www.talkingboxing.com/interviews/2005/vondawardinterview.html
  30. ^ "Laila Ali is fed up with rumors and lies surrounding the delay of Ali Vs Wolfe Bout". eastsideboxing.com. August 31, 2006. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  31. ^ Weiss, Neal Default Gets Inside The Head Of Muhammad Ali's Daughter Yahoo! Music (April 7, 2002). Retrieved on 3-24-10.
  32. ^ "BOXER LAILA ALI GUESTS AS CLUB OWNER TONIGHT". Akron Beacon Journal. March 26, 2004. 
  33. ^ "Former Boxer Laila Ali To Make A Guest Appearnace On BET’s ‘Real Husbands Of Hollywood’!". humormillmag.com. September 25, 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  34. ^ unknown (February 20, 2007). "Meet the New Cast of 'Dancing With the Stars". ABC.com Dancing with the Stars. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  35. ^ "Anton Ohno wins Dancing with the Stars". showbizspy.com. May 23, 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  36. ^ "Laila Ali and Hulk Hogan are confirmed as new presenters of American Gladiators". Gladiators Zone. 2007-10-31. Archived from the original on 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  37. ^ "'American Gladiators' Attempt to Take on 'Celebrity Family Feud'". about.com. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  38. ^ "Laila Ali Joins "The Early Show"". cbsnews.com. February 11, 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  39. ^ Schneider, Michael (November 5, 2007). "Laila Ali to host ‘Student Body’". Variety. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  40. ^ Bryson, Carey (November 23, 2007). "Yo Gabba Gabba! - All new Episodes with Musical Guest Stars". about.com. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  41. ^ "New Television Series, Everyday Health, Hosted by Laila Ali, Ethan Zohn & Jenna Morasca to Premiere on ABC Affiliates September 3, 2011". sys-con.com. September 1, 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  42. ^ Schafer, Jenny (May 25, 2012). "Laila Ali: "We Are A Kissing Family"". Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  43. ^ Reeves, Ronke Idowu (August 16, 2012). "Laila Ali on Beyoncé, Gabby Douglas, Drake and Stars Earn Stripes". bet.com. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  44. ^ Levine, Sara (May 5, 2013). "One-on-One With the Chopped All-Stars Season 3 Champion". FN Dish. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  45. ^ http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features_fashionblog/2010/08/laila-ali-launches-fragrance-skin-and-hair-care-line-in-orlando.html
  46. ^ http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/blogs/beauty/2012/11/09/laila-ali-on-boxing-and-beauty/
  47. ^ http://hairshow.us/?id=articles&art=118
  48. ^ David Ritz and Laila Ali (June 2002). Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power (1st ed.). Hyperion. ISBN 978-0786868551. 
  49. ^ "REACH! Finding Strength, Spirit and Personal Power". publishersweekly.com. June 1, 2002. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  50. ^ Alden, James (January 23, 2013). "Yahya McClain: "I wanted to ensure that the Ali image was not tarnished"". fighthype.com. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  51. ^ http://celebritybabies.people.com/2011/04/04/laila-ali-welcomes-daughter-sydney/
  52. ^ http://celebritybabies.people.com/2011/06/10/meet-laila-alis-daughter-sydney-j/
  53. ^ References Ali's marriage and her stepchildren
  54. ^ Hogan, Hulk; Dagostino, Mark (November 27, 2009). My Life Outside the Ring. ASIN B004S7QBIG. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Valerie Mahfood
2nd IWBF World Super Middleweight Champion
November 8, 2002 – 2007
Current holder
2nd WIBA World Super Middleweight Champion
November 8, 2002 – 2007
Vacant
Title next held by
Natascha Ragosina
New award 1st WBC Female World Super Middleweight Champion
November 11, 2006 – 2007
Preceded by
Mike Adamle (1989–96)
Dan Clark (1995–96)
Host of American Gladiators
with Hulk Hogan

2008 – present
Incumbent
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Joey Lawrence & Edyta Śliwińska
Dancing with the Stars (US) third place contestant
Season 4 (Spring 2007 with Maksim Chmerkovskiy)
Succeeded by
Marie Osmond & Jonathan Roberts