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American athlete Laila Ali, daughter of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, has established her own reputation as a boxing champion and television personality.
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American athlete Laila Ali, born December 30, 1977, in Miami Beach, Florida, is the daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. In her own career (1999-2007), she defeated some of the most prominent names in women's boxing, retiring with a 24-0 record. Ali has appeared on television as a fitness correspondent on news programs, a contestant on Dancing with the Stars and a co-host of American Gladiators.
"There are always going to be critics of women's boxing. We've been taught that women should be protected. A lot of people don't like women fighting, and I can understand that. But it ain't going to stop the show."
Laila Ali is the daughter of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and his third wife, Veronica Porsche Ali. She was born on December 3, 1977, in Miami Beach, Florida.
Ali grew up in Southern California with her parents and her older sister, Hana. After a troubled period in her teens, including time in a juvenile detention center, she earned a degree in business management at Santa Monica College. She worked as a manicurist while attending school and then owned a nail salon. She later recalled that she had been inspired to train as a boxer by watching a televised fight between women boxers Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty in 1996.
Ali made her professional boxing debut at the age of 21, on October 8, 1999, in a bout against April Fowler. She knocked out her opponent 31 seconds into the first round. Over the next eight years, she faced off against many leading names in women’s boxing. In 2001, she defeated Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, daughter of boxer Joe Frazier. In a nod to the longstanding competition between the two women’s fathers, the fight was publicized as ''Ali vs. Frazier IV.''
In 2002, Ali was named Super Middleweight Champion by the International Boxing Association, the Women’s International Boxing Association and the International Women’s Boxing Federation. Two years later, she added the International Women’s Boxing Federation’s Light Heavyweight title to her resume.
Ali’s final fight took place on February 3, 2007, in Johannesburg, South Africa. She knocked out opponent Gwendolyn O’Neil in the first round, finishing her career with a 24-0 record that included 21 knockouts.
Ali has also established herself as a multimedia personality. In 2002 she published the motivational memoir Reach!: Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power. She released a series of workout videos with famed boxer Sugar Ray Leonard in 2007, and she has appeared as a health and fitness correspondent on The Early Show on CBS. Her highest-profile television appearance took place during the 2007 season of Dancing with the Stars on ABC. In 2008 she began co-hosting NBC’s American Gladiators with wrestler Hulk Hogan. She competed in Stars Earn Stripes on NBC (2012), and she currently co-hosts the program Everyday Health on ABC. She also serves as president of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Ali has been married twice. Her first marriage, to boxing promoter Johnny “Yahya” McClain in 2000, ended in divorce in 2005. In 2007, Ali married retired National Football League player Curtis Conway. Ali and Conway have two children, son Curtis Muhammad (born in 2010) and daughter Sydney (born in 2011). Conway also has twin sons and a daughter from a previous marriage. Ali and Conway reside in Los Angeles.
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