FIU’s very own gets his shot in pro boxing

James Profetto/Contributing Writer


Cue the up-tempo background music filled with acoustics, a piano and a Latin vocalist soothing each customer in a small Starbucks location.

Conversations were held by each person sitting at a table. A mixture of laughter, a notably deeper voice than most heard over the crowd and coffee beans grinding behind the counter. Amongst all of this, a certain gentleman of average height walked through the doors wearing a black and gold Puma t-shirt with eye-grabbing red sneakers. He had a calm, athletic demeanor about him.

Meet 23-year-old Ahmed Elbiali, a Miami native with Egyptian roots and a lot to prove.

“I was born in Cairo, Egypt. I came to [Florida] when I was five years old,” Elbiali said.

The clichés of a boxer’s childhood are redefined for Elbiali. As a child, he grew up in a family where love was constantly felt and his parents never made him feel “starved.”  His parents taught him values that he keeps even to this day.

“I never sold drugs, I never got into real trouble as a kid…I don’t have that kind of story.  But, as a child, when my friends did something bad, I wanted to do something worse,” Elbiali said.

He was laughing at the thought of him doing anything worse than his friends.

“I was always taught to work. When I was 14, 15 years old, I had a job. I was never deprived, but my parents taught me to work for what I wanted,” Elbiali said.

After getting his first job, his mother took him to a Gold’s Gym. Before the last signature was printed, Elbiali begged his mother to take him to the boxing gym across the street instead.

“She took me to the boxing gym. After training for a decent amount of time, I asked, ‘Where’s the amateur team?’ I didn’t want to fight the professionals, but they told me I can’t fight amateurs because I hit too hard,” Elbiali said.

Fast forward to the present day. Ahmed Elbiali’s track record is off to a nice start, with flashy titles included. He is a two-time Florida Golden Gloves winner, he beat Robert Brant in the World Series of Boxing, beat Pernell Mitchell (a highly favored boxer at the time) and is 5-0 with five knockouts.

Oh, and to top it all off, he signed with Al Heymon. Who is Al Heymon?

“Al Heymon is the best manager in boxing.You know Floyd Mayweather [Jr.]? He’s Mayweather’s manager,” Elbiali said.

Elbiali knew of the implications if he were to lose against Mitchell, the fight that paved the way for his contract offer. In boxing, if the athlete doesn’t “look good,” the contract talks are off.

The meticulous nature of boxing requires fighters, whether they’re amateurs or professionals, to always be prepared. Training is where wins are produced and Elbiali never seems to rest. He trains three times a day, six days a week.

“I run, doing sprinting or long distance, I box and then go to strength and conditioning training,” Elbiali said.

When asked about how much his training helps his fights, Elbiali said that sometimes, luck is all you need.

“Luck happens to those who are prepared,” Elbiali said. “If you’re prepared, you’ll be lucky in the right moments.”

This young boxer knows with lots of training comes a dwindle in social life activities. Elbiali says his social life is “declining,” but the fun is yet to come. For now, he is deadbeat on being the best boxer to come out of South Florida.

“The celebrations will come later,” Elbiali said. “There’s nothing to celebrate now. I still have a lot to do… I want to stay hungry forever.”

Throughout all of this, there’s still school to attend; “FIU student” is a label still associated with his name. There are plans, ultimately, to pursue boxing, even after graduation in January of 2015.

“I want to get my masters degree from FIU, whether it be in athletic training or business. I do want to pursue boxing; there’s no reason why I shouldn’t,” Elbiali said.

The added pressure of graduating on time and with honors stems from his family and possibly from his girlfriend, who now lives in Colombia and is attending a medical school. Elbiali jokes that he was doing the pre-med “thing,” but that his passion fell elsewhere.

To keep up with family, boxing and school, there’s stress others may not find in their lives. For Elbiali, there’s one mentality that keeps him focused and sane in the ring and outside it.

“I believe in this: If you’re nervous, be nervous. If you’re scared, be scared. Don’t fight feelings, because they will turn back on you,” Elbiali said.

Cue the soft, smooth and mellow sounds of Ella Fitzgerald in the background—a perfect ending piece to symbolize the true nature of Ahmed Elbiali.

Each boxer has an endgame. Whether it be money, fighting for a loved one or making a name for themselves, there’s always motivation behind each right hook thrown at an opponent.

“I just wanna leave a name. When I have a kid, I want him/her to say, ‘Hey, my dad did something.’ I fight for my name,” Elbiali said.

But, that’s not the ultimate goal.

“When you say Egypt, what comes to your mind?” Elbiali asked.

Following a short pause he answered his own question.

“The pyramids? The pyramids, right? Well,” Elbiali said. “I want to be the second biggest thing to come out of Egypt. When you say Egypt, I want to hear, ‘Oh, that’s where that pro boxer, Ahmed, comes from!’”

Aiming high isn’t a question for Elbiali—It’s a priority.

“The pressure only gets bigger. It’s like what they say, ‘Pressure makes spikes or it makes diamonds.’ Well, I hope it makes a nice big diamond,” Elbiali said.

About the Author

James Profetto
:Staff Writer for FIU Student Media. Majoring in Broadcast Media. Sports guru with a passion for movies, music and getting to know people. Aspiring play-by-play commentator. You'll see me on TV one day.

1 Comment on "FIU’s very own gets his shot in pro boxing"

  1. I met Ahmad in California after one of his fights and he hasnt answered his cellphone for the last few months and I want to make sure he is ok. I also would like to know when he fights next and the ability to keep up on his great career. Anyone who can let him know I would like to talk with him again please e=mail me. thanx for your help John

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