WINNER: Zahir Akram who was successful in his first boxing bout in Bradford, pictured her with his uncle Amjad Akram
14-year-old’s debut boxing fight gives him a punching start in the ring
A 14-year-old local schoolboy realised his dream as he entered the ring to participate in his first amateur boxing match, emerging victorious in a spirited display.
Bradford boy wonder Zahir Akram has been fighting for two-and-a-half years. He trained extremely hard to get into shape for the fight on Friday 6th October with the help of his personal trainer Asad Shah.
The student of Bradford Academy committed to putting in the hard yards in preparation for this fight. After school he’ d be seen jamming in double gym sessions including boxing sessions and then extra cardio and fitness exercises to top it all off.
Zahir says he was extremely focused going into the fight and believed his pre-fight prep would have him ready.
“I admit I was slightly nervous before the fight, but believed in my own ability to come away with the win,” says Akram.
“I enjoyed the challenge of my first fight and didn’t let nerves get the better of me despite my opponent’s height advantage. I stayed focused and committed to the advice my coach has been giving me.”
The up and coming fighter who trains at Laisterdyke Boxing Club was overwhelmed by the tremendous support he received, on the night itself there were 400 supporters across the fights, with 250 of these in support of Zahir.
The Bradford bruiser isn’t stopping their though, he has already started training for his next fight which is scheduled for December and will either take place in Bradford or Sheffield. His next opponent is still in talks.
The prodigy can’t wait for his next fight and will continue his hard training methods which were a success this time as they worked well and suited him in his pursuit for victory.
Zahir was backed by many Yorkshire businesses who he says he’d would like to thank for their continued support including; Letz Talk, Marlborough Auto Centre, Letz Move and Kamran’s Solicitors.
Mohammed Subhaan with Christopher ‘Lil B-Hop’ Colbert, during his time in America
Star ‘Subby’ trained in America with Olympic hopefuls
During the summer holidays while most 17-year olds were out having fun playing out with friends or enjoying valuable family time, promising KBW boxer Mohammed Subhaan was in America.
This was no holiday however for the tireless teen, he was there taking part in a boxing summer camp. ‘Superman’ Subby as he is known in the ring was given the opportunity to train with coach Sosa and his stable of boxers.
The Sosa crew as they are more commonly referred to in the boxing fraternity, recently featured in a Netflix documentary called Counterpunch.
‘Subby’ didn’t just get the opportunity to train in America, he was given the unique opportunity to spar with some of the USA top Olympic prospects which was an incredible honour for the youngster.
He got the opportunity to share the ring with, Christopher ‘Lil B-Hop’ Colbert, who is one of the main boxers featured in Counterpunch.
‘Subby’ discussed his experience and described what the exposure of such an occasion was like he said: “The training out there was unbelievable and the sparring was out of this world.
‘Subby’ trained with the Sosa crew (pictured) during his time in the USA
“Sharing the ring with some of the world’s best up and coming prospects has held me in good stead for the season ahead. I can’t wait to get back into the ring and show what I have learnt.”
Subhaan’s experience didn’t end there, he also got the opportunity to visit the famous Gleeson’s Gym, a place where many famous current and former world champions have trained.
Mike Tyson, Zab Judah and Miguel Cotto are a few of the major names to have trained at Gleeson’s Gym, ‘Subby’ would love to emulate these stars of the sport.
Since his return to England, ‘Subby’ has taken in part in an England boxing training camp held over the weekend. He aims to box for England at the European Championships in October and to win the National title again.
Floyd Mayweather who is regarded by many as the best boxer of his generation will come out of retirement to take on Irish UFC star Conor McGregor.
The eagerly anticipated bout will take place in Las Vegas on August 26th, 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena with both fighters expected to receive an eye watering £78.5 million each regardless of the outcome.
Previously retired Mayweather will be returning to the ring to take on the precocious UFC talent in McGregor in what is a mismatch on paper with many predicting a one-sided affair.
The American who has never been defeated in his professional boxing career is looking to make it an impressive 50th win in his 50th professional bout, which has included an impressive 26 Knockouts.
The notorious Irishman, will make his professional boxing debut having won 21 out of 24 UFC fights but this will be a whole different proposition entering the ring with the undefeated boxing great.
McGregor has never taken part in any form of professional boxing before and will be up against it. The only other British fighter to take on Mayweather was Ricky Hatton and he was beaten in the 10th round.
READY: British boxer Amir Khan with Bill Dosanjh CEO and founder of Super Fight League
Boxing in India has for many years been one of the most popular sports and with the launch of Super Boxing League (SBL) with participation from top pugilists from India and abroad, the stage is set for some exciting ring action.
This unique concept was born thanks to British businessman Bill Dosanjh, also the founder and promoter of successful Super Fight League held recently in New Delhi, India.
Super Boxing League with its tag line “Hit Harder” will also be promoted by none other than Olympic medallist and two-time world champion boxer, Amir Khan.
Scheduled to be staged from 7th July 7 – 12th August, SBL is being launched in association with AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) who will provide the boxers the right platform to showcase their talent.
The franchise-based SBL is Bill Dosanjh's yet another innovation after the Super Fight League. The Super Fight League of mixed mixed martial arts in only its inaugural season, has attracted wide fan base in the country. Now the Super Boxing League is ready to woo Indian audiences with the best of action in boxing.
One of the features of the league will be its unique point scoring system which is being introduced for the first time in the history of professional boxing wherein a boxer can claim six points on winning a bout through knock-out.
The SBL will consist of eight franchises. Each team will comprise of six players (five male boxers and one female boxer with six back up players per team).
There will be competitions in six different weight categories with bouts of four rounds of three-minutes each.
Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Bill Dosanjh, Founder-CEO of Super Boxing League, says SBL will give wings to India's ever-growing talent pool in boxing.
“We have witnessed the excitement and appetite for contact sports in India which has seen phenomenal growth in the past few years. Boxing is one such sport, which is encouraging professional players to make it big in the ring through international leagues," said Mr. Dosanjh.
"India has a huge talent potential for boxing and with Super Boxing League we intend to provide a middle ground for both the average everyday player and the professional boxer.
“A lot of aspiring athletes wish to go professional and they all just need the right platform. With Super Boxing League, we are looking to create an ecosystem to promote Indian boxing talent and bring back boxing to where we were — in the top-10 in the world or even top-five,” added Mr. Dosanjh.
Equally excited about the initiative is Amir Khan, promoter of SBL and two-time world boxing champion.
“I am very happy to introduce this unique platform for Indian boxers. With Super Boxing League, we aim to provide the right training for potential boxers which will helps in producing more professional world champions,” says Amir.
“We want to create an exciting platform where talent can fight in front of their home fans in their own country. With such a talent filled nation, I believe India can produce aplenty boxing superstars in coming years.”
It may have been extremely windy and absolutely bucketing down with rain in Bradford, but even the ridiculously inclement weather couldn’t deter around six hundred plucky fans turning out for a special four-bout dinner show.
At the Connaught Rooms, headlined by a ten round non-championship International contest between local hero, two division World Champion Tasif Khan, and top class opponent, Ghanaian Ekow Wilson (16-2-0, 14KOs), fans were buzzing.
The atmosphere was electric when the MC announced the impending headline bout, each and everyone in attendance were on their feet enthusiastically clapping and cheering as Ekow Wilson made his way to the hallowed ring.
However, in comparison the noise level went through the roof when their man Tasif Khan began his ring-walk.
Khan started hard and fast, much to the delight of the partisan crowd, and took the fight to his esteemed opponent. It was clear that Wilson hadn’t made the trip from Africa to just make up the numbers though, as he responded to every Khan attack with equal venom.
The first round was a cracker, both men standing toe-to-toe slugging it out for much it.
Round two was fought in a very similar manner for much of the time, however Khan had really started to get into a dominating flow, throwing some sensational body-shots that clearly affected Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, Wilson held his own for long periods and landed some wicked shots of his own.
