Laila Amaria Ali (born December 30, 1977) is a retired undefeated 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. Ali began boxing when she was 18 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. 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. 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 Ali pulled out amid allegations of fraud. The match eventually took place in South Africa on February 2, 2007. Ali defeated O’Neil in the first-round by technical knockout. It was Ali’s last professional fight.

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