During my time coaching in Dubai, I had the pleasure of working with another athlete that really made me remember why I love coaching in the first place. His name is Ali Ahl. Ali is Emirati; a native of the United Arab Emirates. He is one of the most humble and coachable athletes that I have had the honor of working with.
Ali fights for the Desert Force promotion. After a long lay off, he decided to fight one weight class lighter than he had it in the past. He would now be fighting in the Lightweight division. To make matters more interesting, we learned that he had just been scheduled to face a tough opponent named Mahmoud Mohamed in Desert Force 19 on December 7th, 2015 in Cairo, Egypt.
In preparation for the fight, we trained day in and day out. On days that numbers were scarce, I jumped in to not only coach but, partner with him during drills. Although sticking to a strict diet, the weight was coming off Ali a lot slower than we anticipated.
As we board our flight to Cairo, we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us if Ali was going to make weight the following day. He was still 7 kilos (15.4lbs) overweight.
We arrived in Cairo, caught a taxi to our hotel, and got started right away with the weight cut. It took almost everything out of him but, he came in just under the required weight of 70.5 kilos (155lbs).
On fight day, Ali fought like a champion. He had made a full recovery from the weight cut, dominated his opponent before submitting him in the second round.
When we arrived back in Dubai, we were greeted by his friends with flowers congratulating him on his victory. It’s amazing what a person can do when you give it your all.