Round three was definitely the turning point for Khan; he started strong again and landed some fantastic shots to both head and body. By about the midway point Khan stepped up the pace and landed a seriously vicious body-shot that completed winded Wilson, forcing him to take to drop to his knees.
They definitely breed them tough in Ghana, as he made his way back to his feet before the count reached six. However Khan could sense an early victory and went straight back on the attack.
Wilson clearly wanted to protect himself from more body-shots so came in close and once again it reverted to a sensational toe-to-toe slugfest; that was until Khan did a little step back and let rip with another evil body-shot in the final minute, that forced Wilson to once again drop to his knees and catch his breath, again the tough Ghanaian was on his feet well before the count reached six.
Wilson’s team clearly switched to ‘Plan B’ for the fourth round, the canny lad covering up more to protect his body, in an effort to prevent further Khan Exocets finding their target. It was a fantastic round, fought in a far more technical way than the previous ones.
More of the same in round five, but unfortunately for Wilson, Khan once again found the smallest of gaps in his defense and landed another potentially rib breaking shot, to force the Ghanaian down to the canvas once more.
Amazingly Wilson not only made it to his feet but in the final seconds of the round made life a little difficult for the local hero.
Round six was another cracking round, once more Wilson had decided to keep Khan tied up on the inside, much to the delight of the fans as the duo went at it hammer and tongs.
The crowd, who had remained on their feet throughout the contest, were treated to one helluva seventh round, both men came out with serious intent and what followed can best be described as a full on war!
It was clear that Wilson had decided to revert back to ‘Plan A’ and loaded up some serious big shots, however that meant that opportunities were there for Khan, and boy oh boy did he take them when they opened up, landing some sensational body-shots once more.
As the seconds ticked down towards the final minute Wilson left a gap in his defence, Khan didn’t need a second invitation and immediately let rip with a superb short sharp shot to the body to send the Ghanaian down once more.
The crowd went absolutely mental, believing the fight was over, as Wilson struggled to get to his feet, but no, Wilson once again beat the count, just. What’s more on the restart had clearly decided attack was the best form of defence and a seriously entertaining toe-to-toe slugfest ensued until the bell.
About half way through the minute break Wilson’s corner summoned referee Matt Scriven, after which the referee turned to the officials’ table and signaled that the fight was over.
What followed next was pure pandemonium, Khan, his team, headed-up by former Two Division World Champion and current WBF Intercontinental Welterweight Champion Lee McAllister, and the fans began celebrating in style.
So enthusiastic were the celebrations that it would be a good ten minutes or so before the official result could be announced and the winner’s hand raised. TV crews from both the UK and Pakistan entered the ring along with Khan’s enthusiastic extended team, four of whom proudly carried Khan’s Championship Belts, and surrounded him as the TV commentators tried to interview him.
Eventually Khan was able to undertake the interview, in which he said: “Ekow Wilson is a dangerous fighter with a very good record and high percentage knock out ratio; out of his sixteen wins, fourteen came by way of Knockout.
“Ekow did a lot of talking in the build up to this fight, claiming he has wanted this fight for a ling time, but my team had refused because we were scared, that was utter nonsense.
“I didn’t respond as I wanted to let my performance in the ring do the talking for me, I respect all my opponents and all who get into the ring to fight and to a certain extent my team and I did respect his power and trained accordingly.
“This fight wasn’t about titles and belts this time, it was about pride and setting the record straight, as well as making Ekow show me the respect I deserve as a fighter, we believe we did just that.
“I believe at points I could have made it easier for myself and stuck to my boxing skills, but as we both promised fireworks there was no doubt at some point that's exactly what the fans were going to get.
“Again I’d like to thank everyone in attendance for making it such an electric atmosphere and a very, very special night, I really appreciate the support and my very enthusiastic fans motivate me to perform at my best.
“I want to say a massive thank you to my sponsors; Kingsland Business Recovery, Broadway Solicitors, Janan Fashion, SouthPaw Fight Gear and Vista Gym, for their continued support in allowing me to give boxing 100%.
“Thanks to the venue Connaught Rooms, a wonderful historic venue in my hometown, after tonight I think this could well be our new home for special events.”
Ismail started training at the age of 6, and started competing at the age of 11
Yorkshire boxer Ismail Khan is the first boxer from the region to win the English title belt outright, by defending it three times.
His final defence took place on 18th February at the Magna Centre in Rotherham, seeing Ismail win the vacant 52kg English title, beating Muzi Fuyana from Middlesbrough.
It was a thrilling bout, with both young men fighting at the highest level, but in the end it was Ismail’s lightning hand speed and swift footwork that saw him take the title, securing a unanimous win in the final round.
Two weeks prior to this win, the 19-year-old Hunslet man won gold in the England University Championships.
Ismail is now training twice a day, every day, working towards the England Boxing Senior Elite Championships which start on the 18th March.
Ismail is the first boxer from the region to win the English title belt outright
Ismail said: "I am feeling fit, strong and sharp, and very confident ahead of the championships. I train at the Hunslet Boxing Club alongside a great team of boxers and coaches who push me and help me prepare for my upcoming tournament."
Ismail started training at the age of 6, and started competing at the age of 11. He is now working hard towards his dream of getting on team GB and competing in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Rash Khan, Ismail’s father and coach said: "I always get a little nervous before Ismail fights but I know how hard he trains and he is more than ready for any opponent he is up against.
“I am very proud of what he has achieved so far and I will continue to support him. I believe he's got an amazing team around him at the Hunslet Boxing Club, so we will see what the future holds."
UNITED:Amir Khan married Faryal Makhdoom on 31st May 2013 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City
In a lengthy social media rant, Amir Khan’s wife, Faryal Makhdoom, has hit out at her boxer husband’s family on Snapchat. In a lengthy rant, she wrote how they have been ‘trying to destroy’ her marriage.
She revealed on the social media app that she was nine months pregnant with the couple’s daughter Lamaisah, who is now two-years-old, when Amir was ‘told to divorce’ her.
The model said: “When you force [Amir] to divorce his wife, When she’s nine months pregnant!!! And [he] doesn’t … and he sticks besides his wife. He’s called a p***y!??? Ok, I’m guessing Islam teaches us to get married and divorce our wives and treat them bad???
“Don’t get [them] married if you’re going to abuse and bully the wife. I’ve always been so quiet but seriously this message is for everyone!
“My husband has done farrrrr more than any son has done. And far more than any brother has done. But why is he treated so bad? Jealousy? That’s disgusting.”
She added: “My husband's a multi-millionaire but still work and do my own as I can never touch his BLOOD money, when I have a right too! [sic]”
The messages - which she confirmed were mainly aimed at Mariyah - also stated that ‘she still worked because she was never allowed to touch her husband’s money’.
Faryal added: “What have I actually done lol been a good wife to your broth. I worked my ass off on a catwalk from 7am till 12am at night.
She also shared a Whatsapp screen shot showing a conversation she had had with Amir’s eldest sister Tabinda, alongside the caption: “Out of ALL people the biggest BULLY - Tabinda should be the LAST one to talk.
“She is the eldest yet the worst! Stop with ur bulls**t statements that you’ve never done anything because YOU WERE THE ONE WHO CAME TO HIT ME! How could you sit here denying [sic]”
She has since taken to her profile to thank her fans for the constant support, sharing: “Damn! The amount of love and support I get from you guys in unbelievable. Thanks a lot. I love you guys x”
Not willing to take the comments lying down though, Mariyah - who is a student at Manchester Met - took to Snapchat to ask if ‘she looked like she could beat someone up’, with an image of herself wearing a flower crown.
COLLECTION: Akbar’s bronze medal adds to his haul of accolades including a gold from the Youth Commonwealth Games and silver from the European Championships
Bradford boxer, Harris Akbar, has his sights set firmly on the 2020 Olympics after winning England’s only medal at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championship in Russia last month.
The 17-year-old Bradford College student brought home bronze from the tournament in St Petersburg, cementing his place amongst the world’s amateur elite.
BOXING BRONZE: Harris Akbar clinched third place in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championship in Russia, becoming the only English medallist in the process
The Great Horton teenager picked up third spot in the welterweight (69kg) division after being beaten on points in the semi-final by eventual gold medal winner, Sadriddin Akhmedov, of Kazakhstan.
