Laila Ali

Laila Ali is, of course, the daughter of the late Muhammad Ali, arguably the most famous boxer of all time, and his third wife, Veronica Porche. However, Laila Ali become a boxing world champion in her own right, retiring undefeated, with a 24-0-0 record, including 21 knockouts, in February, 2007.

Originally, Laila Ali had no intention of becoming an athlete but, having seen women’s boxing on television, secretly began training to become a professional boxer at the age of 19. Three years later, she made her debut against April Fowler at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, winning by knockout after just 31 seconds of the first round.

Over the next two years, a further eight victories, all bar one of which were by knockout or technical knockout, followed. On June 8, 2001, Ali fought Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, the daughter of Joe Frazier, in a bout billed as ‘Ali Frazier IV’, hinting at the classic trilogy of bouts their fathers fought in 1971, 1974 and 1975. Laila Ali won by majority decision.

Ali won her first world title, the inaugural International Boxing Association (IBA) super middleweight title, with a second round technical knockout of Suzette Taylor at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada in August, 2002. In November, 2002, she defended that title and won the Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) and Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) super middleweight titles with an eighth round technical knockout of Valerie Mahfood at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, again in Las Vegas.

After defending her super middleweight titles on several occasions, Ali knocked out Gwendolyn O’Neil in the third round at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia in September, 2004, to win the vacant WIBF light heavyweight title. The following June, she beat Erin Toughill by technical knockout in the third round at the MCI Centre, Washington DC to win the inaugural World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight title.

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