Laila Ali

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Laila Ali
Laila Ali by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Laila Ali in 2017
Real name Laila Amaria Ali
Nickname(s) She Bee Stingin'[1]
Weight(s) Super middleweight
Light Heavyweight
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Reach 70.5 in (179 cm)[1]
Nationality American
Born (1977-12-30) December 30, 1977 (age 40)
Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 24
Wins 24
Wins by KO 21
Losses 0

Laila Amaria Ali (born December 30, 1977) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1999 to 2007. She is the daughter of legendary boxing champion Muhammad Ali with his third wife, Veronica Porché Ali, and is the eighth of her father's nine children.[2] During her career, from which she retired undefeated, she held the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA female super middleweight titles, and the IWBF light heavyweight title.

Early life[edit]

Laila Amaria Ali was born December 30, 1977, in Miami Beach, Florida, the daughter of boxer Muhammad Ali and his third wife, Veronica Porché Ali.[3] Ali was a manicurist at age 16. She graduated from California's Santa Monica College with a business degree.[4] She owned her own nail salon before she began boxing.[5][6]

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.[7][8] She first publicized her decision to become a professional boxer in a Good Morning America interview with Diane Sawyer.[9] 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.[10]

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 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 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 main-event pay-per-view match between two women.

Ali modeling at the 2011 Heart Truth fashion show

After a year's hiatus, on June 7, 2002, Ali beat Shirvelle Williams in a six-round decision.[11]

She won the IBA title with a second-round knockout of Suzette Taylor on August 17, 2002, in Las Vegas.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

On August 23, 2003, Ali fought her original inspiration, Christy Martin, beating Martin by a knockout in four rounds.[15]

On July 17, 2004, Ali retained her world title, knocking out Nikki Eplion in four rounds.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18]

On February 1, 2005, in Atlanta, Ali scored a commanding and decisive eighth-round technical knockout over Cassandra Geiggar in a ten-round fight.[19]

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.[20] She was the second woman to win a WBC title (Jackie Nava was the first).[21] 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.[20]

On December 17, 2005, in Berlin, Ali fought and defeated Åsa 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.[22]

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.[8] However, the fight with Wolfe never materialized. Instead, on November 11, 2006, Ali fought and defeated Shelley Burton by TKO in the fourth round.[23] Ali was rescheduled to fight O'Neil in Cape Town, on August 5, 2006, but Ali pulled out amid allegations of fraud.[24] The match eventually took place in South Africa on February 2, 2007.[25] Ali defeated O'Neil in the first-round by technical knockout.[26] 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. WIBA & WBC Super Middleweight titles
Win 20–0–0 United States Cassandra Geiggar 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 IWBF Light Heavyweight title
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 4 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 Super Middleweight titles
Win 12–0–0 United States Suzette Taylor TKO 2 2002-08-17 United States Las Vegas, Nevada IBA Super Middleweight title
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
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 1999-12-10 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 2–0–0 United States Shadina Pennybaker TKO 4 1999-11-10 United States Chester, West Virginia
Win 1–0–0 United States April Fowler KO 1 1999-10-08 United States Verona, New York Ali's pro debut

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • 2012 - AOCA Awakening Outstanding Contribution Award[27]
  • 2005 / 2007 – WBC World Super Middleweight title(2 defenses)[1]
  • 2002 / 2007 – WIBA World Super Middleweight title(5 defenses)[1]
  • 2004 – IWBF Female Light Heavyweight title[1]
  • 2002 / 2004 – IWBF Female Super Middleweight title(2 defenses)[1]
  • 2002 / 2004 – IBA Female Super Middleweight title (4 defenses)[1]


Other top women's boxing champions such as Ann Wolfe (24–1) [28] have claimed in interviews that they have challenged Ali unofficially, but Ali found ways of avoiding them. Fringe boxing writers have expressed disappointment in Ali's perceived avoidance of some contenders.[29][30][31][32] 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.[33]


In early 2002, Ali appeared in a boxing role for the music video "Deny" by Canadian hard rock band Default.[34] 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,[35] as well as on Real Husbands of Hollywood.[36]

In mid-2007, Ali was a participant in season four of the American version of the television show Dancing with the Stars;[37] 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).[38]

Ali hosted the revival of American Gladiators alongside Hulk Hogan. The show premiered in January 2008.[39]