The tournament was his last as a youth, as his looming 18th birthday will see him move up to the adult category.
He hopes to be invited to train with the Great Britain squad shortly with his long term ambition being a spot in the GB squad for the next Olympics.
“I want to get into that Great Britain squad more than anything because that means I can then start on the road to Tokyo 2020 and that is the main goal, to get gold in the Olympics,” said Akbar.
The talented teen has had enjoyed a stellar 18 months in the youth divisions, winning silver at the European Championships in Anapa this past summer after collecting the only winner's medal for England in the Commonwealth Youth Games last year.
Akbar’s ambitions to go for ‘Gold in Tokyo’ are shared by his coach, Mally McIver, the Dewsbury-based former professional boxer who has been working with Akbar for eight years at the Bradford College and Police Boxing Academy at the college’s Trinity Green campus.
“He can go all the way,” said McIver, who was with Akbar in St Petersburg as part of the England coaching staff.
“I think he has a good chance of getting on GB because he has also won a Commonwealth gold this year and a silver in the Europeans.
“The welterweight is one of the hardest divisions but they are definitely looking at him and I think he will progress.
“He is a pleasure to train and work with. He is very determined.”
WORKING HARD: Akbar and his coach, Mally MacIver, travelled to Russia for the tournament with the England setup
THE CHAMP: Tasif Khan now holds three world titles and an international master’s belt following his triumph of the WBC Bantamweight belt
Bradford boxer Tasif Khan rounded off his ‘perfect 2016’ by clinching a second world title in Bradford last weekend, defeating Ghanaian Michael Barnor for the WBC Bantamweight belt.
In front of a packed audience at The Bradford Hotel, the 33-year-old took just three rounds to earn a knockout victory against his seasoned opponent after a barrage of shots to the head and body.
Khan, who now has three world titles and an international master’s belt around his waist, stepped up a weight division to fight Barnor yet showed no signs of being overpowered.
Speaking after his victory, he said it was a night which ‘eclipses’ all others.
WINNING TEAM: Khan and his trainer Lee Murtagh, who also promoted last weekend’s fight, are all smiles with the bantamweight title
“The whole night was absolutely amazing,” he said. “This is the dream I have had since a kid - to become a champion – and now I have four titles around my waist. It is beyond anything I could have hoped for.”
He added: “For any fighter, the aim is to win as many belts as you can. That is the reason really why we took the risk to move up a weight and, as you can see, it paid off on the night.
“It was just about whether I could keep the power I have in super flyweight and be able to make a difference at the weight group above.”
COLLECTION: Khan showcases his Silverware at Bethlehem Boxing Club, in Leeds
For one of the first times in his professional boxing career, Khan came into the fight as the smaller boxer.
However, despite possessing a shorter reach, the local champ was able to land a number of heavy shots on Barnor throughout the first and second rounds.
By the third, and what turned out to be the final round, it was clear that there was only going to be one winner.
“I could sense that he was hurt in the second,” Khan added. “His mouthpiece was coming out and he was shrinking into himself with every hit.
“I knew all these heavy shots would take their toll eventually and I just had to be patient. It is exactly what we trained for and I believe he had nothing left by the end of it.”
With an impressive collection of titles to his name across two divisions, Khan says he will now drop back down to his original weight for his next bout.
Potential challengers are already being touted by different associations, whilst the possibility of even more silverware in the not-too-distant future cannot, according to the champ himself, be ruled out.
He said: “I’ll be going back to super flyweight for my next fight and I’ve heard that there is a chance that the WBC want to introduce a title at that weight which I could go for.
“There has also been talk of fighting in America but we need to sit down as a team and discuss the options in front of us before we can really say ‘what next’.
“Looking at the big picture, I now have three world titles and that only opens more doors for me in the future.”
HEAVY HITTER: Huzaifa Khan pulled off a surprise victory in the CYP Boxing Championships semi-final against Rhys Lewicki
KBW boxer lands shock victory in 75kg debut bout
A Dewsbury boxer has progressed into the final of a prestigious amateur boxing competition after claiming a huge upset victory earlier this month.
Huzaifa Khan, fighting out of KBW Boxing, shocked the amateur circuit when he defeated English 75kg belt holder and national champion, Rhys Lewicki, in a thrilling CYP boxing Championships semi-final.
In a clash of West and South Yorkshire, Khan proved too tricky for his Sheffield opponent, taking the fight on a split decision after three action-packed, heavy-hitting rounds.
With 72 fights under his belt at 75kg, Lewicki was clear favourite to win at the start of the fight, yet Khan, who was making his debut in the weight category, clearly had other ideas.
From the first bell both men looked determined to land some big blows, exchanging two and three punch combinations throughout the first three minutes.
In what was a very explosive round, the competition was fierce yet Lewicki eventually seemed to get the better of the exchanges, doing just enough to clinch the points.
Both fighters began to slow at the sound of the first bell, yet coming out of their corners for the second round, Khan looked a new man, quickly closing down Lewicki and forcing him onto the back foot.
A spate of nicely placed combinations of uppercut and hooks drew blood from the English champ as his novice opponent equalled up the points and the rounds.
With one round a piece secured, both fighters knew that the decision rested on the last round to ensure a place in the Yorkshire final.
Both fighters returned to the mat for a third and final round to a loud roar from the crowd, with the contest perfectly setup for the many neutrals on the audience.
From the sound of the bell it was evident that both fighters were not going to let this go easy and for the duration of the three minutes each boxer exchanged blow after blow.
Khan seemed to grow into the fight the longer it went on and began to land the much cleaner combos while absorbing his opponents blows on his gloves.
The determined KBW star began to deliver a string of perfectly timed combinations, once again forcing Lewicki onto the back foot and ultimately on the ropes with some devastating body shots.
With both boxers looking exhausted, the final bell rang to a standing ovation from the audience.
With a split decision announced, Khan’s hand was raised by the referee, meaning he progresses through to the CYP Boxing Regional Final to face off against Shakeel Thompson from the Manor Boxing Academy.
AMAZING VICTORY: Cartwright said it was the best feeling he had ever had when his hand was raised in July
Cartwright targets title defence in home city
When Reece Cartwright’s hand was raised in July and the IBF Youth World Middleweight Championship secured tightly around his waist, the 22-year-old Leeds boxer proclaimed ‘nobody is going to take this off me’.
WORLD CHAMPION: Reece Cartwright will defend his IBF Youth World Middleweight Championship on Friday 18th November against Mikalai Kuzmitski
This weekend, he puts that promise to the test as he makes his first title defence against unbeaten Belarusian, Mikalai Kuzmitski, at the New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries.
Boasting an unblemished record of 14 wins from 14 fights (including seven knockouts), Cartwright is quickly establishing himself in the professional ranks.
In what will be his opponent’s first visit to the UK, the Yorkshireman says he is determined to make it an unhappy visit when he steps foot in the ring.
Speaking to the Asian Express ahead of fight night, he said: “I do not feel that I am a proper world champion until I have successfully defended the belt that I have won and I can’t wait to get in the ring on Friday.
“It was amazing to win the title back in July, especially in front of all the loyal home Leeds fans - it really gave me a boost. It was a lifelong dream come true.
“Now I am looking forward to defending my title and winning in style.”
Cartwright says his preparation for the 18th November fight has been ‘on point’ and recently served as chief sparring partner to Kell 'Special K' Brook, prior to his Gennady Golovkin showdown.
POTENTIAL: Zahid ‘Magic Man’ Hussain will also be in action on Friday night
The Sheffield boxer praised the prospect o Cartwright's efforts and attitude and personally dubbed him to be the next big thing if he stays the course.
Cartwright added: “My weight and training camp have gone great and I am now ready for action and to do my estate and the city of Leeds proud."
Also in action on Friday night, on the undercard of Cartwright and Kuzmitski, is fellow Leeds heavy hitter, the unbeaten Zahid 'Magic Man' Hussain.
