How Successful Was Boxer Laila Ali – The Daughter of Muhammad Ali?

Published 10/19/2021, 9:23 AM EDT


In 27 years of amateur and professional boxing, Muhammad Ali racked up a total of 114 wins. Even though he had a couple of blemishes on his record, boxing fans absolutely loved Ali.

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The charisma and his ‘float like a butterfly sting like a bee’ approach set him apart from the rest of the boxing world.

Looking back at clips of him coming face to face with the likes of Sonny Liston and Joe Frazier at conferences clearly indicates that fear was never an option for Ali.

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However, there was one who matched every trait that Ali possessed – his own daughter.

My dad met his match when he had me, OK. That’s the funny thing. My father met his match and he knew it,said Laila Ali.

And sure enough, two decades after her birth, Laila Ali would go on to step inside the boxing ring. Here’s everything you need to know about Laila Ali’s boxing career-

Muhammad Ali did not want his daughter to fight in the ring

When Laila Ali entered the boxing world, many thought she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps. Turns out, the thought of becoming a boxer like her dad never really crossed her mind even once.

So, what really got her into boxing?

A lot of people assume I started fighting because my father was a fighter. And I actually didn’t have the idea to even step into the ring until I saw women’s boxing on television for the first time. I mean, they walked out of the ring with blood all over them and everything, and I was like, ‘That’s for me! I want to do that’,said Laila Ali.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for her. When the boxing legend asked his daughter about her plans of pursuing the sweet science, he let her know that he wasn’t comfortable with her decision. Laila Ali recalls her father asking her what would happen if she gets knocked down in the ring, her response to him was the first indicator of her champion mentality-

Well, if I get knocked down, I’m going to get back up, just like you did“.

Muhammad Ali knew right from the get-go that his daughter was a lot like him – charismatic, confident, opinionated, and fearless. However, he simply did not want to see his child go through all of the pain and hardships of being a professional fighter.

How successful was Laila Ali in the ring?

To date, Laila Ali is regarded as one of the most successful female boxers of all time. She started training in secrecy at the age of 19 and after three years, she made her pro-boxing debut in 1999 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona against April Fowler.

Even though it was her first time fighting professionally, she ended her debut in 31 seconds with a mean knockout. She looked at her father, who was in attendance, as it all unfolded and she just knew that she had made him proud.

Muhammad Ali then even met his daughter backstage and told her, “girl, you’re bad”. 

Laila Ali would then move on to tear through some of the super middleweight division’s top contenders. She won her first title in 2002 by defeating Suzette Taylor by TKO. However, this would not be her last.

Ali then went on to prove to the world that she was much more than just the daughter of a boxing legend; she took on tough challenges and bagged multiple world titles along the way.

Despite several health complications due to Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali continued to show up to watch his daughter fight and grow in the sport.

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Ali finally retired from boxing at the age of 30 in 2007. She left the sport undefeated with 24 clean wins and multiple world titles under her belt.

Today, she is a television and internet personality and continues to inspire many to live a healthy lifestyle and follow their passions.

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Is Laila Ali above Claressa Shields, Amanda Serrano, and Katie Taylor in the greatest of all-time rankings? Do share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Sanjit Misra

472 articles

Sanjit Misra is a boxing author at EssentiallySports. Sanjit fused his passion for writing with his love for jabs, hooks, and uppercuts and entered the realm of boxing journalism. The elegance, the sweet science, and the finesse of hand-to-hand combat was what initially drew him into the world of boxing.

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