Ali and the cast of American Gladiators appeared on the NBC show Celebrity Family Feud in an episode that aired on July 8, 2008.[40]

Ali joined the CBS team as a contributing correspondent on The Early Show with her first appearance in early January 2008.[41]

She hosted The N's Student Body, a reality show on The N.[42]

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".[43]

In 2012, Ali was picked to co-host Everyday Health with Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca. The show aired on ABC Saturday mornings and profiled everyday people living with health issues, who aspired to not let their issues keep them from helping others or doing extraordinary things.[44]

Also in 2012, Ali appeared in a Kohl's commercial with a tag line, "I box to win; I shop to win.".[45]

Ali was a contestant on the NBC celebrity reality competition series called Stars Earn Stripes from August 2012 to September 2012.[46]

On February 4, 2013, Ali appeared on the 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 on maternity leave. In May 2013, Ali once again filled in for Rancic, who had other commitments and was unable attend the show.

In May 2014, Ali participated in an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap. She swapped places with singer Angie Stone and tried to instill healthier habits on the family.

In April 2013, Ali participated in two episodes of Chopped: All Stars, making it to the final round, competing for a favorite charity.[47]

In September 2013, Ali began hosting All In with Laila Ali, a new show in the CBS Saturday morning lineup "CBS Dream Team". The following year, she began hosting Late Night Chef Fight on the cable network FYI. In 2014, she appeared in the film Falcon Rising.

She was a participant of The New Celebrity Apprentice (also known as The Apprentice 15 and The Celebrity Apprentice 8) but terminated after 11th task.[48]

Personal life[edit]

In 2002, Ali wrote (with co-author David Ritz) the book Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power,[49] 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.[50]

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.[51]

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).[52][53] Ali is the stepmother of Conway's three children: twin sons Cameron and Kelton (born 1995) and daughter Leilani (born 1999).[54]

Professional wrestling legend Hulk Hogan credits Laila Ali with saving his life by telephoning him when he was depressed and suicidal.[55]

Although raised as a Muslim, Laila Ali does not follow the Islamic faith.[56]

Ali is the sister-in-law of professional mixed martial artist Kevin Casey, who is married to her sister Hana.[57]