Victory in his warm-up fight will ensure Hussain remains in line for his first challenge for the IBF Youth World Featherweight Championship to be held in Leeds early 2017.
Other boxers in action include Bradford's Femi 'The Fire' Fehintola, Guernsey's Brad Watson and Australia's unbeaten Welterweight prospect, Dan Kennedy.
FIGHT READY: Harris Akbar has flown out to Russia with Bradford and England coach, Mally McIver, for the Youth World Boxing Championships
One of Bradford’s most promising young boxers has flown out to Russia this week to represent England at the Youth World Boxing Championships.
The 17-year-old Bradford College student will fight for his country at welterweight, 69kg, at the AIBA tournament in St Petersburg that begins on Thursday 17th November.
Born and raised in Great Horton, the teen heads into the tournament in optimistic mood having brought home a silver medal from his last trip to Russia, five months ago for the European Youth Championships.
“I feel really good - training has been going well,” said Akbar, who is among a team of just eight fighters that England Boxing have sent to St Petersburg.
“I am a bit nervous but really now just want to get in there and do my business.”
Highly-rated Akbar claimed the only winner’s medal for England in last year’s Commonwealth Youth Games
A member of the Bradford Police and College Boxing Academy, which is based at Bradford College’s Trinity Green campus, he is joined on the trip by his club and college coach, Mally McIver, who is part of the England training staff.
McIver, a former professional from Dewsbury, has high hopes for his protégé.
“He has got a good chance of winning a medal,” the optimistic coach added.
“It will be tough. There are 48 competing at his weight, making it one of the busiest categories. But with a good draw he is more than capable of delivering a medal.
“He deservedly won silver at the Europeans in Anapa over the summer and it is great to see him step up to the worlds now.”
The AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships run from 17th to 27th November.
READY AND WAITING: Amir Khan believes he has what it takes to beat Manny Pacquiao and labelled him as a ‘friend’
Amir Khan says it would be an ‘honour’ to fight Manny Pacquiao after the Filipino superstar said he would be open to the matchup.
Eight-weight champion Pacquiao was speaking ahead of his victorious world title clash with Jessie Vargas last weekend, shown exclusively live on BoxNation.
And despite stating that Khan was a ‘friend’ he hinted a future clash would be something that he would be willing to make happen, prompting the Bolton boxer to state his readiness to do battle.
“Manny is great fighter and one of the best around,” Khan told BoxNation.
“It would be an honour to share the ring with him and would be a very entertaining fight for the fans. I know Manny well and he is a friend of mine but sometimes you have to put that to the side as boxers.
“It’s important for my hand to fully heal after my operation but it’s feeling good and I want to make the biggest fights possible as soon as it’s 100% - no matter who it’s against,” he said.
29-year-old Khan also believes that despite his losses to Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao is still a very dangerous opponent to go in against.
“Manny is still one of the top welterweights in the world. He’s got great speed, power and creates good angles. I think our two styles mix well and would make for an edge-of-the-seat sort of fight,” said Khan.
“There are definitely some things I can take advantage of against him and I believe being the younger and more youthful fighter would help.
“We’re both all-action fighters and like to attack so it would be a really intriguing fight,” he said.
HE’S BACK: Manny Pacquiao made a successful return to the ring last weekend
37-year-old Pacquiao has put his political responsibilities on hold as a senator in the Philippines as he looks to claim another world title this weekend against WBO champion Vargas.
Khan feels that Pacquiao will have too much for the American and is tipping his old stablemate to do the business at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
“I think Manny’s movement and style will be too much for Vargas to handle,” said Khan.
“He’s going to be too quick and elusive and I expect him to win on points. He seems very focused on this fight because he knows how important it is to win it.
“Beating Vargas and winning a world title will help set up more big fights and prove he still has a lot to give,” he said.
Pacquiao v Vargas is exclusively live on BoxNation (Sky/Freeview/Virgin/TalkTalk/EE/Apple TV/Online & App) this Saturday night. Buy now at boxnation.com.
READY TO FIGHT: Khan says training has been going well and is looking forward to returning to the ring
After living out his dream of becoming a world champion earlier this year, Bradford boxer Tasif Khan says he is ‘yet to come down’ from the high he felt that night in February.
Fighting in front of his home crowd at the city’s Cedar Court Hotel, the 33-year-old became a double world title holder as he clinched the World Boxing Union (WBU) and Global Boxing Union (GBU) World Super Flyweight Championships with a knockout victory over Ghana’s Isaac Quaye.
Since then, Khan has enjoyed reflecting back on that night, acting as a community role model for aspiring young boxers.
AMBITIOUS: Tasif Khan is aiming to add further Gold to his waist next month as he looks to move up weight divisions for another world title showdown
Despite living out the ‘best ten months of his professional career to date’, Khan admits that the time for reflection is now almost over as he prepares to enter the ring once again this November, with more gold in his sights.
“I’m fighting a guy from Ghana called Michael Barnor and we are hoping to face off for the World Boxing Confederation’s (WBC) Bantamweight title,” he explained.
“There are still a couple of things to be sorted but all being well, I will be moving up a weight division for the fight as it is just too big of an opportunity to ignore.”
The WBC title is currently vacant and a decision will be made over the coming days as to whether it will be made available for Khan’s November showdown.
In the meantime, Khan is working hard in the gym to prepare for the fight.
“Training has been great and whether I’m moving up a weight or Barnor has to move down one to fight for my titles, I will be ready,” he said. “As the saying goes – it’s hard to win titles, but even harder to keep them.”
He added: “I’ve really been looking forward to getting back in the ring before Christmas and to have it here in Bradford makes it even more special.
“It brings back the memory of winning the titles in February and with the way things are going so far, this is turning out to be another potentially fantastic fight as well.”
The Khan-Barnor fight is scheduled for Friday 25th November, at the Bradford Hotel on Hall Ings Road. Tickets are available now from the hotline: 07944 655735, and can also be picked up from Janan Designer Outlet.
In a final thanks to his fans and sponsors, Khan said: “The response since my last fight, both here in Bradford and further afield, has been amazing. It’s only just really sunk in what I achieved. It was a lifetime ambition and a dream come true.
“When I started out as a kid in boxing, my aim was to win as many belts as possible. I can’t thank the fans and sponsors enough for their help. Without them, there would be no world titles.”
EUROPEAN DEBUT: Khalid Ayub fought for the first time in Croatia last week as an English representative in the Schoolboys European Boxing Championships
European debut for teen boxer
Boxing on the big stage is becoming somewhat of a regular occurrence for a local boxer from Batley who last week travelled to Croatia to compete in the Schoolboys European Boxing Championships.
Fourteen-year-old Khalid Ayub, who boxes out of the Warrior Breed gym, flew off to the Baltic state with his coaches for the biggest competition of his career to date.
In a performance streamed around Europe Ayub was unfortunate to lose out on his European debut but impressed his GB coaches and the local team alike.
Adam Bham, from Warrior Breed, said Ayub had a lot to be proud of following the close contest and was looking forward to seeing him continue to develop as a boxer.
“Throughout the fight, Khalid displayed maturity beyond his years,” Adam said. “He has acknowledged the set back and maintained that he is eager to return to the gym and continue to improve himself and win more titles.
“The England coaching team have been left with high expectations for the future with further bouts lined up against boxers from Scotland and Denmark later this season, Khalid continues his training and will shortly join the English training camps once again.”
The European Championships is known to be the ultimate test for GB's amateurs, with nearly all qualifiers being ranked ‘number one’ in their home countries.
The schoolboy division is hotly contested with representatives holding high hopes of reaching Olympic podium squads within four to eight years.
Khalid will be hoping to get back to winning ways when he returns to the ring with the national set up against opponent from Scotland and Denmark later this season.
Top Leeds featherweight prospect, Zahid 'The Magic Man' Hussain, came close to the brink of defeat as he suffered the first knock down of his unbeaten eight-fight career from tough Polish veteran fighter Ignac Kassai.
