8X National Boxing Champion, Facilitator, and High Performance NCCP Level 3 Coach,
Enrolled in the Advanced Coaching Diploma at the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario
Ibrahim Salah El-Din Kamal was born in East York, Ontario but quickly moved to Tripoli, Libya, as his father got a job teaching Physical Education in Al-Fatah University. Ibrahim like many youngsters took up the sport of boxing to protect himself. He was the victim of bullying in school while living in Libya.
His father, Salah, taught Ibrahim the basic punches and techniques needed to ward off his schoolmates using a pad made from an old pillow and a wooden board. Salah boxed briefly when living in Egypt so he was very confident in his teaching abilities and knew the positive impact it could have on his son’s life. He made the training fun by coming up with a great way to motivate his young son.
He would have Ibrahim hit the pad as hard as he could, then rewarding each strike with a number based on how well he had done. Needless to say, Ibrahim wasn’t picked on for much longer. The bullying stopped and Kamal flourished in his surroundings.
There were no boxing gyms in Libya so training was done mostly with his dad around the house. When returning to Canada at age 9, Ibrahim and Salah found a boxing gym in Scarborough called the “Scarborough Boxing Academy”, run by Frank Bullard. This was where “Firearm” Kamal was born and the quest for greatness truly began.
Ibrahim went on to become a Canadian National Team member in 2002, representing Canada in many international events , including the Boxing World Championships, Olympic Qualifiers, Pan Am Games, Commonwealth games and many more. Over his eight years as a National Champion, he racked up 132 bouts with only 26 losses as an amateur athlete. Some of these victories in the amateurs were against today’s toughest professional fighters like the current WBO World Champion, Terence Crawford (24W-0L), NABA Champion Logan McGuinness (20W-0L-0) WBO/ NABO Welterweight Champion, Ray Robinson (18W-2L) who is ranked 10th in the WBC and Eye of the Tiger teammates former NABF Lightweight Champion Ghislain Maduma ranked 11th in the IBF (16W-1L) and current NABF Lightweight Champion Dierry Jean ranked 14th (26W-1L).
It was in January of 2011 that Mr. Kamal announced that he was ready to take on his new challenge: Professional Boxing. Since his announcement to join the ranks of professional boxing, he has been considered Canada’s Most Feared Lightweight. His first 10 professional matches have had foreign opponents, as no Canadian was willing to accept a challenge against him.
Kamal living up to the title Canada’s Most Feared Lightweight went onto knock out his first four opponents and accumulating five more successful victories bringing his record to 9-0.
In September 2013 Kamal suffered his first loss of his professional career against France’s Sebastian Benito. Kamal and Benito both took turns hitting the canvas before the referee called the bout to a halt, declaring Benito the winner. This was Kamal’s first ever technical knockout and first ever documented concussion. Although never feeling the same after that first concussion, Ibrahim quickly redeemed himself in less than 3 months, beating Benito’s teammate from France, Virgile De Gonzaga. Kamal didn’t fully understand the resulting symptoms from that first concussion but he figured it was all a part of his journey to becoming the best in the world.
In February 2014, Kamal suffered a huge upset against Canadian Roody Pierre Paul,which left his coach Mike Moffa very concerned. Moffa had travelled with Kamal as an amateur and knew he had a solid chin. The blow that took Kamal down against Pierre Paul would not have done so in the past. Together as a team, it was decided that Ibrahim needed more testing before he stepped into the ring again.
July 28, 2014 Kamal announced his retirement due to a medical condition known as a cavum. While reflecting on the circumstances of his retirement, Kamal is filled with mixed emotions, but true to form, he focuses on what he looks forward to in the next chapter of his life:
“Being forced to retire due to an injury is never easy but I’ve had a great career boxing. I have spent 18 years committed to my sport, while achieving at the elite level. Of course it hurts – the only two things that ever mattered to me were: becoming an Olympic gold medalist and becoming a World Champion. I will never get to live those dreams but I look forward to the next chapter as I pass my love for the sport on to the kids we mentor with our boxing based charity MJKO.”
