Tuesday, May 30, 2023  |



Mysterious junior flyweight Ali Raymi killed in Yemen

Fighters Network

Ali RaymiJunior flyweight boxer Ali Raymi, who began his career with 21 straight first-round knockout wins, died this past weekend in his native Yemen, his manager confirmed. He was 41 years old.

Rumors had circulated across the internet that Raymi, whose social media rants against every and all champions in the lighter weights had made him a subject of interest and mock praise among hardcore fans, had died during an explosion in the Yemen capital of Sana’a that took place on Saturday, May 23.

“Unfortunately, it’s true,” Felix J. Arno, the manager listed on Boxrec for Raymi, told RingTV in an email. A website purported to be that of the Yemen Boxing Federation also states that he had died.

Yemen has been in a state of civil war since March of this year as factions loyal to two groups fight for control of the country. Agence France-Presse reports that Saudi Arabia warplanes had launched air raids against the Iran-backed rebel factions from the south on the day Raymi died, but attacks specifically on Sana’a weren’t mentioned.

Raymi channeled much of the attitude of Prince Naseem Hamed, the British Hall of Fame featherweight of Yemeni descent, in his public offerings, claiming in a 2013 FightNews interview, “My chin is titanium, my fists are uranium.”

Raymi called out unbeaten maestros like Roman Gonzalez and Guillermo Rigondeaux and claimed they had ducked him, leading hardcore fans to wonder if Raymi was conducting an elaborate troll act or the most confident fighter alive.

An email to this writer claiming to be from Raymi offered then-WBO minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo $100,000 to come to Yemen for a fight.

“If I get an okay from you I will start the process with Al-Saleh foundation to make a $100,000 deposit in an escrow account for Merlito Sabillo. If you don’t think he will want to do it, I rather know now so I don’t piss off everybody with another no show,” Raymi wrote to this writer in January 2014.

Details of Raymi’s life are difficult to confirm due to a lack of domestic media coverage. What’s known is that he turned pro in 2011, fighting exclusively in Yemen against fighters who fought exclusively at the same two venues he had fought all 25 of his pro fights, the 22 May Sports Stadium and Yemen Boxing Federation Gym in Sana’a.

“My style is intentionally natural, I will fight till the last moment of my biological existence,” Raymi said in the same interview. “I don’t like discussing my pre-boxing past as I feel it will be considered inappropriately semi-legendary.”

His last fight on March 28 saw him stop a fighter named Omar Moxamad in the first round. Raymi walked to the ring accompanied by men carrying automatic rifles and wearing shirts with the initials TGE, or “The Greatest Ever,” a play on Floyd Mayweather’s “The Best Ever” monicker.

Though Raymi had his skeptics, he was ranked No. 6 by the WBA at 108 pounds and No. 8 by the WBO at 105 pounds at the time of his death. His final record is 25-0 (25 knockouts).