Hussain was in total control of the opening round as he majestically out boxed the southpaw brawler. However a lapse of focus from The Magic Man in the dying seconds of that first round was all that Kassai needed to unleash a heavy KO blow.
This caught The Magic Man Zahid flush, sending him to the canvas heavily. Zahid got up way too quickly in my opinion to take the referee's mandatory count. Sensing that he was on the verge of a major upset Kassai pounced on Zahid like a hungry tiger, but alas it was too late as the bell sounded for the end of the round.
From my vantage point, had there been another 20 seconds remaining the Pole would have cleaned Hussain's clock and would have surely got the victory. Clearly shaken and with a touch of embarrassment he returned sheepishly to his corner to be given the riot act by his corner-man and brother Wahid Hussain. I could not hear what was said in the corner but it definitely did the trick.
The Magic Man came out and produced a boxing comeback of epic proportion. Slick footwork, razor sharp jabs which pounded into the face of Kassai. Slowly but surely he took Kassai out into open deep water slowly drowning him and getting back to the script.
The referee intervened mid way in the third round as a little cut had appeared on the face of Kassai. The fight was allowed to continue. Winning rounds two and three comfortably, still with the affects of embarrassment from the first round, Hussain came out with a vengeance to put things right, and wow did he do that.
With his machine gun jabs and a booming right hand he dissected Kassai’s face. Each super jab ripping into the cut eye and the open flesh. Kassai’s face was a mess. The Magic Man was like a wild hyena who sensed that meal time was coming.
Throwing a multiple seven punch combination he ripped open the cut forcing the referee to call the doctor once again. This time the doctor had no choice but to hold the contest, he did not want to send the valiant Pole back home minus an eye. So the referee waved the contest over. Zahid was ecstatic, he ran to the corner ropes to salute his adoring fans who were all on their feet after this rollercoaster ride.
Although having flair and style The Magic Man showed and answered the question that many fighters are asked in time of a crisis fight, that like a warrior in near defeat he got off the canvas dusted himself down, wiped his mouth and heroically clawed back to victory in emphatic style.
I believe he will learn a lot from this experience that this game is as dangerous as it comes and excuse the pun but 'every fighter has a puncher’s chance'.
CLEAR WINNER: After ten rounds, the Leeds boxer had his hand raised after a unanimous points decision
Leeds boxer ‘Wrights’ his name in the history books
When Reece Cartwright first stepped into the boxing ring he was an eight-year-old wondering what the best way to grapple his opponent to the mat would be.
VICTORIOUS: Reece Cartwright is the new IBF youth middleweight world champion
Fourteen years on and the Halton Moor lad has just written his name in the history books after becoming Leeds’ first ever World Champion.
The now 22-year-old is the proud holder of the IBF youth middleweight world championship, following his victory over Finland's Henri Kekalainen at Leeds’ Royal Armouries earlier this month.
An ecstatic Cartwright told the Asian Express, it was a moment that eclipses all others.
“I can’t put it into words,” he said. “It was an amazing fight and the best feeling I have ever had.
“No one will ever understand how I felt that night when my hand was raised.”
Walking down to the ring to Oasis’ ‘Live Forever’ the Yorkshireman was still fighting a chest infection on the night but was able to complete all ten rounds to take the fight on a unanimous points decision.
Going the distance for the first time in his professional career Cartwright was able to utilise his natural stamina to dictate the pace of the fight, landing multiple punch combinations and educated body shots.
WELCOMING CHALLENGERS: Cartwright says there is not a chance anyone will get the belt off him
Fighting with intelligence, and continuous quick jabs, Kekalainen had no chance to establish himself in the early rounds as the tempo continued to rise.
Despite all judges awarding every round to the British competitor, Cartwright says he wasn’t 100 per cent happy with his performance, but will be when it comes to his defending his crown.
“The fight went to plan in the end but it wasn’t perfect,” he said. “There were a few mistakes in there which I made but I made sure they didn’t cost me any points.
“When I come to defend the belt it I know there won’t be any more mistakes. There is not a chance anyone is going to take this off me.”
Up next for the young middleweight is a July bout followed by his first title defence in November.
With the world at his feet, and the belt around his waist to prove it, Cartwright’s on his way to the top.
SILVER SUCCESS: Harris Akbar clinched silver in the EUBC European Youth Championships in Russia
Bradford boxer lands silver medal in European championships
Harris Akbar’s rise in the world of boxing shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, with the Bradford competitor clinching his latest accolade in Russia last week.
The 17-year-old, from Bradford, returned from the 2016 EUBC European Youth Championships with a silver medal following a number of strong performances.
It was the Bradford College and Police ABC boxer's fifth bout in a tough tournament that eventually proved his downfall, as he lost out to a Russian boxer in the final.
Until then, Akbar had reinforced his credentials as an international athlete with a string of comprehensive wins, registering all unanimous points’ victories.
However, competing on Russian soil against a Russian opponent is always going to be a tough task for any Brit, and Akbar knows he may have come away with a different shade of medal has he fought elsewhere.
RISING STAR: Harris qualified for the European Championships following victory in the nationals
Speaking of the tournament, he said: “All my fights were against top opponents and I managed to win four out of five. I felt great in all of them and was confident going into the final.
“In any other country I think I’d of been coming home with the Gold but it’s all experience at the end of the day.
“A lot of people will have seen the fight in a different way than the judges.”
Next month Harris will travel to the States to compete in the Ringside Championships yet a return to Russia is also just around the corner as the Worlds return this winter.
“I am so determined to win gold when I go back [to Russia],” he added. “I know I can do it and will just continue to work hard towards my goals.”
Harris qualified for the Euros by winning the Nationals and followed that up with victories in Ukraine and the Great Britain Championships.
TIPPED FOR THE TOP: Harris’ coach, Mally MacIver, predicts a bright future for the teen talent
His coach, Mally MacIver, says it is the local fighter’s ‘commitment to the sport’ that has helped him excel so far so early in his boxing career.
“He’s a brilliant boxer and fantastic to train,” the proud coach said. “He certainly has a big future ahead of him.
“To win a silver in Russia is a fantastic achievement, especially considering that boxing a Russian in Russia can be more corrupt than judging in the Eurovision Song contest.
“Everybody thought he should have won gold but silver is still fantastic.”
REMEMBERED: Muhammad Ali sadly passed away at the age of 74 last week
Muhammad Ali will forever be known as one of the most inspirational boxers in history and one of the greatest sportsmen the world has ever seen.
From the glory days of rumbling in the jungle and thrilling in Manilla to his fight with Parkinson’s disease, the man, known simply as ‘The Greatest’, lived up to his title all his life.
Following his sad passing on Friday 3rd June, tributes poured in for the icon from all over the world.
In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron lead the way with a message on Twitter, writing: “Muhammad Ali was not just a champion in the ring - he was a champion of civil rights, and a role model for so many people.”
LEGEND: An icon in the sport of boxing, Ali is one of the most revered sportsmen of all time
In the world of boxing, current heavyweight star, Anthony Joshua, called Ali an idol. “Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali,” he wrote. “Thank you for inspiring and empowering athletes everywhere.
“He was and still is an inspiration to so many. RIP the greatest.”
Bolton’s Amir Khan reflected on the time he met with the former world champion in his message.
“It is extremely sad to witness the passing of boxing's greatest fighter and icon Muhammad Ali,” he said.
“I would like to send my deepest condolences and thoughts to his family at this time.
“No fighter or sportsman will ever reach the level of Muhammad Ali, whose name will continue to echo through the ages. Inspiring, charismatic, a true legend - Ali will never be forgotten.
“Having the chance to meet the great man will be a memory and privilege I will always hold dear to me - an incredible human being, fighter and role model.
“Thank you Muhammad for inspiring us all.”
Nicola Adams, who won Gold at the London Olympics in 2012, says Ali was inspiration for her as she paved the way for women to pursue a career in boxing.
“He said he was ‘The Greatest’ and he really was,” she wrote in a personal blog. “He was the greatest boxer that ever lived.
“I never got to meet him, unfortunately, but he was a great person inside and outside of the ring and he will definitely be missed by a lot of people.
