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.