Talk about a name that will take SOME living up to! British 140 pound fighter Sonny Liston Ali (this his real name), who is signed by Frank Warren, has quite understandably been getting attention due to his being named after two of the greatest heavyweights in history. The 21 year old from Essex spoke with BBC Sport before his fight last night – this a decision win over Chris Adaway, taking Liston Ali to 4-0 as a pro – and he of course explained his simply fantastic name.
Photo by Queensberry Promotions
“With my name, I had no choice but to box,” he said. “My grandad wanted to name me Sonny, my mum is a big boxing fan and she gave me the name Liston and my dad – who is a quarter Bengali – just so happened to have Ali as his surname. For me it’s just my name; I’ve had it my whole life. But for other people it’s unique and it’s definitely a talking point.”
Liston Ali began boxing at the age of “about nine or ten,” and he at one point won 30 amateur fights on the bounce. He won two English titles, two Great Britain titles and four national titles. Warren signed him up last year, having instantly recognised the young fighter’s talent – and very possibly the selling factor his unusual name will bring.
Liston Ali says that when he has a fight, his opponent “expects an Asian kid to walk out,” yet he is in fact “a skinny white kid.” Liston Ali describes himself as a “tall, slick boxer,” but he says he can also fight with “spite.” To repeat, the pressure on Liston Ali must really be quite something, yet so far, the 21 year old has both handled it and enjoyed it.
“Proud” of his Liston and Ali names, the light-welterweight says he is “buzzing” after last night’s win.
“Yeah, I’m buzzing. It didn’t go to plan as I wanted the stoppage, but there you go,” Liston Ali said last night. “It was a good six rounds and they said I never lost a round. I was looking too much for the big shots, as I’d said before I wanted to show my aggressive side. But it’s on to the next one. As soon as my team want me back out, I’ll be back out.”
It seems that as long as he keeps that unbeaten record, Sonny Liston Ali will grow and grow in terms of popularity and interest. How far can Liston Ali go?