GRAFT: Adil Anwar (left) and Hamed Ghaz sweat out session at Burmantofts gym
Yorkshire fighters Adil Anwar and Hamed Ghaz have been putting in the hard yards in preparation of Ghaz’s upcoming fight
Adil Anwar and Hamed Ghaz have been putting each other through their paces at their gym at Burmantofts in Leeds. Ghaz’s fight is on 1st September at Elland Road against 29-year-old Fonz Alexender as the Bradford man looks to add another victory to his impeccable record.
Since turning professional at the ripe age of 18 the light welterweight has a perfect record of ten wins (two by KO).
The 21-year-old is looking to get two or three wins under his belt with coach Mark Bateson in the hope of a British title shot in the future.
Hamed is feeling extremely confident ahead of the fight:
“This is the best camp we’ve done so far and I’m in great shape.
“We’re five weeks in with another four to go until the fight where all the hard work will pay off.”
Leeds-lad Adil rates Hamed very highly rated and expects big things from his sparring partner:
“I’m looking forward to seeing Hamed get out there. He’s been training hard and it’ll be great to see him in action.
“Once he wins this fight it’s onwards and upwards and on to bigger and better things.”
The 30-year-old is also training hard as he looks for his next opponent following his defeat to Jose Del Rio in Spain.
With a record of 22 wins (eight by KO) and seven defeats Adil is extremely keen to get back in the ring and prove his qualities.
For ticket enquiries contact Hamed Ghaz on Facebook.
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.
It seems that boxing champ Amir Khan was certainly not counting his calories as he toured a Yorkshire bakery, who have been swirling up confectionary sales in aid of orphans around the world.
It is estimated that there are around 150 million orphans globally, trapped in poverty.
The #Cakes4Kids initiative launched by one of the region’s fastest growing businesses, Regal Bakery, aims to boost its cake sales especially during Ramadan, with all proceeds going towards helping orphans overseas via the AK Foundation.
Amir Khan who has been committed to giving vulnerable orphans the tools they need to thrive for a number of years now through his charity AK Foundation, visited the region to support Regal’s campaign.
After touring Regal Bakery’s state-of-the art factory in Wallis Street, Bradford, he met with crowds of people keen to facilitate the bakery’s orphan fundraising campaign in any way they can.
Amir Khan then headed over to the Abu Bakr Stores in Queens Road, Leeds, for his next bout of support in a ‘meet and greet’ opportunity, where children flocked to catch a glimpse of the boxing pro.
After meeting young fans, and answering a question or two, Amir turned his attention to the crowd requesting them to buy Regal’s custom made cakes so that deprived children across the globe could be helped.
With some of the younger crowd dismayed that they didn’t bring any money to buy cakes at the meet and greet, Abu Bakr boss Abid Hussain (AKA Brother Abid), swiftly handed out £10 notes from his own pocket to ensure the children wouldn’t miss out.
Waqar Younis, Regal Sales Director said: “It’s been a sweet treat for many of the younger crowd here today seeing Amir Khan.
“We at Regal are proud to have partnered up with the AK Foundation, as it fits into our ethos of giving something back to the less fortunate.
“We have sold thousands and thousands of cakes and I request for people to keep up the encouraging support, and a big thank you to everyone who has bought one.”
Says Amir Khan: “Every child deserves a happy, healthy childhood and the chance to build a brighter future.
“For many, your generous donations will help provide orphaned children with a home, food, water, medical care and a comprehensive education to give orphans the best possible restart in life.
“Our partnership with Regal is one I’m especially proud of as they’re really committed to making a change for orphans around the world.”
Faz Ali director at Regal commented: “It’s been a fantastic and optimistic event.
“After many meetings with Amir, today it was our turn to show Amir around our new purpose build BRC-credited factory for the first time, to reinforce the faith that he is working with a leading Bradford company who are committed to making a change.”
Floyd Mayweather protégé Gervonta Davis says he wants to become boxing's next superstar but must first get past Cromer's Liam Walsh.
The 22-year-old from the mean streets of Baltimore will make the first defence of his IBF super-featherweight world title when he steps into a British ring for the first time to take on the undefeated Walsh, live this Saturday night on BoxNation.
In his dazzling stoppage win over Jose Pedraza earlier this year to win his world title, 'Tank' as Davis is nicknamed, showcased all the tools needed to reach the very pinnacle of the sport and sees Walsh as just another step towards reaching that goal.
"It's been pretty good since winning the world title. I'm actually staying level headed, staying focused. Getting the world title is a step closer to where I want to be," said Davis.
"Having a belt is cool, but I'm trying to do more in the sport. I want to be the next star of boxing. I want to do more in the sport. This is just one more step to me," he said.
Preparing for his fight at the Copper Box Arena this weekend, Davis has been guided in the final part of his training camp by his promoter Mayweather, who has been sharing some words of wisdom with the 130-pounder.
"When I got back to Vegas, Floyd Mayweather was hands on more than usual, working with me in the gym late nights," he said.
"I've been working extra hard. Having him back in the gym gives me that extra push and has my mind on another level.
"Having him in my corner makes me feel like I have that chance. I have one of the best in the business backing me. It means a lot. It makes me work harder," Davis said.
30-year-old Walsh is no pushover himself and has stacked up 21 wins unbeaten, with 14 of those by knockout.
The Norfolk boxer is adamant that he will keep his unblemished record intact by handing Davis his very first loss.
"He certainly has potential and star quality – that was clear to see when he beat [Jose] Pedraza. But he has to come through me first," said Walsh
"I don't see any other way than me winning. If he's going to be a star in the future, it's going to have to be with a loss after fighting me," he said.
Walsh is sceptical about the names on Davis' record and believes he still has a lot of questions to answer.
"I don't think he's completely overrated, but I think there are still a lot of questions to be asked of him. He looked very good and brilliant against Pedraza. The only other reputable fighter on his record is Cristobal Cruz. There are a lot of question marks lingering on," said Walsh.
"I feel like I've been in tougher fights than him. I feel like I've been in longer fights. I think I have a better boxing IQ than him. He's very powerful, very physical and very fast, but we haven't seen him in a long fight or a dog fight or a gruelling fight though.
"I will certainly ask all these questions. I'll do it any which way that it has to go. I'm more than confident I'll get the job done," he said.
Following Davis v Walsh, BoxNation will then turn its attention across the Atlantic where pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford takes on the slick Felix Diaz, exclusively live from Madison Square Garden.
WBC and WBO super-lightweight world champion Crawford is very much the man to beat at 140-pounds but against the Dominican Republic's Diaz he will need to be at the very top of his game if he hopes to continue his dominance of the division.
Diaz, a 2008 Olympic gold medallist and with just a solitary loss on his record, has been calling out 29-year-old Crawford for months, with the Nebraska native saying he will be ready for whatever comes his way.
