With Dad watching, Laila rocks Toughill in the 3rd

Updated: June 11, 2005, 10:40 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Her dad came to watch, and Laila Ali did him proud.

With Muhammad Ali at ringside Saturday night, Laila Ali pounded Erin Toughill into submission in the third round to remain undefeated and become the first woman to win a World Boxing Council title.

Muhammad Ali got into the ring, hugged his daughter and gave her tender kisses after she stopped the outclassed Toughill at 1:59 of the third round. Toughill took about 20 consecutive punches in her corner before referee Joseph Cooper stepped in to stop the fight.

Laila Ali, who is generally recognized as the top woman in boxing, improved to 21-0 by winning the super middleweight fight against a fighter with far less experience.

"It's wonderful anytime my dad is there," Laila Ali said. "It lights a fire in me."

Ali had promised to give Toughill a beating, and she did just that in the fight on the undercard of the Mike Tyson-Kevin McBride fight.

Toughill had only eight professional fights in five years, and four of those were against women who had never had a fight.

"She talks like me," Muhammad Ali said.

"I back it up, too, don't I, Daddy?" Laila replied.

Toughill did land some effective punches in the first round, mostly left hooks. But Ali's speed and power were too much and she began taking a beating in the second round.

By the end, Toughill (6-2-1) could not punch back.

"People are not used to seeing me hit my opponent like that," Ali said. "She was cowering in the corner."

Muhammad Ali was impressed not only with his daughter's speaking ability, but her fighting ability.

"She's bad," Ali said. "It runs in the family."

As the ring was clearing out after the fight, Muhammad Ali was formally announced, and he responded by throwing a few punches in the air to the crowd.

In another fight, former 140-pound champion Sharmba Mitchell ended up a winner even though he quit after a vicious head butt in the fifth round of his fight with Chris Smith.

Mitchell, fighting for the first time since being knocked out in November by Kostya Tszyu, turned his back on Smith and held his left eye in obvious pain after the two unintentionally butted heads 16 seconds into the fifth round.

Mitchell, fighting in his hometown, could not continue so the fight went to the scorecards, which Mitchell was winning on all three. Smith and his promoter both protested that the fight shouldn't have been stopped since Mitchell's only cut was below his eye.

Mitchell said there was no way he could continue.

"When we came together our heads met and it felt like my eye exploded," Mitchell said.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press