“My favourite memory of him is the Rumble in the Jungle fight against George Foreman in 1974. I’m the sort of person who goes back and watches the old classic fights and that one is definitely my favourite.
“He was a very special character and I’m not sure there’ll ever be anyone like him again. He was one of my heroes and there are things about the way he fought that I try and bring to my style – I even did the Ali shuffle during a fight at London 2012.”
WINNER: Khalid is triumphant and will be selected for the European Tournament in July
A 14-year-old ‘giant of a boxer’ has seized the Class B National Schoolboy’s Title in the 65KG division, becoming Warrior Breed’s second national champion this year.
Khalid Ayub spoke through social media following his victory, saying: “I fought in the final last year and lost on a split [decision] and I was heartbroken, but I kept working hard and now I am number one in my division.
“It's been a long journey and I still can't believe it.”
The plucky pugilist won by a unanimous decision after ‘boxing a good kid’ and joins club-mate Amaar Akbar as a national champ.
Victory also ensures the young teen will be selected for the European Championships in July, set to take place after the Three Nations and England training camps this month.
Khalid added: “I would like to say thanks to my coaches and the rest of the Warrior Breed team for their continued support.”
Warrior Breed’s head coach, Zahir Akbar, said he was thrilled to see the gym produce its second national champion.
WARRIORS: The club already has two national champions under its belt
He said: “Warrior Breed now has two national champions and it’s still early days. We were affiliated only in September 2014.
“Since that time we have had much success. We have had many folk come and go and have built a reputation as a no nonsense kind of gym.
“My family have been in the fighting game for many years and have much experience.”
The club adopts an old school mentality and ‘doesn’t play about’ when it comes to training and developing their boxers.
Since being affiliated, the club has had many Yorkshire Champs, with several going through to National quarters, semis, and three finals.
Zahir continued: “We’ve produced two national champions, one who is now representing England. Most of my boxers are home grown - bar a few - and we have had to work hard to get them winning titles.”
TIPPED FOR THE TOP: Ismail Khan has been invited to a GB training camp and hopes to land a place on the podium team (pic credit: Sam Young)
Beeston boxer has eyes on national stage
A boxer’s first year as a senior is so often the defining year for their sporting career. Will they make it to the big time or will they struggle to make an impact outside of the junior divisions?
For Leeds boxer, Ismail Khan, his inaugural term in the ‘big leagues’ couldn’t have gone much better, with his latest call up to a Great Britain assessment camp the icing on the cake.
Over the past 12 months, the 18-year-old Bradford College student has won the English elite title belt, the northern belt and made it to the final of the Senior Elite Championships – despite being the youngest competitor.
This weekend he will face off against representatives from across Great Britain as he takes his position as the England representative in the Three Nations in Dunfermline, Scotland.
After a whirlwind rise in the sport, Khan says he is ready for any challenge which may lie ahead.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Ismail’s father, Rash Khan, is his trainer at KBW boxing gym (pic credit: Sam Young)
“It’s been an amazing start to my first year as a senior and it's only getting better,” he said.
“I will perform to the best of my ability in the Three Nations and that will hopefully result in me getting a place on team GB.
“There are busy times ahead and I am more than ready.”
Khan fights out of the KBW Boxing Gym in Dewsbury and is coached by his father, Rash.
The close-knit family team say they have high hopes for the near and distant future with national international stages calling for the local big hitter.
“In his first senior year, he’s succeeded way beyond my expectations,” Rash said. “He’s really had an amazing year and excelled so much.
“I think there is even more to come for him yet and we couldn’t have asked for a better year.”
Success in the GB assessment could potentially see Khan signed up to the GB Podium squad with such a move potentially opening doors to future Commonwealth and Olympic opportunities.
“That’s our goal,” Rash added. “If he keeps training and developing his technique the way he has been, I don’t see why he can’t go all the way.”
HEAVY HITTER: Ismail possesses both speed and power
KNOCK OUT: Amir Khan was knocked out by Canelo Alvarez in his last bout yet has vowed to comeback stronger back in the welterweight division
Bolton boxer Amir Khan has laughed off suggestions by Matchroom Sport chairman, Barry Hearn, that he should ‘hang up his gloves’ and is instead targeting a return to the welterweight division.
Following his knockout defeat at the hands of Canelo Alvarez in Vegas earlier this month, Hearn had said that he thought the Brit’s time on the boxing scene was done.
RETIRE: Barry Hearn has called on Khan to retire following his loss in Vegas
Despite a valiant effort against the destructive Alvarez in their Middleweight clash, Khan was knocked to the floor in the fifth round after a heavy blow from the Mexican.
Hearn, whose son Eddie handles the career of IBF champ Kell Brook, told reporters he would worry for the safety of Khan if he continued with his career.
“Listen, the guy has been knocked out at lightweight, he's been knocked out at light-welterweight, now he's been knocked out at middleweight - and he's deciding who he'll want to fight?” he said.
“He should retire. He should retire for his own health. These people won't listen. He says he's got three or four fights left in him. Does that mean three or four times he's going to get knocked out? Because if he fights Kell Brook, he gets knocked out, and he knows that as well. We all know that.
“It's a fight that we would all have loved to have seen, but frankly it's gone past it's sell-by date and Amir Khan has gone by his sell-by date as well. The only person who doesn't know it, is Amir Khan.”
In response, Khan wrote via his Twitter feed: “Barry I'm 29 years old. I still have huge fights at welterweight” accompanied by a laughing emoji.
The fight between Khan and Brook is one which many boxing fans have been waiting for yet one which the prior has repeatedly said he is not interested in previously.
Will the fight happen now that Khan is heading back to the welterweights? Only time will tell.
FUTURE BOUT: Kell Brook has stated he wants a fight with Khan to materialise yet the Bolton fighter has repeatedly said ‘no’
SPORTS EDUCATION: Sixth formers at GSAL were delighted to meet one of Leeds' best boxers who visited the school with Sports Relief
Leeds boxer visits Grammar School At Leeds
Upper sixth students at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) took ringside seats to hear first-hand about the life of one of the UK’s rising stars in boxing.
Team GB bantamweight boxer, Qais Ashfaq from Leeds, has the Olympics in his sights.
He is seeking to qualify for Rio 2016 after undergoing intensive training at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
He has reason to be confident following a successful 2015 in which he won bronze at the European Games in Baku, followed by silver at the European Amateur Championships in Samokov.
Qais had previously won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
As a thank you for GSAL, Sport Relief arranged for Qais to come to school and meet students.
GSAL was one of the charity’s top 500 fundraisers in 2014, and Qais expressed his personal gratitude to the charity - which he believes has helped him to achieve his dream of making boxing his career.
He said: “I took up boxing at the age of eight and Sport Relief has been supporting me since I was a kid.
“I received several little grants from a young age and it would have been hard to keep going without their help.”
During a Q&A session with Qais, students studying physical education at A-level raised topics ranging from the practical - training regime and diet - to the psychological - how do you keep motivated for training and get in the zone before a competition?
Qais said: “The motivation for me is when I have fights coming up - it gives me the extra push. Before a match, I’ve always been the guy to just have a laugh with the others.
“We’re there as a team and I box better when I’m relaxed.”
The students were enthusiastic about their session with Qais.
Hollie Bruce said: “It was great to meet a future Olympian and get an insight into a professional athlete’s life.”
Harvey Walker said: “I found it interesting to learn about the sport institute and how it helps out young athletes in their development.”
OLYMPIC BOUND: Qais Ashfaq has his sights set on the Olympics in Rio this summer
Ashfaq triumphs in fierce fight against Mexican
Leeds’ Qais Ashfaq continued to build up momentum ahead of the Olympic qualifiers later this year landing a convincing points victory during the latest clash in World Series Boxing.
The 22-year-old was one of five British Lionheart boxers to dominate their bouts with the Mexican Guerreros, as they recorded a 5-0 whitewash against their opponents.
This victory consolidates the team’s position at the top of the Group B standings.
