The fighting pride of Bradford secures double title win
Just over 12 months on from his triumphant return to the boxing ring, Bradford’s own Tasif Khan has claimed the biggest win of his career, with two world titles now secured firmly around his waist.
On Saturday 6th February, the super flyweight boxer defeated Ghana’s Isaac Quaye to clinch the World Boxing Union (WBU) and Global Boxing Union (GBU) World Super Flyweight Championships at the Cedar Court Hotel.
Asian Express boxing columnist, Khalil Alam, watched the fight unfold from ringside and reported on the ‘historic evening’:
On Saturday night I was privileged enough to watch a man who is a friend, make history.
The WBU titles have been held previously by the likes of Ricky Hatton, George Foreman, Thomas Hearns, Johnny Nelson and Micky Ward as well as other legendary boxers.
Khan, who only returned to the sport following a two year sabbatical, put in the performance of his career, in front of a packed house that included a number of British star boxers, such as interim WBA World Lightweight Champion Derry Mathews and former British Commonwealth, European and WBC World Champion Junior Witter.
Various local dignitaries, such as the Mayor of Bradford and local MP Imran Hussain were also in attendance.
Khan also received support from the British Army, who turned out in force to watch their man being lead to the ring by the band of the Yorkshire Regiment.
After a slow first round, during which both combatants barely threw a shot in anger, Khan proceeded to utterly dominate proceedings.
From the second round right through to the sensational last, it was the local fighter who looked destined to secure the vacant titles and add his name to the prestigious list of title holders.
It was in the sixth round that Khan’s hard work finally paid off as he knocked the Ghanaian to the canvas three times in very short succession.
The third time proved to be the final, with a perfect right to the chin sending Quaye crashing backwards and prostrate on the canvas in such a spectacular manner that the Ghanaian’s corner-man immediately jumped into the ring before referee Lee Murtagh had barely started the count.
Speaking a couple of days after the fight, Khan said he was still coming to terms with what he had achieved.
“It’s just as exciting, it’s a childhood dream come true,” he said. “At the age of 10, I’d have been happy with winning the international masters, but then the opportunity arose to box to become a world champion.
“It’s the first time in history for any world title to come to Bradford so I think the city has made it into the history books there, especially as it was won by an Asian Pakistani.
“The morning after the win, I woke up and had the belts next to me after falling asleep with them. I had to pinch myself. Words can’t explain.”
Khan had a number of disappointing postponements in relation to this fight before he finally got Quaye to step in the ring with him. However he took out his frustrations in the boxing ring as he landed a powerful left hook that won him the fight.
He proved he was just too fast and too strong for his opponent on the day, who was left with no answer to Khan’s rapid fire power punches.
Describing what it felt like to fight in front of a home crowd, he added: “I always use the phrase – ‘it’s like a twelfth man on the football pitch’ and even beyond that. If there was any music playing in the background during the match, I just didn’t even hear it because of the atmosphere. It was electric.
“Everyone that was there will probably talk about how charged with energy the place was and I strongly believe I have the best fans in the world.
“I’m excited about bringing more shows to Bradford with all the praises and positive responses I’ve had from everyone. I can’t thank them enough. My fans and supporters play a massive part in getting these belts.”
After the fight, Khan dedicated the win to his local amateur boxing trainer Stalwart Alec Allan who died in 2012, and explained what was next for him.
“I now want a nice little break,” he said. “It’s been long overdue. I need to recuperate and reenergize. Then I’ll meet with the management team and get down to business. The belts are here to stay in Bradford.”
For Khan, the future looks bright and I strongly believe that he definitely has the skill, will, power and speed to become a force in the world of boxing and this world title is just the start.