Amateur | Premium | Jul 03 2019

Ramla Ali – Somalia’s first boxer

John Dennen hears the extraordinary story of Ramla Ali
Ramla Ali

THERE are extraordinary moments in boxing. Yet they can be missed almost entirely. Seeing Ramla Ali in a bout at the TA Centre a few years back left little impression. It was a four-rounder, just one on an all-female card that London Live happened to televise. She boxed, her contest finished and onlookers turned their attention to the next bout on the card. Yet for Ali everything would change.

She had been boxing in secret. She knew her mother would not approve. “My brother, he was doing a bit as well. For me, I had to hide it. So I hid it for a really long time. My parents didn’t know I boxed for a really long time. When I say a really long time, I’m not talking months, I’m talking years, five, maybe even seven years. Every time I had to explains things. ‘What’s happened to you face?’ Oh, I got into a fight at school. ‘Why do you have black eye?’ Oh, I walked into a door. Or I fell down the stairs. The lies kept getting more outrageous and more outrageous as time progressed. It was nuts,” she tells Boxing News.

Her appearance on a local TV channel changed that. “I was on it, they televised it, my brother saw it, he showed it to my mum. My mum saw it, she was furious. She was absolutely furious. ‘What are you doing? You’ve got to stop this’,” Ali recalls. “Obviously I stopped because she told me to stop. But anybody that says they’ve retired from boxing, they’ve never truly retired because the itch always comes back. It was the same for me. I told her I stopped, then I was sneaking off to the gym again. So more secrets.”

Ali boxing in the national championships Chris Bevan/England Boxing

 

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