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‘The kind of person everyone liked’: Friends pay tribute to murdered Islington boxer Mahad Ali

PUBLISHED: 13:58 04 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:44 05 July 2017

Mahad Ali in action for Islington Boxing Club. Picture: Islington Boxing Club

Mahad Ali in action for Islington Boxing Club. Picture: Islington Boxing Club

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Devastated friends have paid tribute to “lovely” Mahad Ali, an aspiring Islington boxer who was stabbed to death on Thursday.

Mahad Ali, 'the kind of person everyone liked'. Picture: Tariq RahmanMahad Ali, 'the kind of person everyone liked'. Picture: Tariq Rahman

Mahad, 18, of Hornsey Rise, was killed outside a warehouse party in Park Royal, north-west London.

The former Highbury Grove School pupil was said to have been stabbed multiple times in the chest after being set upon by a gang of armed attackers.

One of Mahad’s best friends, Tariq Rahman, met him at Highbury Grove in Year 7. They recently finished their courses at Westminster Kingsway College in King’s Cross.

“I was with him every single day,” Tariq told the Gazette this afternoon. “He was the kind of person everyone liked. No one had anything against him. He was the most trustworthy person you could get.”

Mahad had been a member of Islington Boxing Club, in Hazelville Road, Hornsey Rise, throughout his teenage years. He had progressed through its junior academy to compete for the club.

Mahad Ali, left, with his Highbury Grove School friend Tariq Rahman. Picture: Tariq RahmanMahad Ali, left, with his Highbury Grove School friend Tariq Rahman. Picture: Tariq Rahman

Tariq, 18, of Highbury, added: “He loved boxing. He loved Floyd Mayweather. He knew everything about him. You could ask Mahad any question about Mayweather and he would know it.”

Police were called to the “West Wednesday” party at about 2.30am on Thursday. Mahad was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead two hours later. There have been no arrests.

Tariq, who held a minute’s silence with friends in Aubert Court yesterday, said: “I got a call about what happened when I woke up. I was straight to the hospital. I was with him literally four hours before it happened. This still doesn’t feel real to me.

“He went to the party with a group of friends to have some fun. There was a group of boys who must have had a problem at the party in the previous week and wanted to take their anger out with a massive brawl.

“Mahad did nothing. One of my friends said he was about to go home at that point. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Reggie Hagland, manager of Islington Boxing Club, added: “He’s become another victim of knife crime which is plaguing the streets of London. We are devastated he’s lost his life for no reason.

“He was a lovely, lovely kid. I wouldn’t expect him to get into any trouble. I would have thought, not fully knowing what happened in this incident, it would have been a case of Mahad being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“He was very dedicated in the gym, always getting on with it. He was a very popular member of our club. Everyone at the club is shocked. People still can’t believe it.”

Det Ch Insp Luke Marks, who is leading the investigation into the killing, said: “Mahad’s family have been left completely devastated and are desperately seeking answers as to why he was set upon and what sparked the altercation.”

Anyone with information about the incident, which happened in Coronation Road, Park Royal, is asked to call police on 020 8358 0200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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