Boxer inspires Islanders with Type 1 diabetes to ‘go after their dreams’

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THE UK’s first Type 1 diabetic professional boxer – who gave an inspirational talk at a Diabetes Jersey event – has said he plans on ‘bringing belts back’ to the Island when he becomes a champion.

Muhammad Ali, a boxer from Rochdale, recently gave a talk at The Royal Yacht hotel about his personal struggle in gaining his professional boxing licence.

The event was put on by Diabetes Jersey – and sponsored by Affinity Private Wealth – to raise awareness and to help inspire other people with Type 1 to go after their dreams.

Mr Ali’s initial attempts to get a licence were refused by the British Boxing Board of Control as a result of his condition.

After years of campaigning, it was granted in May 2018 and is the first ever to have been awarded to someone with Type 1 diabetes in the UK.

Liz Freeman, the Type 1 representative for Diabetes Jersey – who also has the condition – explained that she first contacted Mr Ali after watching him on a social media post during the Covid pandemic, describing him as ‘inspirational’.

Muhammad Ali, the UK’s first Type 1 diabetic professional boxer, next to Liz Freeman, Diabetes Jersey’s Type 1 representative Picture: James Jeune (36665314)

‘He came over and did a talk, to Type 1 diabetics and families, and that was such a success that I wanted him to come back over to raise more awareness about what we have to do and go through.

‘He will get the belt and he will be world champion,’ she added.

Mr Ali said: ‘I get invited to a lot of events and Liz connected with me via Twitter, she invited me over on behalf of Diabetes Jersey. I’ve come over and I’ve absolutely loved it here, it’s my second home now.’

During the talk, Mr Ali encouraged those in attendance – which included Islanders with diabetes – to ask him questions and told them not to let their condition stop them from pursuing their own ambitions.

Muhammad Ali, the UK’s first Type 1 diabetic professional boxer, gave an inspirational talk at a Diabetes Jersey event Picture: James Jeune (36665310)

‘It’s good to mix my stories with others,’ he explained. ‘You can do absolutely any-thing in life with Type 1 diabetes, you don’t have to do boxing.’

He added that he would be ‘bringing belts back to Jersey, 100%’.

‘I’ve created history by becoming the first Type 1 diabetic professional boxer, I want to create history now by becoming the first Type 1 diabetic champion – that’s the end goal. I’m not in this sport to mess about and just be the first diabetic boxer,’ he said.

Diabetes Jersey chairman Bill O’Brien said the charity was ‘indebted’ to Affinity Private Wealth for sponsoring Mr Ali’s latest visit to the Island.

‘This morning’s event has proved very informative and very inspirational for those with diabetes, in particular those with Type 1 diabetes,’ he said.

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