First UK diabetic boxer primed for historic debut this weekend

Date published: 12 September 2018

The first professional UK boxer with type one diabetes is set to make his historic debut on Saturday (15 September) at Victoria Warehouse in Stretford.

Following a three-year fight, Rochdale-born Muhammad Ali was granted a professional licence by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) in May 2018.

Ali had previously had his application for a professional licence turned down by the BBBofC as a result of his medical condition, which runs in his family.

Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin, the hormone that controls the amount of sugar in your blood. It requires regular administration of insulin either by injection or by insulin pump.

Frustratingly, Ali was previously told on several occasions by the Board that checking blood sugar levels during a fight would be ‘too disruptive’ despite contradictory advice from England Boxing, the national governing body for boxing, which says “if a boxer has controlled diabetes, he or she may box.”

With the support of his manager, Asad Shamim, and medical doctor, Ian Gallan, a leading diabetes consultant in the UK, the decision was overturned, and Ali is now preparing to make history as the first type one diabetic boxer to turn pro.

Ali, who is also an ambassador for Diabetes UK, said: “This has been a long time coming, but it’s my moment to shine. Training has been amazing, and it would be remarkable to win my first professional fight. I would love for the people of my hometown to get behind me and support me all the way.”

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