"Come Saturday, I will be ready for whatever Felix Diaz brings to the ring that night," said Crawford. "It's going to be a great experience fighting at Madison Square Garden in the big arena where all the greats have fought. I'm looking forward to that night," he said.
Davis v Walsh will be live from 7.30pm BST on BoxNation, followed by Crawford v Diaz from 2am BST.
It's been a busy week for the KBW boxing team. The thriving gym based in Savellie town Dewsbury has had a number of its boxers compete over the past week, some boxing at a couple of hours notice.
First up was Lewis Benson who was up against K Scott from Hull Boxing ABC, boxing in his first full amateur bout. He impressed with his long-range boxing and excellent use of his jab not allowing his opponent to settle into the fight nor allowing him to set up his own attacks. After three rounds of boxing the judges awarded the contest to Benson by unanimous decision.
Then, a couple of days after making his impressive debut Lewis Benson was back in action alongside his team mate Dougie Price both boxing opponents from Halifax ABC.
Price was only given a couple of hours notice of his bout. Price was coming of a long injury layoff.
After a close first round with his opponent L Parkison, Price come out with his typical aggressive style to win the last two rounds taking the bout by unanimous decision.
Next up on the same show held Halifax ABC was Lewis Benson. Benson put on a clinical display of boxing, using an array of shoots he dominated his opponent C Green from Halifax ABC, taking the bout by a unanimous points decision.
On Saturday night once again was Dougie Price sharing the same fight card with him this time was team mate Karan Singh.
Singh made a cautious start against his tricky opponent K Neilson from Eastside ABC but was starting to take over the fight, finishing first round strong.
Both boxers came out for the second round with purpose but it was Singh that was gaining the upper hand, landing a barrage of punches that were unanswered by his opponent, the referee had no choice but to stop the bout.
Awarding the contest to Singh by way of second round TKO.
Having his second bout in as many days was Price boxing K Clark who was also boxing out of Eastside ABC. Price boxed to instructions behind a high guard, throwing solid combinations and the more cleaner hurtful shots winning on a unanimous points decision.
Boxing in the Yorkshire Schools Boys Class B finals was Jerry Price, the finals were held in Halifax on Sunday.
Price was up against J Bunclark from the famous Ingles Boxing gym out of Sheffield.
Just like his brother from the previous night J Price boxed beautifully producing a dominant performance using his Jab to control the pace of the bout, J Price was able to land the more telling combinations mixing both to the body and head.
He took all three rounds making him the winner by unanimous points decision.
J Price moves on to the School Boys quarter finals which will be held on Sunday 7th May in Nottingham at the Cotgrave MWC.
The Club is busy preparing it's Boxers for their 11th boxing home show.
Saif Cheema will be taking part in his final amateur boxing bout before he turns Professional. The show titled The Next Chapter will be held at the Orchid banqueting Hall in Dewsbury on Thursday 18th May. Tickets can be purchased from the gym.
Nearly every person that I have spoken too in the last couple of weeks from casual sports viewer to the hard-core boxing fan has been talking about the Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko fight taking place this weekend.
I have not seen so much anticipation and discussion about a boxing match-up since Mike Tyson faced Britain’s loved boxing icon Frank Bruno.
This fight is without doubt the biggest fight in British boxing history and with a 90,000 capacity crowd at Wembley and tickets being sold in the black market for up to £1,000; this will definitely be a night to remember.
Joshua will be defending his IBF heavyweight title and hoping to capture the vacant WBA strap in the process.
Joshua in an interview recently stated that he no longer dreamt of fighting in America and believed that UK is now bigger in boxing terms:
“Britain is always overlooked. People said, ‘You have to go to America to be respected’.
“No, not any more. You come here, you come and fight us. That’s what I like and it’s amazing how the tables have turned.
“British boxing is booming at the minute. And not just me, the younger fighters coming up are phenomenal fighters as well.”
Joshua added: “Look at the deal they just managed to pull off in America with HBO and Showtime.
“I haven’t even had to have a fight in America, so I don’t think it’s that important to have to go to America to make it bigger than what it is already.
“It speaks for itself. Lewis-Tyson was in Memphis, Pacquiao- Mayweather was in Las Vegas. I’ve never fought in America and they have done a deal for the third time in history. It shows how massive British boxing is.”
Joshua is referring to deal that American Broadcasters HBO and Prime Time have agreed with both Joshua and Klitschko and both channels will be televising the fight together for only the third time in the history of the sport.
Joshua has been looking “awesome” in previous fights and I do not see any of the current heavyweights being able to topple the British heavyweight power house.
However Klitschko is the former undisputed heavyweight king who has recently looked rejuvenated and hungry to gain his world titles he lost against Tyson Fury. He has studied Joshua’s boxing skills for several months before agreeing to this fight and feels he has the upper hand entering into this bout reminding everyone that Joshua was his previous sparring partner.
There is no heavyweight fighter on the planet that can match Joshua for boxing power and speed, but Klitschko despite his recent loss to Tyson Fury is probably still the most experienced and technically the best boxer out there.
In my opinion Joshua is the modern day version of Kid Dynamite Mike Tyson who would usually win fights against his opponents before a punch was thrown as his opponents looked terrified by just his presence in the ring. I think something similar happened to Molina in Joshua’s previous fight as he was on the run from Joshua from the opening round; he looked terrified and did not want to engage in the fight.
Joshua has learned fast in the professional ranks and is now much more patient and methodical in his attacks and that was evident from this bout with Molina. Joshua used his long left hand jab to break through Molina’s defence and then the heavy right hand shots with spit-fire accuracy and power.
The older but talented heavyweight Klitschko is now the veteran fighter in boxing terms and will be eager to prove that the Fury loss was just one bad day in the office where he just did not manage to punch back until the 12th round at which stage Fury had won the fight. I’m expecting a different fighter against Joshua and if there are any flaws in Joshua’s boxing skills then Klitschko will expose them.
Kiltschko vs Joshua is a make or break fight for both men.
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.”
Is watching badminton not doing it for you? Tiddlywinks a bit too tiddly? Does curling just not get your engine revved? Get your pads on, buckle up, and make sure you’ve got a parachute as we present you 15 of the world’s riskiest sports.
We’ve looked into some of the craziest, most death-defying sports in the world, from base-jumping off buildings to facing down the horns of a bull. Each has the number of deaths, locations it’s done, and important facts – as well as a risk factor, so you can find one just right for how deadly you want to go.
Some of the riskiest sports include the real-danger of high altitude mountaineering and surviving the environment, with 286 people dying climbing Everest alone; and off-piste skiing for thrill-seekers which causes over 100 deaths every year, and an uncharted number of injuries.
