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Muhammad Ali to become first British diabetic boxer this weekend after battle to obtain licence
By admin / September 13, 2018 / No Comments

MUHAMMAD ALI will become the first diabetic professional boxer in the UK on Saturday night after the British Boxing Board of Control finally hand the 25-year-old a licence.

The Bolton-based ace has had type one diabetes from the age of four and was previously denied a professional licence in 2015 by the BBBoC but it never stopped him fighting to become a professional.

Ali told SunSport. “I had to wait a few years to get my amateur licence, my youth was taken away from me. Throughout my juniors and youth career I wasn’t given a licence.

“I’ve never ever stopped training, but fighting and training is a complete different story.

Even though Ali was held back for much of his early amateur career, he went on to have a successful run.

“I won the Haringey Box Cup, I won the Celtic Box Cup and I won the University National Championships as well.

Ali’s nightmare started in 2015 when he was just 10 weeks out from his professional debut but was  halted by the British Boxing Board of Control.

Ali said. “I was scheduled to fight in 2015 in December.

"I was driving up for my final sparring session, I was 10 days out from my professional debut and my manager called and asked if I was diabetic.

"I said I was but it should not matter as I had already passed my medical but he told me the board was refusing my licence.

“That was it, I was devastated. Everybody was in shock because the coaches said my diabetes is so well controlled."

Ali - who is an ambassador for Diabetes UK - decided to challenge the BBBoC in hope of getting his boxing licence and continuing with his dream . He said: “We met a solicitor team, I showed all my paperwork, doctors proof saying I’m fit, the doctor who came on board was Sir Steve Redgrave’s doctor.

“He said ‘you are 100 per cent fit to fight, best of luck, I’ll help you challenge the board’ and we put all the paperwork together.

"The solicitor said ‘Let’s challenge the board’ and now we’re here, 2018, ready to make my professional debut."

Ali has spent the past three years trying to prove his case.

His team included Sir Steve Redgrave's consultant Dr Ian Gallan, who helped the Olympics legend win gold in 2000 at Sydney despite being diagnosed with type two diabetes.

Ali said: “If your diabetes is out of control then obviously you shouldn’t be entitled to do your sport but mine, like Sir Steve Redgrave's, is.

“In 2015 the crazy thing is, no medical reason was given to me as to why I’ve not been granted a licence, there was nothing apart from diabetes written there, for example speaking about my blood sugar levels or anything, it was just because I’m diabetics we can’t grant you a licence.

“I though that was discrimination to be honest, because if there were rules and regulations put together saying your diabetes is not controlled then it’s understandable but saying to somebody that you’re diabetic you can not box, in this day and age, you can’t say that, it’s a controlled condition.

“In 2017, with technology moving so fast it’s understandable the board wanted to see my blood sugar levels being tested in between rounds.

“I can’t take my gloves off during the rounds to prick my finger to get blood, so there’s a sensor that’s come out and it’s on the side of my hip, it takes just under a second to monitor my blood sugar levels.

“I showed the board that my sugar levels are controlled during sparring and they were happy with my sugar levels."

Ali is the first professional boxer in the UK to fight with diabetes and will be making his debut this Saturday.

Ali, who has had the condition since he was four, said that the diabetes is a “blessing in disguise” as it helps him with his training to keep a healthy diet.

“Most definitely,” Ali said when asked could the condition be seen as an advantage in boxing helping him stay disciplined with keeping weigh.

“Because it’s a weight categorised sport, so I’ve got to be disciplined and in order to be a successful boxer or a successful person in life I believe you’ve got to have a disciplined life style.

“You’ve got to follow good nutrition plans, you’ve got to have good recovery and for a diabetic that’s a blessing in disguise. I think boxing a diabetes come hand in hand."

Ali had the privilege of sparring Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan and says that gave him a good sense of what is needed to rise to the top in the sport.

He said: “It was amazing, a great experience for myself to know what someone is doing to be at the top of the sport, how to get there in the future.

Ali said he has received messages of support from around the world.

He said: “The people of the United Kingdom have got behind me as well as the world, I’ve received messages from people in America wishing me good luck, the people of my country, Great Britain have been second to none, the support has been absolutely amazing."

Ali said he was mentally down in his pursuit of a boxing career trying to obtain a boxing licence and says he would like to help the youth in the future.

He said: “Being a boxer, giving back to the youth is going to be huge for me because I’m diabetic and I’m open doors for people suffering from any condition.

“I was mentally down as well, being told you’re not allowed to do something that you love and follow as a passion it hurts you mentally and I can give back to people suffering from conditions, giving them hope and some light, showing them that you shouldn’t give up."

Ali said the diabetes doesn’t effect his training or boxing explaining that it actually helps him.

He said: “For example if I go and eat some processed food and I checked my blood sugar levels, they’ll be upside down, I’ll be feeling weak, but for example, if I have a chicken a rice and some vegetables - home made, I know that’s going to be good for me and my blood sugars will speak for me.

“My weight management will be good as well because I’m eating good food and I’m not bulking up, not putting excess weight on or excess fat and I’m consuming water rather than Coca-Cola.

“So controlling my nutrition helps my diabetes as well as boxing.

“I’m a counterpuncher, peel-a-boo style, I’m a Miguel Cotto/[Saul] Alvarez, that kind of style.

Ali will be making his debut on Saturday night at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. An opponent is to be confirmed.

Source: Muhammad Ali to become first British diabetic boxer this weekend after battle to obtain licence