Ashfaq, who faced off against Mexico’s Sergio Chirino in the bantamweight contest, put in a textbook performance to secure a unanimous points victory.
Ashfaq said: “The kid was bigger than me, taller than me, had a long reach, and I knew he was game. He’s Mexican and fighting is in his blood.
“He was confident coming into the fight, you could see it in his face, he was trying to intimidate me. He was all up in my face and acting out so I think from the off you could tell we didn’t really get along.
“When we got in the ring I just did what I do best. I stayed relaxed, boxed him, made him make mistakes and made him pay.”
Alongside Ashfaq’s victory were wins for fellow Lionhearts Galal Yafai, Lawrence Okolie, Pat McCormack and Anthony Fowler.
With another win under the belt, all eyes now turn towards the Olympic qualifiers in April when the Ashfaq and his fellow Team GB representatives will find out if they have what it takes to book their plane ticket to Rio this summer.
“It’s all about just hitting the gym now and keeping on my toes,” Ashfaq added. “The last thing I need is an injury so I keep training well and keep focussed on what I have to do.”
Ashfaq is currently at a training camp in Sheffield where Team GB have welcomed a Thai team for sparring.
Whether the Yorkshireman can prove he is the best the world has to offer is yet to be seen but we will surely find out when the Olympics kick off in August.
HARD HITTER: Harris won three fights in three days to claim his title
PROSPECT: Harris clinched both the 69kg title and Tony Burns award at the England Boxing Youth Championships
Two titles in three days for hard-hitting Akbar
Bradford’s latest teenage boxing sensation, Mohammed Harris Akbar, consolidated his place at the top of his division last weekend, after being named Most Outstanding Boxer at the England Boxing Youth Championships.
The 17-year-old welterweight competitor continues to fight ahead of his years as he overcame the best amateurs the country had to offer to claim victory in the 69kg category.
After a comprehensive point’s victory over Beartown's Ramtin Mushah in the quarter-finals, a TKO followed in the first round against Sudbury's Jake Sumner in the semis.
Setting himself up for a showdown with Bradley Goldsmith of Triumph Boxing Club in the final, the Yorkshire fighter once again made light work of his opponent with a unanimous point’s victory.
Speaking after the tournament, he said: “The whole three days went really well for me.
CHAMP IN THE MAKING: Harris Akbar is already a Commonwealth Youth Games Gold medallist and member of the England Boxing Youth squad (pic credit: Sam Young)
“The first fight was a proper boxing match but the next two I think you can say I gave them a bit of a lesson in boxing to be honest.
“I felt great all weekend and to get my hands on the belt again.”
To cap off an action-packed weekend of competing, Akbar was then awarded the Tony Burns Award for Most Outstanding Boxer after all fighting had concluded.
The inaugural award is named after the Repton Boxing Club coach with a reputation for producing champions at all levels, and will be presented annually.
“To win the Tony Burns award was a special moment,” he said. “We were told before the competition about the award and to perform at our best to be in contention.
“A shortlist was drawn up and when they read my name out it was amazing. It was a shock for me.”
Harris, who represents Bradford Police and College Boxing Academy, is already a Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist and member of the England Boxing Youth squad at 69kg.
CHAMPION: Tasif Khan now holds three titles as he continues his rise in the boxing world
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.
VICTORY: Khan says he has accomplished a childhood dream by winning the two belts
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.
BRUTE FORCE: Khan tackles the storm-damaged household items
Boxer fights through the rain to help local families in flooded Cumbrian village
On Saturday 12th December, World Champion boxer Amir Khan and the Amir Khan Foundation, alongside international charity Penny Appeal, showed practical support and morale to the victims of the recent flooding disaster in Cumbria.
Amir waded through the beleaguered streets of Carlisle, witnessing the devastation of the floods at first-hand and providing physical support by helping to move residents’ furniture and household items that had been destroyed in Storm Desmond.
Penny Appeal, a humanitarian charity from the UK which helps poor and needy people around the world, organised a solidarity day at the local Greystone Community Centre, where Amir Khan served hot meals to locals and handed out some early festive presents to young children from the flood-hit area.
CHARITABLE: Khan helps people from the Penny Appeal with boxes of charity goods
Graham Weber, Greystone Community Centre Manager, said: “Having an icon like Amir Khan here has given the people of Carlisle a real lift – and it’s come at just the right time as many homes are still without electricity and gas. The volunteers have been just as brilliant and I can’t thank everybody involved enough.”
After offering support at the centre, Amir went back on to the streets to hand-deliver food parcels and hot dinners to the elderly and those isolated at home.
Amir Khan said: “It was heartbreaking to see just how the floods have destroyed people’s homes, including kitchens, living areas and even things like children's toys. The Amir Khan Foundation wanted to show their support by giving out food and even some new toys to the kids, and remind those affected that they’re not alone in dealing with this crisis.”
HAPPINESS: An advent calendar and a hug from the boxer puts a smile on this child’s face after a very wet and troubled month in Cumbria
Aamer Naeem, Penny Appeal CEO, added: “The UK community always gives generously when disasters strike overseas, but we recognise that people at home need help too. That’s why Penny Appeal is proud to be carrying out essential work in the UK and we’re also delighted that we can safely facilitate our network of volunteers who want to get more involved.”
As British boxers continue to dominate sport headlines around the world this month, a local Leeds fighter has proven he is certainly ‘one to watch’ for the future after clinching a prestigious national title.
Bradford College Student, Ismail Khan, fought his way to victory in the National Association of Boys and Girls Clubs (NABGC) last week, triumphing in the 52kg category against the experienced James McDonagh.
Having qualified through the regional heats last month, the 18-year-old arrived at the national finals on Thursday 3rd December at Sir Phillip Game Centre in Croydon.
Both boxers made a cautious start to the contest, opting to fight on the back foot and waiting for their opponents to make a mistake and present an opening.
It was eventually Khan’s lightening hand speed and perfect timing which gave him the advantage over McDonagh, who had previously only suffered one defeat in his amateur career.
Landing some well-timed combinations in the second round, he kept out of reach of McDonagh’s jab, dominating the closing exchanges.
After a sweaty and sensational fight, Khan claimed a unanimous point’s decision and is now the proud holder of the NABGC 2015 title.
With the ABAs now in his sights, the future looks bright for the boxer from Beeston with this latest achievement put down to hard work and teamwork.
BOXING: Khan says he has the ABAs in his sights as he hopes to build up a reputation in the amateurs
Speaking after his championship win, Ismail said: “I was really happy to win this title and I’ve worked extremely hard to get it this year.
“I knew this year was my year, since joining KBW. We have an excellent team and brilliant facilities and I have progressed really well since I moved.
“I’d like to give a big thank you to my father (and coach) Rash Khan, for putting the time in with me over the years and also my KBW coaches; Alan Haque, Tanny Hussain, Shammy Cheema and my old coach Keith Tate from Cleckheaton Boxing Academy.
“I would also like to thank all my team mates and friends, not forgetting my previous clubs, Burmantofts ABC and Hunslet Boys’ Club from Leeds, where I started my boxing journey as a child.”
READY: Amaar Akbar will compete in the final of the national Junior Development Championship next weekend in the 54-57kg category
A 15-year-old boxer from Dewsbury is just one win away from clinching the national Junior Develop-ment Championship title, despite only taking up the sport less than 18 months ago.
Amaar Akbar, competing out of Warrior Breed gym, has picked up three victories over the past five weeks to seal his place in England’s final, where he faces off against Cualay Suttie, from the Thames Valley.
Defeating challengers from across the country, the finals at Rotherham’s Magna Centre on Saturday 10th October will be the Mirfield Free Grammar pupil’s biggest test to date but one he says he is ready for.
DETERMINED: After picking up the Yorkshire regional title earlier this year, Akbar says he is ready for the national final in Rotherham
“My preparation has been good in training and in sparring and I am confident for the fight next week,” he said.
“I’ve always believed that I can go far as long as I stay confident and just keep putting the hard work in. It is great to see it paying off with the national championships.”