It feels like Bradford is synonymous with boxing with boxing legends Roberto Duran coming to Bradford in May and Floyd Mayweather making a stop off in the city this month, it’s a hotspot for UK-based boxing events.
This makes Bradford a natural home for one of the country’s best boxing outlets. Zahbro Sports Ltd based at St Andrew Mill, Legrams Lane, Bradford, is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of martial arts and boxing equipment as well as other sporting goods, in the UK.
Having been in the business since 2009 and an (Amateur) International Boxing Association approved stockist, Zahbro Sports Ltd specialise in both the manufacture and retailing of sports equipment. Their unique standing as AIBA suppliers means Zahbro Sports Ltd can promise their goods are of top quality by ensuring all products are tested against arduous quality control measures, as required by the AIBA.
Zahbro Sports Ltd operates on numerous platforms including eBay and Amazon and prides itself in its adept level of customer service throughout. By keeping a close watch on market prices, Zahrbo Sports Ltd can ensure that they always remain competitive.
Speaking to Asian Express Muhammed Zahid, manager of Zahbro Sports Ltd said “Our mission is simple, quality, comfort, design and durability are the characteristics that are found within the DNA of all our equipment. By focusing on comfort, design and durability together we ensure that the ergonomics of our products are balanced to perfection.
“Our vision is to bring the world together through sports. Our Passion for sports is the heart of our business.” Muhammed concludes.
Whether you’re looking for boxing gloves, focus mitts, shin guards, Muay Thai equipment, MMA gear, shorts , gym belts, skipping ropes or more, Zahbro Sports Ltd are your go to for quality and customer service.
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."
A top ranking chief has rubbished that the Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan prospective fight has been confirmed for 23rd April in the Middle East.
Promoter Bob Arum says the fight is "a long way from being done" and has rubbished talk of an agreement having been reached.
"The point is that this is all so premature," Arum told ESPN. "It's all b******t.
“All it is right now is a discussion. It's like somebody saying, 'Hey, let's build a new stadium for the Raiders in Las Vegas.' You can say anything, but we're a long way from it being done."
When it goes ahead, this will be Khan first fight since he was knocked out by Canelo Alvarez last May.
Khan revealed that the Sheikhs are keen to host the long-craved super fight due to his Muslim roots, and that it would be a major attraction for the UAE.
With the penultimate weekend in April out of the question, it would seem only a few options are available in May. Though not yet confirmed, it’s suggested the much-awaited fight will take place on 20th May, ahead of Ramadhan.
There were early suggestions of Khan bringing Pacquiao to his hometown Bolton football stadium or Manchester Arena, but Khan says UAE his preferred venue to fight the WBO world welterweight champion, Pacquiao.
Arum has confirmed an offer for $38m has been submitted by a UAE investment group, but the promoter wants to see further evidence of interest from Asia to help progress negotiations.
"We had a nice meeting, but there's a lot of work to do before anything materialises," he added. "A lot of work.
"As of now, other than the fact that Pacquiao's manager Michael Koncz and I are on the same page as far as the fight not happening in April and that we hope to make something happen, who knows? I have absolutely nothing to report definitively and I am not f*****g around.
Arun warned: "This could all go away like the breeze.
“The point is a lot of these deals take time to put together, to find money and everything. We're not there."
The bout will be Pac-man's 68th fight, of which he has lost six and drawn two. Khan will enter his 35th bout at the age of 30, eight years junior to his opponent.
Manny Pacquiao has lined up his next opponent, announcing he is negotiating an upcoming fight with Amir Khan.
A date and location for the bout are still to be determined, but Pacquiao said recently his next fight would take place in the United Arab Emirates.
That was contrary to a supposed deal for the Filipino to defend his welterweight title against Australia's Jeff Horn in Brisbane in April.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said speaking to ESPN:"The Australian deal is not going to happen now because Manny is trying to get a fight done in the United Arab Emirates and the people there favour him fighting Amir Khan," he said.
Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, said a fight with Khan will take place "maybe in April or maybe June, but not May".
Pacquiao, 38, last fought in Las Vegas on 5th November, defeating Jessie Vargas to reclaim the welterweight world title.
Khan, 30, has not fought since May 2016 - a sixth-round knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez.
A potential card with Brit Khan in the UAE has drawn an offer for $38million, Arum said, but there is still some skepticism over whether a deal gets done.
"Whether it will happen or not I just don't know because they have to come up with a large amount of money.”
This past weekend it was a privilege to watch Britain’s hottest boxing prospect, Sheffield’s Kid Galahad (Abdul Barry Awad) in boxing action as he moved up in weight to the featherweight division to secure a win against late replacement Leonel Hernandez.
Galahad displayed his great arsenal of boxing skill and tremendous power to retire Harnandez at the end of round three with an eye injury.
Galahad, 26 years of age was due to face the experienced Joseph Agbeko, but the Ghanaian fell ill on the day of the fight leaving Harnandez to take on the skilful Galahad.
Galahad secured his 21st win with no losses and 12 KO’s, with the fight against Hernandez proving an easy night’s work as he landed powerful and hurtful body shots on his opponent at will with very little coming back from the Nicaraguan.
Galahad’s continuous punishment inflicted on his opponent forced the referee to stop the fight in round three as Hernandez was unable to continue with the fight.
“I am sick and tired,” of fighting inadequate opponents, said Galahad after the fight in reference to Hernandez who proved to be another easy win. Galahad is desperately seeking to challenge more harder opponent’s in the future on route to world championship glory.
The world renown pound for pound best in world Andre Ward, who was commentating on the Galahad vs Hernandez bout, praised the Wincobank fighter and described the win as “responding like a champion to a late change.”
There have been rumours in the past confirmed by world champion Carl Frampton that Galahad previously beat up former world champion Scott Quigg in a boxing sparring session, which is just one indication of this man’s boxing ability and recognition of his boxing talent.
I have spoken to Galahad in the past and have much admiration for his boxing, showmanship and resilience both inside and outside the boxing ring. He is genuinely one of boxing’s nice guys. I have no doubt in my mind that Galahad will go on and become a world champion as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
The new Carlton Police Boxing Academy has been launched in a partnership between a Bradford school and a popular boxing club.
The state of the art facility was unveiled at Carlton Bolling College, in Undercliffe Lane, afternoon.
The school has refurbished the former Duke of Edinburgh Awards Centre on its site to turn it into a community boxing gym.
The new facility is to provide a new home for the Bradford Police Boys Amateur Club, run by Julian Cyprien, which is moving from its Nelson Street base in the city.
The partnership came about after Carlton Bolling College’s Headteacher Adrian Kneeshaw visited the Bradford Police Boys Amateur Club and was impressed with the commitment of the young people involved.
Carlton Bolling College hopes that the boxing gym will prove to be a popular asset for both pupils at their school and for the wider community.
