It wasn’t his best fight, but Canarsie-native Sadam Ali was able come back from a shaky fourth round to claim the vacant World Boxing Organization intercontinental welterweight title.
Ali, who improved to 20–0 with 12 knockouts, defeated Jeremy Bryan in a split decision, 96–93,93–96,96–93 at the Barclays Center on Saturday night on the undercard of Danny Garcia against Rod Salka for Garcia’s World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organization junior welterweight belts. Ali rated his own performance as a six and a half after being hurt with a heavy punch from Bryan.
“I was hurt, but I recovered well,” the 25-year-old Ali said. “I came back and hurt him.”
He was already at a disadvantage stepping into the ring. Ali was fasting for Ramadan throughout his training and felt it weakened him bit.
“I didn’t feel so good this training camp, fasting for Ramadan,” he said. “I’m making excuses right now, but I’m being completely honest.”
The weakness showed when Bryan was able to take control in the fourth round by connecting with a big blow that visibly hurt Ali and threw off his balance a bit.
“I felt it, my legs weren’t there completely, but I was good mentally,” he said. “I just had to work around it.”
He was able to recover well by having a strong fifth round and knocking Bryan down in the ninth. Ali felt Bryant (17–4, 3 KO) was one of the toughest opponents of his career. Despite his weakened state, Ali gave Bryan a lot of credit for putting him on his heels. Ali credited the hometown Brooklyn crowd’s support with helping him to push through.
“That’s my motivation, that’s what gives me the power,” he said. “I just want to perform better next time.”
Ali showed that he was able to bounce back from an early injury and win a big fight in his home borough. Even though he didn’t fight the way he wanted to, he feels he learns from his fights and wants to improve moving forward.
He said picked up a few things from his bout against Bryan.
“Make sure you feel good, before taking a fight,” Ali said. “Be smart, keep your hands up a little bit more, work on your defense.”