Boxing: Ali's daughter prepares for fight career

Click to follow
The Independent Online
MUHAMMAD ALI'S 21-year-old daughter is considering following in her father's footsteps and trying to make a career in professional boxing - in the increasingly competitive world of women's fight contests.

"It's in my blood," Laila Ali said at The Orleans hotel in Las Vegas, where she was introduced in the ring during a promotion which featured women fighters over the weekend. The news will stir up controversy just as Ali generated controversy during his fighting days. Many believe the punishment the great boxer suffered in the ring contributed to his contracting Parkinson's disease on his retirement. And there is still considerable opposition to women's boxing . Recently the British Boxing Board of Control lost a court battle against the British woman Jane Couch before being forced to admit defeat and grant her a professional licence.

The Las Vegas promoter Tony Trudnich has high hopes that the younger Ali will turn pro on 19 March and fight exclusively for his Las Vegas Sports Promotions. Ali said she was still thinking it over, but added: "Women's boxing needs someone like me."

Ali, a student in Los Angeles and the eighth of Muhammad Ali's nine children, would fight as a middleweight. Trudnich said she has been training for about four months in a Los Angeles gym. Asked what her father thought of her plans, she said: "He's cool." Asked what her mother thought, she said: "She's cool." Asked what she liked about boxing, she said: "Knocking them out."

If she does go through with her ambition, she may make a good living. Christy Martin, who appeared on world title bills on the other side of the Atlantic, commanded purses of more than pounds 100,000 before she retired last December.