There has already been a big interest among pupils wanting to sign up at the academy ahead the launch.
Mr Kneeshaw: “We are delighted to be able to provide this state of the art facility for our community in partnership with Julien Cyprien and the Bradford Police Boxing Club.
“As a school we are all about raising aspirations and promoting excellence and the Boxing Academy supports this ethos.
“We are looking forward to seeing future champions emerge from the Carlton Police Boxing Academy gym who can help to put Bradford firmly on the map.”
Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said: “I am very pleased to see the new Carlton Police Boxing Academy being launched at Carlton Bolling College.
“This is a great example of one of our schools working in partnership with a sports club in Bradford to benefit both pupils and the wider community.”
AWARD: Young boxers were presented with trophies on the night from former world champion, Junior Witter (pictured second from right)
Charity and boxing go hand-in-hand in Dewsbury
KBW’s reputation as a ‘club which cares’ only enhanced further last weekend as its 10th boxing show raised funds for some of the world’s most in-need refugees.
The Dewsbury-based club held the sell-out event at the Orchid Banqueting Suite, with sport fans turning out in their masses to see some of the top local talent.
Kicking off the night was an array of youth bouts, showcasing local lads: Lewis Benson, Uzair Kiani and Harkaran Singh, with all three fighters taking to the ring for the
Three rounds of skilled bouts gave each young competitor the chance to shine in the ring, before amateur contests got underway, with Fizan Khan losing out to Shaquille Martins on points, Corey Riley defeating Tom Collingwood, Asim Arshad claiming victory against Subhaan Mahmood and Adam Yafai clinching a split decision win against Alan Hasan.
HEAVY BLOW: Action shots from the night show the competitiveness on show
The two main fights of the night started with KBW’s Huzaifa Khan facing off against James Jacques.
If Jacques had thought it was going to be an easy night he had a rude awakening as the local boxer got off to an aggressive start from the first bell.
Despite being the more experienced fighter, as well as having a height and reach advantage, Jacques was unable to control the fight as his opponent dominated for much of the three rounds.
By the time the second round had come around, the visiting fighter had been forced to change his strategy yet continued to absorb some devastating body shots and blows to the head.
The third round saw a brave attempt by Jacques to regain a foothold in the matchup, yet after a flurry of heavy uppercuts landed, a standing eight count was forced
Despite both fighters making it to the final bell, there was only one winner as Khan’s hand was raised by unanimous decision.
In the second main event of the night, KBW’s Saif Cheema rounded off a memorable night for the gym as he defeated Mark Bebington by a unanimous decision.
The New Era Boxing Academy competitor may have towered over the 6ft 2inch Cheema – a rare sight for the Dewsbury fighter – yet his mentality kept him on the front foot for the majority of the contest.
Throughout the first round, both men felt each other out and traded few blows, both boxing on back foots and waiting for counters.
Eventually Cheema's hand speed seemed to be the tool to success and he seemed to land more than his opponent, using footwork to stay out of the way of a dangerous big shot.
A similar two rounds followed, Cheema once again using his movement and jab to frustrate his opponent, ultimately earning him the clear triumph.
Following the night of action, Shammy Cheema, of KBW, said the night had exceeded all expectations.
“In total, we had over 10 boxing bouts, giving a lot of our own KBW boxers the chance to show what they can do against other club boxers from across the area.
“Over the years, these shows have becoming increasingly popular in the amateur boxing circuit with ever-growing turnout figures and the fact that many local celebrities turn up to watch the quality display of boxing on show.
“Last week’s event was a success we can all be proud of.”
As well as boxers starring in the ring, there was a wealth of talent outside it too, with the likes of Atif Shafique, Haroon Khan and Junior Witter all in attendance.
TRADEMARK: Galesic was unable to avoid the powerful jab
Leeds champ delivers ‘knockout’ performance in front of home crowd
Leeds’ boxing champion, Reece Cartwright, proved his ‘world’-class abilities once again last weekend as he made a successful first defence of his Middleweight title in front of a packed audience.
Over 800 people turned out on the night at the Royal Armouries New Dock Hall to see the local ace retain the IBF Youth World Middleweight Champion against the tricky Croatian, Jerko Galesic.
Prior to fight night, there was no doubt that the heavy-hitting Galesic, the challenger and number one contender for the IBF Middleweight belt, had travelled over to the UK just to make up the numbers.
Already stating at the press conference and pre-fight weigh in that he was going to ‘knock Reece Cartwright out’, he made his intentions very clear from the start of the contest.
One may have considered this pure hype however Team Cartwright knew that this guy was not to be taken lightly considering his knock out ratio.
The fight began with Galesic racing out of the stocks fast, leaping on to his Yorkshire opponent. His intention - to obviously shock and rip the title away from the champion by smashing in a spiteful and wicked left hook to Cartwright’s head followed by a big over-hand right busting the champ’s nose.
BIG HIT: Cartwright’s gloves are bloodied from the epic fight as he lands a heavy right hand to Galesic’s head
Cartwright, to his credit, was able to quickly return fire with blistering multi-punch combinations and so the battle of the warriors began to sway back and forth. Wicked severe body punches from the challenger were met by trademark jabs and skilful movement from Cartwright.
The local fighter manager to land a string of jolting big right hands, as the crowd jumped to their feet with the fight swaying one way then the other.
Galesic aggressively surged forward throwing punches and doing damage as if his very life depended on it, in which in his mind it probably did. He was proud and stubborn. Despite his aggressive approach, Cartwright continued to rally back with a barrage of punches of his own. Like true warriors they tested each other’s resolves to the max.
After an action packed opening, the major turning point came mid-way through the eighth round when Galesic suddenly slowed in his pace and movement, no doubt the intensity of the fight had taken its toll. Cartwright saw this as his chance to step up the pressure on his opponent and fired off again with his trademark ‘ram rod jab’, only this time like a world war one Gatling machine gun.
SUCCESSFUL DEFENCE: Reece Cartwright has his arm raised by Howard Foster after retaining his title
Peppering Galesic’s blood leaking face with jab-after-jab before, the title holder was clearly on top, and then, out of nowhere, boom. Cartwright sent a big body shot to his opponent’s solar plexus, sending the Croatian hard man back to his corner in crippling pain at the end of the round.
Cartwright's corner team immediately picked up on this and, upon sending their fighter out for the ninth round, clearly instructed him to set the deadly traps as per the game plan.
The champ quickly began with an assault of fast pinpoint accurate jabs followed by a barrage of multiple punches ending with a crushing right hand so devastating it sent Galesic crashing to the canvas floor.
The fallen 22-year-old was by now all but destroyed and could give no more, resulting in 'A' star referee, Howard Foster, jumping in to stop Galesic from further punishment.
The battle was over and Cartwright had won.
