Muhammad Ali fights and wins to become first UK boxer with type 1 diabetes

Benedict Jephcote
Mon, 17 Sep 2018
Muhammad Ali fights and wins to become first UK boxer with type 1 diabetes
A boxer from Rochdale has proved that having type 1 diabetes is not a barrier after becoming the first professional in the UK to get a license to box with the condition.

Muhammad Ali, who shares a name with the sport's greatest legend, had to fight for three years to prove that type 1 diabetes would not impact his performance in the ring, with the British Boxing Board of Control finally agreeing to give him a license earlier this year.

On Saturday, the 25-year-old triumphed in his debut match against fighter Andrej Cepur, winning on points, 40-36, in four rounds at the Manchester-based Victoria Warehouse.

The sportsman has thanked all the people who supported his case and now aims to encourage others with the condition to follow their ambitions and not let type 1 diabetes hold them back.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, he said: "It was an absolutely amazing feeling. I really appreciate everyone who believed in me before the journey started, and I was overwhelmed with the support I've had from my hometown of Rochdale.

"As a diabetic I've gone out there and proven that we don't suffer. Anybody out there who is suffering from any condition, if you believe in yourself then you can do anything in life. Just surround yourself with positive people.

"I need to thank my manager Asad Shamim for everything he has done for me. He was running up and down the country for me to make sure I got my license and without him I wouldn't be here. My family have been amazing too, and my coach Alex Matvienko has been brilliant as well. The gym is booming and it's a great place to be."

Asad Shamim, Ali's manager, praised the boxer's determination to become a professional. He said: "Ali is such a fine character, and if you want an example of a good person with a good heart and good intentions, then that's Ali."

Next up, Muhammad will be boxing on November 17, again at Victoria Warehouse, with a further fight planned before Christmas.
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