Ramla Ali signs multi-fight promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing
Wednesday September 23, 2020
Ali, the first Muslim woman to win an English boxing title, will compete at super-bantamweight
Ramla Ali. Photograph: Alan Clarke @afclarkey/The Observer
Ramla Ali has signed a multi-fight promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and will make her highly-anticipated professional debut in October subject to licensing.
Signed to unified heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua’s 258 management label, Ali is trained by her husband Richard Moore and Jobi Clayton at the BoxClever Gym in Ladbroke Grove, London, and will compete at super-bantamweight.
Ali’s family fled war-torn Somalia as refugees after her brother had already been killed. Settling in London, she initially kept her boxing training a secret for fear her family would disapprove of the pastime for a Muslim girl.
She started boxing in her early teens and told her mother she was simply training for fitness, rather than contesting any bouts. As an amateur boxer, Ali became the first female Muslim boxer to win an English title before deciding to represent Somalia in 2017.
Joining a thriving Matchroom stable that boasts a number of women’s world champions including undisputed lightweight ruler Katie Taylor and undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill, Ali hopes to create more history by becoming Somalia’s first ever world champion.
“There is no better place to box than Matchroom,” said Ali. “You get to fight on Sky Sports – what’s better than that? It was a no brainer for me – I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I feel ready to fight now, I could go next week!
“So many doors open for you when you’re with a great management company like 258. The link with 258 came to fruition when I was on a photoshoot with Joshua Buatsi for the Wonderland magazine cover. A couple of months after that, I signed to 258.
“As an amateur, I won the national title in 2015 and then in 2016, they had this new English title series which I won. After that, I won the GB Championships, which was like my first introduction to a professional fight with the lights, music and commentators.
“In competing for Somalia, I became the first boxer, male or female, to win an African title for them. I would still love to go to Tokyo if and when the time does come. I wanted to get a head start in my professional career so now is the best time to turn pro.
“I just want to get in the ring and I feel like I can do that sooner being a pro rather than waiting around for an Olympic Games that might not come. The Olympic dream is still there but I’m excited to begin my journey in the professional ranks.
Ramla Ali in training. Photograph: Alan Clarke/The Observer
“A coach should know their boxer inside and out, so who better to guide me than my husband? He will always have my back. I now have the perfect team to pursue my dreams in professional boxing. I want to become a world champion and I hope in doing so people will develop a better view of Somalia.”
“Ramla’s story is incredible and inspiring,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “She has gone through so much to get to this point and I’m delighted that Matchroom will be guiding her progress in the professional ranks alongside our friends at 258 MGT. Ramla joins an unrivalled Matchroom stable that boasts some of the very best female fighters on the planet and she is in the perfect place to fulfil her dream of becoming Somalia’s first world champion.”
“I’m so proud of Ramla and the team at 258 for putting this all together,” said 258 MGT Athlete Advisor Anthony Joshua. “A happy fighter is a good fighter and we know she is happy with her choice. 258 has a great reputation and strong relationships across the sporting world so we are pleased to announce this today. Long may she reign.”
“It is a great moment for Ramla to be turning pro with Matchroom, who have been leading the way in women’s boxing,” said 258 MGT Managing Director Freddie Cunningham. “It has been amazing working with Ramla and being able to help generate her the opportunities she deserves in and outside the sport.”
Adam Smith, Head of Boxing Development for Sky Sports said: “Ramla is such an inspirational woman with a phenomenal story and we’re absolutely delighted to be covering the next stage of her boxing career on Sky Sports.
“We cannot wait for Ramla’s professional debut in a hugely exciting era for women’s boxing.”