The atmosphere was electric and deafening as the ref jumped in and brought the battle between the two warriors to an end. Compassionately, champion Cartwright went to check the well being of his fallen adversary.
On Galesic’s recovery, both fighters embraced in a sportsmanlike manner. Cartwright was soon lifted a hoist by his team and embraced the adulation from the adoring crowd many of which had travel down from Scotland to support their world champ.
The coronation ceremony soon followed, with Cartwright awarded the official victory via a ninth round TKO decision.
Like a crown being placed upon a kings head, the champ collected his IBF Youth World Middleweight Championship and was bowed to by his many subjects. In his previous remarks, he did not feel like he was a real champion until he had retained the title as he had previously won a vacant championship.
This was truly a fantastic contest where two young unbeaten talented fighters gave it their all. Cartwright retained the championship.
One can only say what a phenomenal fight and a fantastic night. It had everything: blood, sweat, tears and passion and where else at The Royal Armouries, a fitting location.
In the post fight interviews, Cartwright gave great plaudits to his opponent by saying: “It was a very good fight Jerko, you are a very good fighter.
“Listen you will be a champ, trust me you will be a champ. Last night the fans really enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it. You are respected by me as a fighter. All my fans, everyone in England and Scotland respect you. You have done Croatia proud.”
DREAM TEAM: Reece Cartwright celebrates his defence of the IBF Youth World Middleweight Championship alongside advisor, Rick Manners (left), and promoter, Dennis Hobson (right)
Champion Cartwright now moves on to a record of 15 fights with 15 wins and eight KOs. Rumours are rife that he will next fight German WBO Youth World Middleweight champion, Jan Meiser, in an eagerly awaited unification match up. A mouth watering England v Germany clash.
Elsewhere on the night, not forgetting the undercard leading up to the main event, top prospect Leeds Featherweight Zahid 'The Magic Man' Hussain continued his winning streak with a unanimous decision against Bulgarian Stefan Sashov
Bradford’s Lightweight Femi 'The Fire' Femitola, on his comeback after a two year absence, wins a unanimous decision against Manchester’s Jamie 'The Devil Child' Quinn.
Middleweight veteran prospect, Danny Kennedy, recently back from Australia, won by unanimous decision over tough Lithuanian Arvydas Trizno.
Shock of the evening was the highly rated Guernsey Bantamweight Brad Watson who lost by a unanimous decision to the surprisingly tricky Joseafat Reyes Gomez from Spain.
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.”
CHAMPIONS: Reece Cartwright and Kell Brook have been sparring ahead of Brook’s mega-fight with Gennady Golovkin this weekend
Cartwright drafted in as Brook prepares for super fight clash with Golovkin
Sheffield's Kell Brook steps up to fight Pound for Pound best Middleweight fighter in the world at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday 10th September.
Golovkin is a renowned puncher with a unbeaten record of 35 fights of which 32 have been won by knockout. While Kell Brook also boasts a unbeaten record of 36 fights and 25 by a way of a knockout. Golovkin is the bookies favourite however as under dog Brook believes he can cause one of the biggest British and World boxing history upsets by getting defeating the man Khalistan.
Kell Brooks' preparation/training consisting of top quality sparing and called a series of elite sparring partners; including recently crown IBF Youth World Middleweight Champion Reece Cartwright from Leeds.
Cartwright said: “When I got the call to help Kell to prepare for the Triple G fight I was mixed with emotions, I was nervous and excited all at once.
“Being fresh of winning by IBF Youth World Title and him calling for me; I knew I had to be on my game and the best I can be.
“To spar with Kell was a fantastic and dangerous experience, and to be honest over the three weeks of sparing with him it was more like a world title challenge.
“Every single time we sparred we both went at it and went to war. His power and timing in awesome and not to be under estimated.
“Every spar was competitive. To share the ring with such an elite pound-for-pound World Championship fighter was a real buzz for me.
“I realised I was doing well as I was called back for more work, as many had come to the sparing and not called back.
“Head coach Dominic Ingle, Kell Brooks' trainer, was pleased with my contribution and said some kind words of encouragement. This has given me so much confidence.
“Kell also told me after the last day of sparring keep training hard, focus and be patient and your opportunities will come.”
Cartwright will make his first defence of the IBF youth world middleweight championship on 18th November at the Royal armouries museum Clarence Dock, in Leeds.
Speaking of the Leeds star’s sparring with Brook, Dominic Ingle said: “It's been a great camp for Kell.
“He's had some great sparring with WBO Light Middleweight World Champion Liam Smith, British Light Middleweight Champion Liam Williams and top Middleweight prospect Tommy Langford.
“But some of Brooks' most difficult spars were with IBF Youth Middleweight Champion Reece Cartwright.
“I think sparring with Kell Brook has taken Reece up to a new level. Rick Manners has done a great job with Reece and I'm sure he's got a great future ahead of him.”
Brook himself added: “The shots were coming in from every angle, four and five at a time.
“He's [Reece Cartwright] fit, strong and full of ambition and wasn't daunted by the task ahead of him. He's definitely got the talent and dedication to get to the top.”
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.
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Kell Brook says he ‘can’t wait’ to step into the ring with Gennady Golovkin later this year
Brook and Golovkin to face off in Middleweight megafight
It is not the all-British encounter many fight fans have been holding out for, yet a Golovkin-Brook face-off has certainly got the boxing world shaking with anticipation for their September showdown.
For years, Kell Brook has been the rising name in the welterweight division and has threatened to cross paths with former world champ, Amir Khan, on countless occasions.
However, after being turned down, time and time again, the Sheffield boxer, known as ‘Special K’, has now landed himself the blockbuster fight of a lifetime as he goes toe-to-toe with the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer, Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.
Brook (36-0) and his Kazakhstani opponent (35-0) are both unbeaten in their careers and are ranked top of their weight divisions respectively.
For the September bout, set to be staged at London’s O2 Arena, the Brit will have to move up two weight categories as the pair fight off as middleweights.
Speaking after announcing the fight, Brook said he was more than prepared for the contest and was ready to ‘run’ at the revered world champ.
POUND-FOR-POUND: Gennady Golovkin has been labelled the best boxer on the planet
“This is the fight and the moment I have been waiting for for some time,” he said.
“We've tried and tried to lure the best to come and fight me and now we've got the best of the best – the number one pound for pound fighter in the world is coming to the UK.
“When this fight got offered to me, I accepted within minutes and I can't wait. Everyone knows I'm a huge welterweight and I know I will carry my speed and accuracy and even more power through the weights.”
He added: “This is the ultimate fight, one of the biggest international fights the country has seen in many years - you have seen some huge names run from GGG but I'm running to him. I'm a ‘Special’ fighter and I will show the World on 10th September.”
