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ABC's Coverage of The 2019 ESPYS Presented by Capital One

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For the first time in history, two female boxers, Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano, will be headlining a main boxing event at Madison Square Garden on April 30. Even though she isn’t hopping into the ring, Laila Ali is basking in this historic moment for women in boxing.

“They’re having an opportunity to fight as the main event at Madison Square Garden for the first time in the history of boxing,” the undefeated champ told People. “That’s what we’ve always wanted. I’ve been saying that from the time I was boxing, that we want to continue to help women’s boxing grow.”

Ali made her debut at Madison Square Garden in 2006 but it wasn’t at a main event. Now that Serrano and Taylor are headliners, Ali said this moment “really shows that women’s boxing has grown to a higher level since back when I was fighting.”

“Eventually, that will help women be able to make the pay that they deserve when they’re world champions and they’ve earned it in the ring. This just shows we’re getting closer to that,” she continued. “Women that are champions and that have earned it and haven’t really received the recognition that they deserve or the pay that they deserve, or endorsement deals, those are the ones that are super excited to have this opportunity.”

When she made her debut at the Garden it was sentimental for Ali because she was following in her legendary father Muhammad Ali’s footsteps.

“It is a historical site for boxing,” the California native added. “It was special to me being that my father had fought there. If he was in the audience to watch this fight, I know he would be excited and enjoy it. I know that for sure.”

Ali hopes that moments like this will lead to more women entering the sport.

“It really will encourage other fighters that are coming behind them for generations to come that they actually can make a living at the sport.”

Tickets for the Serrano vs. Taylor fight are available here.

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