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Laila Ali (born December 30, 1977 in Miami Beach, Florida) is a professional boxer. She is the daughter of Muhammad Ali and his third wife Veronica Porsche Ali. She was their second child and is the most famous of the nine children born to Muhammad Ali.
Ali has a degree in business from Santa Monica College and previously owned a nail salon in California before becoming a boxer. She is 1.78 m, with a reach of 1.79 m, and weighs around 76 kg.
In her first bout, on December 8, 1999, Ali knocked out April Fowler in the first round. She ran off eight wins in a row and many boxing fans started talking about wanting to see her square off in a boxing ring with George Foreman's daughter, Freeda Foreman, or Joe Frazier's daughter, Jackie Frazier-Lyde. On the evening of June 8, 2001, Ali and Frazier finally met. The fight was nicknamed Ali/Frazier IV in allusion to their fathers' famous fight trilogy. Ali won by a majority judges' decision in eight rounds.
After a year's hiatus, on June 7, 2002 Ali beat Shirvelle Williams in a six-round decision. She won the IBA title with a second-round knockout of Suzette Taylor on August 17 in Las Vegas. On November 9, she retained that title and unified the crown by adding the WIBA and IWBF belts with an eight-round knockout win over her division's other world champion, Valerie Mahfood, in Las Vegas.
On June 21, 2003, Ali retained the title in a rematch with Mahfood, knocking her out in six rounds. It was announced on June 30, that she would fight Christy Martin on August 23. She beat Martin by a knockout in four rounds.
Ali was to begin 2004 by fighting Gwendolyn O'Neil of Guyana at Abuja, Nigeria. The fight was canceled, however, when Ali's camp learned no airline had flights scheduled to Nigeria on the date she wanted to arrive there.
On July 17 of that year, she retained her world title, knocking out Nikki Eplion in four rounds. Ali dropped Eplion four times before the fight was stopped.
Thirteen days later, she stopped Monica Nunez in nine rounds, in her father's native city of Louisville. This fight was part of the undercard for the fight in which Mike Tyson was surprisingly knocked out by fringe contender Danny Williams
On September 24, 2004, she added the IWBF Light Heavyweight title to her resume by beating O'Neil (whom she had canceled a fight against) by a knockout in three rounds, at Atlanta, Georgia. On February 1, 2005 in Atlanta, Ali scored a commanding and decisive eighth round technical knockout over Cassandra Geigger in a ten-round fight.
On June 11, 2005, on the undercard to the Tyson-Kevin McBride fight, Ali pounded Erin Toughill into submission in round three to remain undefeated, and won the World Boxing Council title in addition to defending her WIBA crown. (The Ali-Toughill bout is considered one of the most violent female to female fights in history.) She was the second woman to win a WBC title (Jackie Nava was the first). Toughill and Ali disliked each other, and prior to the fight Toughill joked about Ali. Ali promised she would punish Toughill, much like her father did with Ernie Terrell back in 1967.
On December 17, 2005, in Berlin, Laila fought and defeated Åsa Sandell by TKO in the fifth round, marking her 22nd win. The decision was heavily disputed however, and the audience booed Ali during her post-fight interview. 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 an October 2006 date. 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 supposed to fight O’Neil again in Cape Town, on August 5, 2006, but she pulled out amid allegations of fraud. In addition, the local promoter couldn't raise the final $325,000 installment of her $525,000 purse. The South African government is investigating the fraud allegations, according to an exposé in the Cape Times.
On February 3, 2007 in Johannesburg, Ali retained her WBC and WIBA super middleweight world titles, knocking out Gwendolyn O'Neil at 56 seconds of the first round. Ali headlined the first woman's professional boxing match in South Africa. She improved to 24-0.
The second-youngest of Muhammad Ali's nine children, Ali married Johnny "Yahya" McClain on August 27, 2000. She met McClain through her sister Hana at her father's 57th birthday party. McClain became Ali's manager and helped guide her career. In 2002 she wrote (with co-author David Ritz) the book Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power, meant to motivate and inspire young women. In late 2005 Ali and McClain divorced and McClain quit managing Ali. On July 23, 2007, Ali married former NFL player Curtis Conway in Los Angeles. Laila has three stepchildren with Conway, twelve-year-old twin sons Cameron and Kelton and eight-year-old Leilani. In People Magazine, Laila Ali reported she does not follow her father's religion but respects it. Laila told Essence in its May 2008 issue that she is expecting her first child with her husband, Curtis Conway. According to US! magazine, she is expecting a baby boy, due in the first week of September. The baby will be named Curtis Muhammad (after her husband and her father).
In mid-2007, Ali was a participant in the fourth season of the American version of the television show Dancing with the Stars. She had no previous dancing experience. Her professional dancing partner was Maksim Chmerkovskiy. The pair were widely praised by the judges, receiving the first "10" from judge Len Goodman for their rumba. They came in third place in the competition, losing to Apolo Anton Ohno (with Julianne Hough)
Laila is the new female host on the revival of American Gladiators alongside Hulk Hogan. The show premiered in January 2008.
Laila and the cast of American Gladiators will be appearing on the new NBC Celebrity Family Feud.
In the Summer of 2008, Ali began hosting The N's Student Body on The N network.