FACE OFF: Brook and Golovkin go toe-to-toe in London’s O2 Arena on 10th September
After the official announcement was made, Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loffler, praised the Yorkshire boxer for stepping up the fight.
“We’re very excited to have Gennady fight for the first time in the UK,” declared Loffler.
“We have a great deal of respect for Kell Brook for stepping up and facing Gennady when so many have been reluctant to do so.”
Golovkin has won each of his 19 title defences by knockout in what has been a dominant run of results.
His last fight, against Dominic Wade, lasted little over one round.
Matchroom boss, Eddie Hearn, said: “I cannot tell you how excited I am for this mega fight.
“I've worked hard with Tom over the years to bring GGG to the UK and now we do it as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
“Right here you have the number one Welterweight in the world against the number one Middleweight in the world – 36-0 vs. 35-0, two of the best on the planet, it's what big time boxing is all about.
“I couldn't be happier for Kell. We have pushed for that big name for a long time with many reluctant to step into the ring with him and now this is the ultimate challenge, the biggest fight of 2016.”
FIGHTING CHANCE: Muhammad Ali is targeting Gold in Rio this summer after being announced in Team GB’s boxing squad
Team GB’s boxing squad announced
A quarter of Team GB’s largest Olympic boxing squad for 32 years will be from Yorkshire as the fighters prepare to board the plane for the 2016 Rio Olympics next month.
European silver medallist Qais Ashfaq will be joined in the line-up by Keighley’s Muhammad Ali and Leeds’ 2012 Gold medallist, Nicola Adams, as they aim to conquer the international tournament.
Targeting a record medals haul in the boxing division, Ashfaq says he is ready to ‘win’ in Brazil, with gold in his sights.
GOLD STANDARD: Qais Ashfaq has been named as one of the 12 boxers heading to the Rio Olympics
“It’s all becoming ever so real now and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are just around the corner,” he said. “I’m going to be in the best shape of my life.
“I’m proud to be a part of a 12 man strong team with lads and ladies that are more like family than just team mates. Let's win these medals.”
Ashfaq will face off in the bantamweight division, whilst Ali is set to compete against the world’s top amateur flyweights.
Both fighters have enjoyed stellar careers in the senior amateur divisions and both believe gold is a very real possibility this August.
Team GB's Chef de Mission, Mark England, said: “This is the largest boxing squad we've taken to an Olympic Games since Los Angeles 1984 and demonstrates the strength this sport and our boxing programme can boast across the weight divisions.
“Team GB has a proud history in Olympic boxing and it's fantastic to see that tradition continue with this class of 2016.
“From Olympic and Commonwealth Games Champions to World and European medallists, these 12 boxers can go to Rio 2016 full of confidence and can expect to challenge with the very best on display in the ring in Brazil.”
The full list of boxers heading to Rio are: Nicola Adams – women’s flyweight; Savannah Marshall – women’s middleweight; Galal Yafai - light flyweight; Muhammad Ali – flyweight; Qais Ashfaq – bantamweight; Joe Cordina – lightweight; Pat McCormack – light welterweight; Josh Kelly – welterweight; Antony Fowler – middleweight; Joshua Buatsi – light heavyweight; Lawrence Okolie – heavyweight; Joe Joyce – super heavyweight.
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.
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’
Amir 'King' Khan always believed that he would get the chance of a legacy fight.
Despite the disappointing setbacks of the failed Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao super fights, he always remained defiant.
Amir, a two time world champion, is now just hours away from his eagerly anticipated showdown with Mexican super star Canelo Alvarez on 7th May, with the two fighters set to do battle at the newly built T-Mobile arena for the highly prized World Boxing Council middleweight championship.
SUPER-FIGHT: Khan Vs Alvarez is one of the most highly anticipated match-ups of the year
As always this falls on the Mexican holiday weekend which is a commemoration of the unlikely victory of the Mexican army in 1862 against the French at the battle of Puebla. Worth noting, this date has been a Floyd Mayweather Jnr fight weekend for the last several years.
King Khan always believed and was never in doubt that such an opportunity like this would present itself, and boisterously blasted out that he knew such a super fight was always just around the corner.
WARRIOR KINGS: Amir Khan will aim to upset the odds as he goes head-to-head with Mexican Canelo Alvarez
“This always kept me going kept me focussed and moving forward,” he said. “The time has come now with Canelo and I look to create my own legacy.
“As I have said before I want to take on someone who is one of the very best out there.”
Amir, a welterweight, will move up two weight divisions to take on power punching Canelo, which in its self is a mighty task that some would say folly, but Khan is a fighter and like a poker player he is about to put all his $1,000 chips in.
Khan talking deadly serious said: “This is a tougher fight than against a Mayweather or Pacquiao because of the size difference but I love that sort of challenge.
“I am going in there to give everything and to prove this is where I belong. I have done some great work in the gym for this camp and I will be ready to go as soon as the bell rings to start the fight.
“Canelo is a great champion, we are both in our primes, both very skilled operators and I will need to be at my very best to beat him.
“Having said that I believe he needs to be at his very best to beat me. In most peoples’ eyes I am seen as the betting underdog for this fight but I know deep down that I can win it and I am ready to go and prove myself at this level.”
Khan says he is undaunted when it comes to entering the hostile reception that awaits him in the Mexican’s Lion’s den.
He expects a sizeable crowd of British fans making the trip across to be just as voluble.
DESTRUCT AND DESTROY: Canelo is the top ranked middleweight in the world
“British fight fans are the best around,” he added. “They can out sing anyone and they will make themselves heard - that’s for sure on fight night.
“I am not bothered how many fans he has in the arena but I know the travelling fans from Britain - their support will be incredible.
“It is going to give me an extra boost hearing them and seeing them. I want to do this for the UK and keep British boxing on the high that we have been experiencing of late.”
THE KING MAKER: Oscar De La Hoya
Manners Corner: Khan Vs Canelo
Wow! Can you believe it! It's here, it's on!
Will it be business as usual for the big punching Canelo or will it be a shaking of the world, a shock upset win for the super fast Khan.
They always say a good big one beats a good small one. I'm not so sure about that when speed and superior boxing is involved.
The question is should Khan trade with Canelo (which in my opinion, for what it’s worth, would be boxing suicide) rather than use his god given speed and out-box the ferocious puncher such as Alvarez who is known for struggling with fast, flexible and slick fighters. Khan, to me, wins hands down and easily.
GAME PLAN: Can Khan focus and carry out coach Hunter’s master plan?
But can Canelo, with his superior strength and previous experience of big time super fights, the bench mark being going the distance with the best fighter of our modern day era the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jnr, nullify the Khan speed factor?
Like an annoying mosquito can he crush the young pretender into a KO coma? To me it is a 50/50 fight but the bookies beg to differ as they have the smart money on a Canelo Alvarez victory.