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Laila Ali Awakening Profile". Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Laila Ali Biography". Women's Boxing. Retrieved November 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Laila Ali Biography: Athlete, Boxer, Television Personality (1977–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Orlando Shopping & Deals | Frugal Force - Orlando Sentinel". March 3, 2015. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Laila Ali on Boxing and Beauty". Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  6. ^ "KNOCKOUT: Boxing Champ Laila Ali Talks Beauty". Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  7. ^ Sachs, Mark (August 3, 2006). "My Favorite Weekend: Laila Ali; For her, nothing beats laying low". Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ a b "Episode 119". Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith. June 14, 2006. ESPN2. 
  9. ^ Cortez, Ion (March 29, 2012). "Sexy Female Boxers: They Will Knock You Down". Archived from the original on August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  10. ^ "My Father the Greatest of All Time". Fatherly. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  11. ^ Feour, Royce (August 17, 2002). "Laila Ali motivated by father". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 
  12. ^ "Full Mike Tyson-Danny Williams Fight Card". July 23, 2004. Archived from the original on August 25, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  13. ^ Bennett, Amy Beth (November 8, 2002). "Laila Ali takes two more title belts". usatoday. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  14. ^ Lewis, Mike (August 17, 2003). "Boxing: Ali's chance to knock out the critics". The Telegraph. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  15. ^ Borges, Ron (August 25, 2013). "Ali stands tall against Martin". Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Eplion falls in four". Associated Press. July 18, 2004. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Laila Ali vs. Monica Nunez Added To Tyson-Williams Fight Card". July 22, 2004. Retrieved August 25, 2013. [permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Laila Ali and Leticia Robinson win". September 25, 2004. Archived from the original on December 19, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Laila and Layla: Risk and Glory". February 13, 2005. Archived from the original on August 25, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Ali wins first WBC title". Associated Press. June 12, 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  21. ^ Gil, Rafael Soto (January 27, 2012). "Interview: Jackie Nava". Archived from the original on December 19, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  22. ^ ""Women's Boxing - Laila Ali"". Retrieved June 16, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Ali stops Burton in four rounds with father looking on". Associated Press. November 12, 2006. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  24. ^ Carroll, Rory (July 26, 2006). "Fraud claims over failed 'Rumble in Jungle'". The Guardian. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  25. ^ "'She Bee' flies in but stung by lack of fanfare". January 24, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Ali drops O'Neil early in first round, defends titles". Associated Press. February 3, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Awakening Outstanding Contribution Award". Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Leatitia Robinson Boxing Record". Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Anne Wolfe Interview: "Ali's legacy didn't live on through his daughter!"". March 14, 2007. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Is Laila Ali Running Scared From Ann Wolfe? You Decide!". Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Women's Boxing: Ann Wolfe Biography". Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  32. ^ [1] Archived July 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  33. ^ "Laila Ali is fed up with rumors and lies surrounding the delay of Ali Vs Wolfe Bout". August 31, 2006. Archived from the original on December 19, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  34. ^ Weiss, Neal Default Gets Inside The Head Of Muhammad Ali's Daughter[permanent dead link] Yahoo! Music (April 7, 2002). Retrieved on 3–24–10.
  35. ^ "BOXER LAILA ALI GUESTS AS CLUB OWNER TONIGHT". Akron Beacon Journal. March 26, 2004. 
  36. ^ "Former Boxer Laila Ali To Make A Guest Appearance On BET's 'Real Husbands Of Hollywood'!". September 25, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  37. ^ unknown (February 20, 2007). "Meet the New Cast of 'Dancing With the Stars". Dancing with the Stars. Retrieved February 21, 2007. 
  38. ^ "Anton Ohno wins Dancing with the Stars". May 23, 2007. Archived from the original on December 19, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Laila Ali and Hulk Hogan are confirmed as new presenters of American Gladiators". Gladiators Zone. October 31, 2007. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved October 31, 2007. 
  40. ^ "'American Gladiators' Attempt to Take on 'Celebrity Family Feud'". Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Laila Ali Joins "The Early Show"". February 11, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  42. ^ Schneider, Michael (November 5, 2007). "Laila Ali to host 'Student Body'". Variety. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  43. ^ Bryson, Carey (November 23, 2007). "Yo Gabba Gabba! – All new Episodes with Musical Guest Stars". Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  44. ^ "New Television Series, Everyday Health, Hosted by Laila Ali, Ethan Zohn & Jenna Morasca to Premiere on ABC Affiliates September 3, 2011". September 1, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  45. ^ Schafer, Jenny (May 25, 2012). "Laila Ali: "We Are A Kissing Family"". Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  46. ^ Reeves, Ronke Idowu (August 16, 2012). "Laila Ali on Beyoncé, Gabby Douglas, Drake and Stars Earn Stripes". Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  47. ^ Levine, Sara (May 5, 2013). "One-on-One With the Chopped All-Stars Season 3 Champion". FN Dish. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  48. ^
  49. ^ David Ritz & Laila Ali (June 2002). Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power (1st ed.). Hyperion. ISBN 978-0786868551. 
  50. ^ "REACH! Finding Strength, Spirit and Personal Power". June 1, 2002. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  51. ^ Alden, James (January 23, 2013). "Yahya McClain: "I wanted to ensure that the Ali image was not tarnished"". Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  52. ^ "Laila Ali Welcomes Daughter Sydney – Moms & Babies – Celebrity Babies and Kids - Moms & Babies -". Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  53. ^ "Meet Laila Ali's Daughter Sydney J. – Moms & Babies – Celebrity Babies and Kids - Moms & Babies -". Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  54. ^ References Ali's marriage and her stepchildren Archived October 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  55. ^ Hogan, Hulk; Dagostino, Mark (November 27, 2009). My Life Outside the Ring. ASIN B004S7QBIG. 
  56. ^ MSR Online (June 6, 2012). "Laila Ali one-on-one". Retrieved February 16, 2016. 
  57. ^ "Kevin Casey will fight at UFC 199 despite passing of father-in-law Muhammad Ali". 


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
Title next held by
Natascha Ragosina
New award 1st WBC Female World Super Middleweight Champion
November 11, 2006 – 2007
Preceded by
Mike Adamle (1989–1996)
Dan Clark (1995–1996)
Host of American Gladiators
with Hulk Hogan