“Having suffered those two losses may have saved my life,” reflects Kamal. “I was winning both fights before being caught. Lesser blows seemed to be having a bigger effect on my body than they had in the past and I am grateful that my team, Eye of the Tiger Management, always cared about me as person first. My health is of course the most important thing. I may be out of the ring but I’m not down for the count,” Kamal said.
Supporting Kamal’s tough decision is Eye of the Tiger president Camille Estephan, stating:
“We would like to wish Ibrahim the best of success in his post boxing career as we are confident that he will have success in everything that he will pursue. Ibrahim was one of the most talented individuals to represent Canada in the history of the sport. His integrity and devotion make him a tremendous person and once a champion, always a champion.”
Ibrahim Kamal is still very involved in the sport of boxing and has continued to use his reputation as a Canadian champion to become a mentor and pillar within his community. He is a regular speaker at Mosques throughout the greater Toronto Area, speaking to young Muslims about the importance of hard work, belief and commitment to their dreams. In 2009, he helped found the Toronto based charity Mentoring Juniors Kids Organization (MJKO) in which he acts as a mentor for youth at risk. Many kids within the MJKO charity come from Toronto’s toughest neighbours and are faced with gangs, bullying and poverty. Firearm not only teaches them how to box but also encourages them that boxing can raise them up out of poverty and fear, into world travellers.
He works daily with his wife running MJKO and holds the position of Vice President of Competition for the Provincial Sport Body Boxing Ontario. Ibrahim’s dream is to one day coach an Olympic Champion.
In 2002, Ibrahim earned his first berth on the National Team and represented Canada in many international events on the world stage, competing in World Championships, Olympic Qualifiers, Pan Am Games, Commonwealth Games and more. Over his eight years as an elite national champion, he compiled an impressive total of 132 bouts with 106 wins. In the win column he would find his arm raised, victorious over some of today’s toughest professional ranked fighters like the current WBO World Champion, Terence Crawford, NABA Champion Logan McGuinness, WBO/ NABO Welterweight Champion, Ray Robinson, former NABF Lightweight Champion Ghislain Maduma and current NABF Lightweight.
Ibrahim helps oversees all programs developed and delivered at MJKO. He also holds the position of Vice President of Competition, Boxing Ontario (Provincial Sport Body’s Board of Directors). Ibrahim has acquired his Level 3 National Coaching through the National Coaching Certification Program. He holds a Level One Boxing Ontario Official. Ibrahim completed the Playing for Keep Volunteer Ambassador training in 2015. He also holds a valid CPR and FUNdamental Sports Movement Skills certification.
Career highlights as an Athlete:
2002 Michala Szepena International, Poland, GOLD
2005 Multi Nationals, Liverpool, England, SILVER
2005 World Senior Boxing Championship, 9th
2006 Commonwealth Games, Australia, 9th
2006 Copenhagen Bx Cup, Denmark, GOLD
2007 Pan American Games Qualifier, Argentina, BRONZE
2007 Pan American Games, Brazil 5th
2007 World Championships, USA
2008 Olympic Qualifier, Trinidad, 5th.
2008 Olympic Qualifier, Guatemala, 5th.
2009 Cuadrangular Internacional de Boxeo, Venezuela GOLD 2009 World Championships, Italy.
2014 retired as a professional Eye of the Tiger Management fighter with a record of 10 W 2L
Awards and Certifications
2015 Inducted into the Boxing Ontario Hall of Fame
2015 National Coaching Certification Program Level 3 Multi Sport Coach
2015 TO2015 Pan American Games Athlete Ambassador
2014 Toronto Business Development Centre Graduate
2013 Professional Athlete with Eye of the Tiger Management
2013 Boxing Canada Level 3 Certified Boxing Coach
2013 Boxing Ontario Official