Me, personally, if Khan cannot outbox and bamboozle Alvarez to a standstill or knock him out he loses on points which is nothing to be ashamed of as Amir is fighting against the boxing powerhouse promoting machine of Oscar Del Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, the Las Vegas judges and the influence of the Mexican partisan crowd. Last but not least, he is up against the 'A' side of the card the formidable Canelo Alvarez who has everything going in his favour. Now this is a big ask.
Amir Khan must be brave, clever, ferocious and speedy quick as Canelo only has to get lucky once and it is over.
Amir needs to focus and summon up all the inner strength he can muster and copy the example of the reigning undisputed heavyweight champion Tyson Fury
He threw caution to the wind and stuck to a well thought out and disciplined game plan and shocked the world with victory over Klitschko.
Here we have the same situation, different boxer i.e. Amir 'King' Khan. I have a sneaky feeling Khan and his wise coach, Virgil Hunter, can do just that.
READY FOR A FIGHT: Amir Khan said he has nothing but respect for Pacquiao after talks of his possible retirement this month
Khan fully focussed on Alvarez
With less than a month to go until Amir Khan’s mega-fight with Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas, the Bolton boxer says he is 100 per cent focussed on the challenge ahead with no regrets over ‘missed opportunities’.
Back in November, the 29-year-old heavy-hitter was in talks with Manny Pacquiao’s camp about a potential bout for 2016.
However, after those discussions failed to materialise, a Cinco-de-Mayo match-up with Mexico’s Alvarez was cooked up to the delight of the Khan army.
Now, with talks of ‘The Pacman’ possibly retiring following his victory over Timothy Bradley last weekend, Khan could miss out on yet another high profile matchup in the future.
Unlike the fight that never was with Floyd Mayweather, Khan says he holds no grudges against the renowned Phillipino fighter.
He told Premier Sports: “You always want to test yourself against the best and Manny is still one of the best around.
“It's a fight we tried to make happen between us but for some reason or other it never came about.
RETIRING OR NOT: Mystery still surrounds Pacquiao’s alleged retirement
“My team met with Bob Arum in London and we had agreed everything but it didn't happen. It would have been a great fight but we both have other big fights coming up, so we are focused on them.”
Khan’s blockbuster bout with Mexican Alvarez takes place on the Cinco-de-Mayo weekend at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
PUNCHING UP PASSION: Maria Chu’s female only boxing sessions are a knock-out success
‘Female only’ boxing class is a big hitter
Thirty-five-year-old Thai trainer Maria Chu has got women of all ages running ‘Rocky style’ up and down flights of stairs after their vigorous boxing session at her ‘female only’ class on Roseville Road in Leeds.
The super fit mother-of-one says that her Thai boxing classes, on Sundays at Kiatphontip Gym, are becoming a ‘real hit’ with Asian women in particular, swapping their hijabs for high kicks, in order to gain confidence and get fighting fit.
Maria said: “I’ve been training for 28 years, after my first fight at the age of seven. I was drawn in by the discipline and the techniques. It’s one of the best stand-up sports you can do.
“For our Sunday class, the ladies do a small warm up. Then I teach them how to shadow box which involves learning how to punch, knee and elbow. After that, they partner up and do some rounds on the pads and practice their kicks, followed by a cool down.”
However, some women are just warming up and instead of taking part in gentle stretching exercises before they leave for home, they decide that they haven’t sweated enough and begin to pound up and down the staircases like Rocky Balboa.
“The women say that they feel hugely self-assured and positive after a good boxing session. It’s so lovely to watch them transform from being rather shy and unfit to superwomen who can take on anything.”
Around 40 ladies attend Maria’s classes on the top floor of a beautiful old building.
Maria said: “I like to help people in the sport, whether it’s for self defence; general fitness, toning up or gaining more confidence. There are many different reasons each lady comes to train.
"My husband Jompop is also a professional fighter from Thailand. We take our fighters all around the world for competitions and we have a bunch of up-and-coming talents that will be names to watch out for in the future."
FINALS AWAIT: Four Dewsbury fighters arte through to the semi-finals of a national boxing competition (l-r) Adeeb Ajmal, Moqeet Rehman, Subhaan Mohammed, Rash Khan, Amaar Akbar, Alan Haque, Zee Akbar
Fantastic four progress to national semi-finals
The small town of Dewsbury is building up quite a reputation on the amateur boxing scene after four fighters from the area progressed into the semi-finals of the England Boxing National Junior Championships.
Adeeb Ajmal, Amaar Akbar, Subhaan Mohammed and Moqeet Rehman will all compete in Portsmouth this weekend after success in their respected weight-division’s quarter-final contests.
Ajmal, boxing out of KBW, is currently competing in the 78kg category despite only having three competitive bouts under his belt.
Facing off against much more experienced opponents, the relative newcomer to the sport is hoping to secure his first national title after receiving a bye in the semi-finals to progress to the final.
Clubmate, Mohammed, who previously reached the quarter finals in the same competition, is through to the semis after securing a unanimous points victory against Stocksbridge’s Joe Armer.
Making it a hat-trick for KBW is Rahman. His good form this season continued after defeating Sam Turner, of Croxteth Boxing Club, in Liverpool. A heavy handed fight saw both boxers land heavy blows yet it was a point’s decision that eventually gave Rahman the win.
The fourth boxer from Dewsbury, making the trip down to the south coast will be Akbar. The Warrior Breed Boxing Club representative is looking for his second national title this season.
He has already knocked off the challenges of Harry Fryer and Owen Rees, the latter boxing out of the famous Birtley Boxing Club – to secure his place at the semi-finals.
Shammy Cheema, from KBW, said the young competitors had all done the local area proud.
“It is a remarkable achievement considering Dewsbury has never been known as a predominant boxing tow, compared to the likes of Leeds and Sheffield for example,” he said.
“To have four boxers reach such late stages of a national competition is something that only usually happens in large cities.
“All of them will now be heading to Portsmouth this weekend to box in the semis and look to bring the national titles back to Dewsbury.”
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.
DREAM OVER: Fury is questioning whether to leave the pugilist sport following his victory over Vladimir Klitschko last year
Boxer doesn’t want sport to become ‘about money’
World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is struggling to motivate himself and could quit boxing, the controversial fighter told BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday.
He said: “I could walk away. I could just sail into the sunset unbeaten with all the belts and live a normal life. All that I would be boxing for is money and I always thought to myself I never want to let sport become about money.”
The 27-year-old British boxer, who beat Vladimir Klitschko to claim the world heavyweight crown with a points win in Germany in November, may even hang up his gloves before facing the Ukrainian in a rematch scheduled for May or June.
