Laila Amaria Ali was born on December 30, 1977 to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and his wife Veronica Porsche Ali. Ali would follow in her father's career footsteps and achieve incredible success in boxing.
Laila Ali's first serious considerations regarding boxing came when she was 15 years old and watched a Christy Martin fight. She did not immediately pursue a career in boxing, however, choosing a path of education. Ali attended Santa Monica College and graduated with a degree in business. She was adept at business, and owned a Balloon and Halloween mask shop in California before deciding to become a professional boxer.
Her father, the great Muhammad Ali, initially strongly resented her ambitions of becoming a boxer, fearing for his daughter's safety in the profession. Ali did not quit, however, and told her father that she was determined to pursue her dreams and that she would be very careful in the ring.
Ali's boxing career began on December 8, 1999 when she had her first professional match, knocking out April Fowler in the first round. She ran off a string of eight consecutive wins and fans started talking about a match with George Foreman's daughter or Joe Frazier's Daughter, to mark a new chapter in the famous battles between the boxers and her father. Finally, on June 8, 2001, Ali squared off with Jackie Frazier-Lyde and won by majority decision at the end of eight rounds. This fight elevated her standing, but Ali took a one-year hiatus to pursue other interets.
Laila Ali used her education and the experiences that she amassed throughout her life to write a book, Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power, a book meant to inspire and motivate youth.
After her hiatus, Ali returned to boxing to win the International Boxing Association title with a second round knockout of Suzette Taylor on August 17,2002. On November 8, Ali defended her title and added the WIBA and IWBF belts to her resume with an eight round TKO win over Valerie Mahfood. In this year Ali began training with famed trainer Roger Mayweather, significantly improving her skills and was named the Fighter of the Year by the Women Boxing Archive Network.
In 2003, had a rematch with Mahfood and once again knocked her out. The year also saw Ali fight the woman who inspired her to start boxing, Christy Martin. She knocked her out in the fourth round; the first time that Martin had ever been knocked out. Ali continued to fight with great success amassing a record of 24 wins with no losses and 22 wins coming by knockout.
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