Born: December 30, 1977
Famous For: Undefeated World Boxing Champion; Daughter of former Heavyweight Champion of the World Muhammed Ali; named one of People Magazine's Most 100 Beautiful People of 2007.
Key Accomplishments: Earned a degree in Business Management from Santa Monica College; Undefeated World Boxing Champion, Author; Model.
Significant Quote: "There's so many other things that I'm talented at, so many things that I could be doing, that I wouldn't be boxing if it wasn't what I loved to do."
Fun Quote: "I didn't even know that women boxed. And then when I saw it for the first time I wanted to do it."
See Also Links:
- Women's Boxing Archive
Laila Ali was born December 30, 1977 to former Heavyweight Champion of the World Muhammed Ali and his third wife, Veronica Porsche Anderson. She is currently the women's boxing Triple Crown Super Middleweight Champion as well as a contestant on ABC's popular Dancing with the Stars.
Ali earned a degree in Business Management at Santa Monica College and then went on to own and operate a successful nail salon in California. She had planned to attend the University of Southern California Business School, but after watching women's boxing on television for the first time, she decided to become a boxer. Approximately a year later, Ali sold her business and started training to become a professional fighter.
Ali made her professional boxing debut on October 8, 1999, at the age of 21. She insisted that the press not record videos of this fight. Her opponent, April Fowler, was a 0-1 fighter who worked as a waitress. 31 seconds into the 1st round, she knocked out her opponent, April Fowler. After Ali's pro debut, she told reporters that she had made her father proud, and that she would knock out every one of her opponents and that it was a promise.
Ali went on to win her next 8 fights by knockout, and in October of 2000, she beat the then-reigning champion Kendra Lendhart. She won 3 more belts in 2002. On August 17, 2002, she became the new IBA super middleweight champion after defeating Suzy Taylor in the second round. Then, on November 8, 2002, she won the WIBA and the IWBF supper middleweight titles after her opponent, Valerie Mahfood, forced the referee to stop the action at 1:14 of round eight.
Next, she had to beat Christy Martin, who was considered the best female fighter in the sport. On August 23rd, 2003, Ali knocked Martin down for the first time in 50 professional bouts, and stopped her in the fourth round.
In her last fight, on February 3rd, 2006, Ali knocked out her opponent, Gwendolyn O'Neal, in just 56 seconds. The bout, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, was attended by Nelson Mandela. Ali had the opportunity to meet him prior to the fight.
On February 20, 2007, ABC announced that Ali would participate in the fourth season of Dancing with the Stars. Her partner is Maksim Chmerkivskiy, and together they received the first 10 from judge Len Goodman for their rumba.
Ali also wrote a motivational book, which is called Reach!. She wrote the book to help inspire other young women. In it, she uses her own experiences and challenges as examples for her readers. She also loves to cook, enjoys Pilates, and has done some modeling, including appearances in Sports Illustrated, People, Ebony, Glamour, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Essence, ESPN the Magazine, and Time.
Ali is currently engaged to former pro football player Curtis Conway. They plan to wed in July, 2007.