Laila Amaria Ali (born December 30, 1977) is a retired American professional boxer. She is the daughter of retired heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali of his third wife, Veronica Porsche Ali. Laila is the second to last of her father's nine children and his youngest daughter.
Ali began boxing when she was 15 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. On the show Ali shared, "I've been contemplating doing it since I was 18, ever since I found out that women boxed."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.
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 pay-per-view match between two black women. During that match, Joe Frazier (Jackie's father) was there to watch his daughter fight. Muhammad Ali (Laila's father) was not there but Laila's mother Veronica Ali was present to watch the fight.
After a year's hiatus, on June 7, 2002 Ali beat Shirvelle Williams in a six-round decision.
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 O'Neil (whom she had earlier canceled a fight against) by a knockout in three rounds, at Atlanta, Georgia. Ali's success led her into a TV show guest star spot in a boxing episode of George Lopez.
On February 1, 2005 in Atlanta, Ali scored a commanding and decisive eighth-round technical knockout over Cassandra Geigger in a ten-round fight.
On June 11, 2005, on the undercard to the Tyson-Kevin McBride fight, Ali pounded Erin Toughill into submission in round three to remain undefeated and won the World Boxing Council title in addition to defending her WIBA crown. (The Ali-Toughill bout is considered one of the most violent female to female fights in history.) 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.
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. However, the fight with Wolfe never materialized. Instead, on November 11, 2006, Ali fought and defeated Shelley Burton by TKO in the fourth round. Ali was rescheduled to fight O’Neil in Cape Town, on August 5, 2006, but she[who?]pulled out amid allegations of fraud.Additionally, the local promoter could not raise the final $1,325,000 installment of her $1,525,000 purse.The South African government is investigating the fraud allegations, according to an exposé in the Cape Times.
|24 Wins (21 knockouts, 3 decisions), 0 Losses (0 decisions, 0 retirement), 0 Draws|
|Win||24-0-0||Gwendolyn O'Neil||TKO||1||2007-02-03||Kempton Park, South Africa|
|Win||23-0-0||Shelley Burton||TKO||4||2006-11-11||New York, New York|
|Win||22-0-0||Åsa Sandell||TKO||5||2005-12-17||Berlin, Germany|
|Win||21-0-0||Erin Toughill||TKO||3||2005-06-11||Washington, D.C.|
|Win||20-0-0||Cassandra Giger||8||2005-02-11||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Win||19-0-0||Gwendolyn O'Neil||KO||3||2004-09-24||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Win||18-0-0||Monica Nunez||TKO||9||2004-07-30||Louisville, Kentucky|
|Win||17-0-0||Nikki Eplion||TKO||3||2004-07-17||Bowie, Maryland|
|Win||16-0-0||Christy Martin||KO||4||2003-08-23||Biloxi, Mississippi|
|Win||15-0-0||Valerie Mahfood||TKO||6||2003-06-21||Los Angeles, California|
|Win||14-0-0||Mary Ann Almager||TKO||4||2003-02-14||Louisville, Kentucky|
|Win||13-0-0||Valerie Mahfood||TKO||8||2002-11-08||Las Vegas, Nevada||WIBA, IWBF & IBA title match|
|Win||12-0-0||Suzette Taylor||TKO||2||2002-08-17||Las Vegas, Nevada||IBA title match|
|Win||11-0-0||Shirvelle Williams||UD||6||2002-06-07||Southaven, Mississippi|
|Win||10-0-0||Jacqui Frazier-Lyde||MD||8||2001-06-08||Verona, New York||First Pay Per View boxing card ever to be headlined by women|
|Win||9-0-0||Christine Robinson||TKO||5||2001-03-02||Verona, New York|
|Win||8-0-0||Kendra Lenhart||UD||6||2000-10-20||Auburn Hills, Michigan||First time opponent went the distance|
|Win||7-0-0||Marjorie Jones||TKO||1||2000-06-15||Universal City, California|
|Win||6-0-0||Kristina King||TKO||4||2000-04-02||Guangzhou, China|
|Win||5-0-0||Karen Bill||TKO||3||2000-04-08||Detroit, Michigan||Ali hit the canvas for the first time in her career|
|Win||4-0-0||Crystal Arcand||KO||1||2000-03-07||Windsor, Ontario|
|Win||3-0-0||Nicolyn Armstrong||TKO||2 (60)||1999-12-10||Detroit, Michigan|
|Win||2-0-0||Shadina Pennybaker||TKO||4||1999-10-11||Chester, West Virginia||Pennybaker's pro debut|
|Win||1-0-0||April Fowler||KO||1 (15)||1999-12-08||Verona, New York||Ali's pro debut|