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Women's Boxing Champion Fights for Health and Fitness


The undefeated Super Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World — and daughter of boxing legend Muhammed Ali — has quit the sport but keeps on fighting, to make a positive difference. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, Ali has become a TV show host and health correspondent, hoping to combat juvenile obesity and inspire her adult viewers to stay fit and healthy.

Laila is the only one of Muhammed Ali's nine children to follow in his footsteps. Over nearly a decade in the ring, Laila Ali has become a women's world titleholder with an impressive record, including 21 knockouts.

"When I started boxing, I didn't think of how this was going to get me to the next step. Boxing was my only focus," she says. "I think that's how I reached the level that I did and became a world champion."

Now, at 30, after fulfilling all her goals in the sport, Ali says she is ready to move on with her life and look beyond boxing.

"I got bored with boxing. You can't fight forever. You get older," she says. "I want to do other things."

Those other things include reporting on health and fitness for The Early Show, a popular morning program on CBS television. Ali also wants to reach teenagers through an upcoming Nickelodeon broadcast, The N's Student Body.

"It deals with obesity and helping these kids changing their lives around," Ali says.

The show will follow a group of teens as they try to change their lives through diet, exercise, volunteer work and academics. Leading by example, she says, is the right way to bring a positive influence into young peoples' lives.

"The kids look up to you. Every time I make an appearance, I'm always going to be a positive person, just a role model. I've been doing that since I first became a public person," she says. "I wrote a book called Reach: Finding Strength, Spirit and Personal Power. I talked about a lot of things that happened that made me who I am."

In the book, she also shares the secrets of her success in the boxing ring and beyond.

"The lesson that I just learned in life is just to stay at whatever you want to do to make you happy," Ali says. "It takes a lot of hard work. Anything I want to do, I want to be the best at it. I'm always striving to be better.

Ali is also the focus of Daddy's Girl, a television documentary about her life, which will air on Father's Day this June. The film also explores her relationship with her father.

"Of course, (I was) growing up with a very loving father, but he also traveled a lot, you know," she says. "He is a father to so many people.

In her career and life, she says, Muhammad Ali has influenced her in many ways. But the fact that she is often recognized for her father's achievements, not her own, doesn't seem to bother her.

"I can't say that I'm completely out of his shadow," she says. "I don't think I ever will be, which is fine because it is a great shadow to be in. My father is a great man. I learned from him by example, you know, he stood up for what he believed in. He has always been a great role model."

Laila Ali says she is excited about her chance to be a role model in her new path in life. She hopes her boxing skills will serve her well, as she fights obesity among young people. Through her morning reports, she also hopes to inspire viewers to make the right choices that help them stay fit and healthy at all ages.

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