Brooklyn's Ali ready to strut his stuff in Golden Boy debut at Barclays
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn born and bred and thus-far unbeaten welterweight Sadam Ali was offered a delicious-looking chocolate cupcake to commemorate his 25th birthday Thursday afternoon at our borough's historic Gleason's Gym.
"After the fight, I'll eat it," said the main attraction for Monday night's headline bout at Barclays Center's Cushman and Wakefield Theater.
It was a prudent move by a serious and ever-gracious young man who has waited a very long time for a moment such as this.
Making his Golden Boy Promotions debut against "Smokin'" Jay Krupp in Downtown Brooklyn, "World Kid" Ali (16-0), the first-ever Arab-American to fight for Team USA during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, wasn't about to mess with his training regimen in advance of the biggest fight of his life.
"I'm very excited. I'm ready to perform in the big spotlight," noted Ali, who self-promoted his career in the ring with the help of his family before officially announcing that he'd joined the Golden Boy stable in June.
"I have everything it takes to be a champion and I'm ready to show it."
For all intents and purposes, Krupp isn't viewed as a serious obstacle in Ali's path to bigger and better fights on the Golden Boy circuit.
But after staging most of his previous bouts on undercards at Newark's Prudential Center before headlining a couple at Brooklyn's Aviator Sports Complex, the Yemeni-American contender realizes the importance of making the most of this rare opportunity to be the featured fighter on a nationally televised (FoxSports 1, 9 p.m. ET) boxing card.
"It's a great feeling to have all the media here," Ali admitted in advance of one of the final workouts before his big night. "I'm very excited about being the main event. I'm ready to shine."
Ali hasn't stepped in the squared circle since scoring his 10th career knockout against Ronnie Warrior Jr., at Aviator last October.
When he finally slides through the ropes Monday night before the millions watching on TV and thousands of local boxing enthusiasts in the arena, including hundreds of family members and friends, he'll finally have arrived on the big-time world boxing stage.
"The recently signed Sadam Ali is a perfect headliner, as he is a Brooklyn native and unbeaten former Olympian," said Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya.
With a win in his Golden Boy coming-out party against Krupp (17-5, 8 KOs), be it via knockout or an eight-round decision, Ali could potentially be in line for a co-feature bout at Barclays televised by SHOWTIME as soon as early next year.
"There's no place like home," Ali added. "I've seen some great fights at Barclays Center and I've waited for my name to be called to fight here. Now that day has come and I couldn't be more excited. This is going to be a performance and a win you won't forget."
Ring Notes: On the undercard of Monday night's Ali-Krupp fight will be unbeaten light-heavyweight contender Marcus Browne (6-0, 6 KOs) vs. Kevin Engel (20-8, 16 KOs). It will be Browne's fourth appearance at Barclays. The 2012 U.S. Olympian credited Ali with inspiring him on his way to making the Olympic team for the London Games. "He's the reason why I believed I could be an Olympian," Browne noted. ... Also fighting on Monday night will be Newark's Michael "The Artist" Perez (18-1-2, 10 KOs), who will take on Miguel "Dinamita" Zuniga (13-2, 8 KOs). ... Only the Browne and Ali fights are expected to be televised by FoxSports 1. However, tickets for the entire card are still available and starting as low as $25 via www.barclayscenter.com and www.ticketmaster.com.