Finding success and acceptance can be a long road with many obstacles for American boxers of Arab heritage.

Brooklyn's Sadam Ali, however, has had mostly a smooth trip.

Ali, a two-time New York Golden Gloves champion, capped an excellent amateur career by becoming the first Arab-American to represent the United States in an international boxing competition at the 2008 Olympic Games. He was also the first New York City native in 20 years to qualify for the Olympics.

It would be easy for the aspiring welterweight contender to get distracted by politics. But Ali has managed to stay above the fray.

"I was born and raised in America, so I've never had any problems, which is good,'' Ali said when asked if he'd experienced any discrimination. "I fight for America, but I also fight for Arab-Americans.''

If it were only that simple for everyone.

WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan, who scored an 11th-round TKO of Paul Malignaggi in his American boxing debut at Madison Square Garden in May, almost missed the fight because of a problem obtaining a work visa.

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Khan, a British resident who had to train in Vancouver instead of the United States in the weeks leading to the fight, claimed his visa problems were because of his Arab heritage.

"I'm in Vancouver is because my name [is] Khan. [I've] shown all my [documents] and still it's taking ages to get the working visa,'' a post on his Twitter account read.

Ali said he hasn't experienced any backlash, which has allowed him to focus on his boxing career. So far things have been smooth for Ali, whose unblemished record (8-0, 4 KOs) is beginning to raise eyebrows.

Ali scored a third-round TKO of Julius Edmonds in his first live televised fight on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights'' at the Prudential Center last month. He is scheduled to fight on the Tomasz Adamek-Michael Grant card at the Prudential Center on Aug. 21.

Ali was scheduled to fight in a six-round bout at the Aviator in Brooklyn last night, but his management team, Havoc Boxing, couldn't secure an opponent for him.


Havoc has had a difficult time finding opponents recently. But his co-trainer, Andre Rozier, insists it has nothing to do with the fact that he is Arab-American.

"This is about boxers not wanting to fight him or pricing themselves out of a fight with him,'' Rozier said. "It has nothing do with him being Arab. This is just part of the business.''

Ali isn't brash or flamboyant, but he's well aware of the path he's taken and how he's beginning to impact the sport.

"To be the first Arab-American to represent the United States, that's a big thing,'' Ali said. "It feels good to be that guy. I think it did help to bring people in and let them open their eyes to see who I really am.''

His father, David, said his son's success in and outside of the ring can be traced to his calm demeanor and engaging personality.

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"He's American, an Arab-American. And he's gotten no resistance about his heritage,'' David said. "It's the way he is and the way he holds himself and the way he respects people . . . He draws fans from all races and religions to him.''

Ali added to his positive profile after last month's grand opening of his gym, the "Sadam Ali Boxing and Fitness Center'' in Brooklyn.

"It's my way to give back to the Brooklyn community,'' Ali said. "Boxing has done so much for me.''