Akbar has a stellar fighting record since taking up the sport, losing just one out of 10 bouts, and will hope to earn his tenth win in next weekend’s 54-57kg final.
With victory likely to open many more doors for the aspiring future Olympic competitor, he adds that disappointment in last year’s championships will act as further motivation this time around.
“Last year I lost in the Yorkshire finals so I really wanted to win that one which I did earlier this year,” he said.
“Now I’m in the final of the nationals and it is a great opportunity.
“I will be fighting a guy from London who I don’t really know much about but as long as I box as I know I am capable of doing so, I know I can win. The fact we are fighting in Yorkshire as well will be a great feeling.”
In May 2014, Akbar had his first boxing session and has never looked back.
Training at Warrior Breed with his coach and father, Zahir, he is following in his father’s footsteps in the sport and both are determined to ensure the teenage prodigy can achieve his full potential.
Zahir adds: “I am 120 per cent confident that he has all the skill and ability needed to win the national title next week.
“As a boxer myself in my younger days, it is great to see Amaar succeeding in the sport, at levels few people can, and we all just want to see him bring home the English championship.
“Since earning our affiliation in October 2014, Warrior Breed have had five Yorkshire champions as well as finalists in the national schoolboys and junior competitions. Amaar’s fight next week is another example of the huge strides we are making as a gym in such a short time.”
World champion boxer gets hands-on to help those fleeing conflict
Amir Khan Foundation and Penny Appeal deliver special aid convoy from UK to refugees in Greece
A special Amir Khan Foundation and Penny Appeal aid convoy reached Greece earlier this week, where the 28-year-old boxer and teams from both charities handed out thousands of donated items to desperate refugees.
Two-time World Champion boxer, Amir Khan, hand delivered aid in the Greek capital Athens and on the island of Lesbos, on the weekend beginning 22nd September, where thousands of conflict-escaping refugees are arriving every day.
Amir joined Penny Appeal in handing out urgently needed food and water and spoke with refugees about their perilous journeys so far, and what help they need going forward.
Khan said: "The trip was a real emotional rollercoaster. We were so happy to have helped the people we could, but deeply saddened by the number of refugees we couldn't help.
“The donated items for the aid convoy are making a massive difference to those refugees who are arriving on the shores of Greece with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing.”
The convoy of around 23 tonnes was loaded with thousands of items, including clothes, hygiene products, sleeping bags, food and water, which had been donated by the generous UK public in just four days. The vehicles left from Amir’s Bolton gym on Tuesday (16th) morning for a gruelling 2,500 mile trip across Europe.
Khalil Benkhalil, a volunteer driver, said: “As we drove further into Europe we saw more and more refugees and were struck by the harsh reality they face in an effort to find a safe place to call home.
“For every item we handed out, we received so much gratitude, which just shows what these things mean to the refugees we helped.”
Wasim Akhtar, Director at Penny Appeal, added: “Having witnessed at first-hand the tens of thousands of men, women and children - all in urgent need - we know this is a growing crisis that the world needs to respond to.
“Penny Appeal is still working on the ground and is committed to helping as many displaced refugees as we can. People in the UK can still show their support by donating towards lifeline kits, which contain essential food, shelter and hygiene items and will be distributed direct to refugees in places like Athens and Lesbos by Penny Appeal teams.”
POTENTIAL: Hamed Ghaz is one of Bradford’s top boxing prospects and hopes to one day have a world title around his waist (image courtesy of SJ Young Photography)
Exciting boxer signs with solicitors as ‘rise to the top’ begins
One of Bradford’s top boxing prospects says he ‘will’ be world champion one day and at just 18-years-old, it seems the world is at his feet.
Hamed Ghaz, from Undercliffe, has had two pro fights since turning professional last year, picking up two victories as he makes his first impression on the senior light welterweight stage.
Compared to a young Robert Duran, the teenage ace trains out of Burmantofts Amateur Boxing Club and has recently completed warm weather training in Marbella alongside the likes of Adil Anwar.
It has always been his ambition to break into the professional ranks and after a convincing start to his career, following on from a highly impressive amateur back-ground, Ghaz says now is the time for the hard work to begin.
SPONSOR: Shazad Dad, of S H Dad Solicitors, is one of the main supporters of Ghaz’s rising career
“As soon as I turned 18, I turned professional because I have always been told that my style is one which is best suited to the professional sport,” he said.
“I had 34 amateur fights and was Yorkshire champion three times but I knew I had to make the step up as soon as possible to help me progress.
“I look up to Robert Duran as an idol. I watch videos of his fights all the time and I have a similar style to him so he is my idol in the sport.”
In Ghaz’s debut against Jason Nesbitt in November 2014, the young fighter got his first taste of the professional leagues, eventually winning on points at Leeds’ Elland Road Banqueting Suite.
Four months later and he was back in action at the same venue, this time knocking out his opponent in just over two and a half minutes, showing the other side of his hard hitting repertoire.
“The fights so far have been really good experience,” he added. “My aim is to one day be world champion but at the moment I just want to get some wins under my belt and climb the ladder.”
Bradford-based S H Dad Solicitors are one of the rising star’s sponsors and Ghaz says he is thankful for all the support he has received.
“They have been great with me since day one and I wouldn’t have been able to get to some of the places I have without their support.
“By providing me with sponsorship it has allowed me to progress onto televised shows and show my talents to a wider audience.”
Shazad Dad, owner of the solicitors, said it was a corporate responsibility to support local talent to ensure they can achieve what they are capable of, adding Shazad was a great example of ‘exciting potential’.
“I am a big boxing fan myself and I think it is very important that we support our local talent,” he said. “Growing up it is a great way of keeping out of trouble and the sport can really encourage kids to push themselves that little bit harder.
“We want to encourage boxers, such as Hamed, to keep pursuing success in the sport. I’ve seen him fight and he has real exciting potential and I’m confident he has a bright future ahead of him.”
The life of a boxer is not an easy one and only a handful of boxers actually make any significant money or gain popularity from this brutal sport. Boxing often can leave competitive boxers with physical and mental health issues long after they have retired from the sport due to the constant heavy punching endured in the boxing ring.
A boxer needs to develop physical and the mental qualities to make him a success and must withstand the pain and fatigue that he suffers during training and then in the boxing ring.
One such boxer who did make it in the sport of boxing was Jermain “Bad intentions” Taylor who fought some of the best boxers in the world and managed to beat them. Taylor was once considered the most talented boxers of our generation.
As an amateur Taylor held numerous boxing titles and achieved a bronze medal in the Sydney Olympics at the age of 21 years old.
Taylor was often referred as “the American boxing star with a fighting attitude that welcomed big fights.” Taylor managed to gain impressive wins against hall of fame boxers like Bernard Hopkins, Winky Wright, Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley and Cory Spinks.
Taylor fought the best without hesitation and received heavy punching blows in the process eventually starting to lose fights by being knockout and then after a long absence from the ring he fought Arthur Abraham suffering a loss and a severe concussion and bleeding on the brain.
This is when the significant problems started in Taylor’s life with many observers and doctors commenting that Taylor was suffering from long term damage to his brain known as “Traumatic Brain Injury.”
However despite Taylor posting erratic videos on the social media and being charged with two felonies after shooting his cousin in the leg, Taylor managed to pass his boxing medical test and obtain a licence to continue his boxing career.
On 9th October 2014 Taylor managed to do what most critics were calling “mission impossible” and managed to capture the IBF Middleweight title with a convincing win against the champion Sam Soliman.
Taylor had defied the odds and won a world middleweight title again and finally things started to look more promising for the American.
Taylor the boxing champion was due to defend his IBF title in a couple of months, but has again been involved in an incident where he has allegedly pointed a gun at a man’s head and threated to shoot three small children at an Arkansas parade.
On 21st January 2015 it has been reported that Taylor has now been booked back into jail after the judge has revoked his bond due to the previous firearms case. Taylor is now certain to be remanded and receive a lengthy jail sentence.
The Taylor story represents how easy it is to fall from grace and at one time he had boxing status, respect and prestige, but now will probably not be able to fight as a professional boxer ever again.