Last year, Fury drew criticism for his offensive comments about women, homosexuality and abortion, but didn’t face punishment from the British Boxing Board of Control as there was no suggestion that he had broken the law by exercising his right to freedom of expression.
He continued: “I've accomplished a dream. It's about how much motivation I have to keep going on. There is life after boxing and I don't know what I'm going to do at the moment. I haven't even cemented I am going to fight in a rematch.”
Fury has claimed a sheikh in Dubai glamorously offered to host his world heavyweight title rematch with Wladimir Klitschko on a yacht in a bout that could have been worth £82m.
According to the 27-year-old, the showdown would only be available to 120 audience members, each paying $1m for a ticket.
“There are five possible venues. I’m hoping it’s not going to go back to Germany. I’d rather go to Abu Dhabi or Qatar than there,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
In the city of angels - Los Angeles - two of boxing’s most popular and powerful forces will come to loggerheads in what is deemed to be a sell-out match of high intensity action.
During the ‘Cinco De Mayo’ weekend, Amir ‘King’ Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) will make his first in-ring appearance of 2016 as he comes up against Lineal Middleweight World Champion, Canelo Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs).
With Khan coming into the bout as an underdog with the bookies, his decision to take on the fiery Mexican has been applauded by fans and pundits alike, who see it as a courageous move.
Alvarez has only suffered one defeat in his near-perfect career, that coming at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr, yet Khan says he is confident he can make it two defeats come 7th May.
He said: “I know Canelo fights the best and wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to face me like others have.
“My goal is to always fight the biggest names and the best fighters. That is why I’m excited for this fight.
“Also, I would like to thank my team and Golden Boy Promotions for this opportunity. I know I have the speed and ability to beat him and will give my fans what they deserve.”
Alvarez has managed to captivate fans both at home and around the globe previously with his action-packed fighting style, charisma and willingness to take on the toughest challenges.
Weighing in at 154lbs, Canelo dominates the boxing scene and is a bonafide ticket seller, proven by his sell-out match in 2013 against Josesito Lopez where his fifth round technical knockout saw a crowd of 40,000 fans cheering him on at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
The victory earned Canelo the WBA Super Welterweight World Championship and a legion of fans.
Speaking following the fight’s announcement, Alvarez said: “As the middleweight champion of the world, I will take on the best fighters in the sport. On Cinco De Mayo weekend, I look forward to making the first defence of my titles.
“Amir was a decorated amateur, a two-time world champion and is in the prime of his career. Fans are in for a great fight.”
Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO, Oscar De La Hoya also praised both boxers ahead of the matchup.
“We are committed to putting on the biggest and best fights in boxing,” he said.
“Canelo is the biggest star in the sport and as he demonstrated against James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto last year, he is only getting better.
“Those who predicted that he would take an easy fight for his first defence have been proven wrong once again.
“As for Amir, he has won his last five fights including an incredible performance against Devon Alexander, and now that he is back where he belongs at Golden Boy Promotions, his future is very bright, once again.”
The event will be filmed live by HBO and will be available on screens via ‘pay-per-view’.
‘Not producing champions in the ring, producing champions in life’
A new boxing gym, aiming to educate young members of society both inside and out of the ring, opened its doors for the first time in Bradford last month.
The Lion Gym, in Greengates, is the result of years of hard work by police community support officer and boxing coach, Khalil Alam, and follows on from the successful ‘Contender’ initiative.
Set up to coincide with the work of local youth services, ten week courses will ruin from the establishment covering topics such as drug awareness and healthy eating.
Khalil explained further: “We previously did a project with West Yorkshire Police, NHS and a healthy eating team called ‘The Contender’. It was set up to give young people the chance to mix education with boxing through a ten week course.
“Although the kids really enjoyed themselves, after the ten weeks were up, they were basically lost again in the system.
“This new gym will give young people the chance to continue to train here after the 10 weeks are up and therefore keep them away from dangerous lifestyles.”
Khalil says it was actually the children who had requested for the new space to be opened after the success of previous projects.
Working with community centres in Ravenscliffe and Thorpe Edge, it is a project close to home for Bradford-born Khalil.
“I hope the gym can act as a hub for these groups and bring something new to the area,” he added.
“I have set this up with help from local community groups and it is not in any way for profit. It is very important to me that we give young people the opportunity to excel. We have the right organisations on board and everything is ready for the young people now.”
Setting up the gym in his own time, Khalil balanced his busy life and overcame health problems yet was able to officially cut the ribbon last week alongside Bradford Lord Mayor, Cllr Joanne Dodds.
Local boxers, Qais Ashfaq, Tasif Khan and Harris Akbar were joined by India’s Vijender Singh on the day, to bring a knockout punch to proceedings.
Although Khalil says he would love to see his gym help produce an athlete on par with the aforementioned names, there are other priorities.
“The aim here is not to produce champion boxers in the ring but to produce champions in real life,” he added.
RESILIENT: Amir Khan says the blame lies with Manny Pacquiao’s camp as to why a fight between himself and the welterweight champ never materialised
Khan points finger at Pacquiao camp for missed opportunity
Former world champion, Amir Khan, has hit out at claims made by Manny Pacquiao which suggested a fight never materliasled between the pair due to the involvement of ‘middle men’.
Khan, who is yet to name an opponent for 2016, was overlooked as the next challenger for the legendary Philippine boxer, who will face off against Timothy Bradley Jr before retiring form the sport.
Comments made by Pacquiao had said that
In a statement released on Friday, the Bolton boxer dismissed such rumours.
He said: “I have read recent comments by Manny Pacquiao stating that the reason a fight between us never happened was because of ‘middle men’ in my team - this is totally inaccurate and false.
“The only people negotiating on my behalf, as with all my fights, were my father Shah, uncle Taz and lawyer Robert Davis. They dealt directly with Manny Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum and adviser Michael Koncz.
“An initial meeting took place last September between Bob Arum and my uncle and lawyer in London. This was at the direct request of Bob Arum. The negotiations went well to the extent that a ‘Heads of Terms’ was signed and sent from my lawyer to Bob Arum.
“My team was told by Bob Arum that it was a choice between either Terence Crawford or myself and dates in April were being explored with the fight to take place in Las Vegas or Qatar.
“Since September of last year my team had been in direct contact with Pacquiao’s team, spoke with them and met them face-to-face, so to state that middle men prevented the fight from happening is not true at all.”
Khan added that he held Pacquiao in the ‘highest regard’ following a career spanning over two decades, in which he became the number one welterweight in the world as well as a ‘people’s champion’.
Still, Khan remains adamant that he was willing to fight him in what he says would have been a ‘more dangerous’ bout for the outgoing 37-year-old.
“His team knew a fight between us would be a very dangerous one for him and best avoided,” Khan said.
“Freddie [Roach], who has trained us both, knows how our sparring sessions used to go and with me having filled out more now as a welterweight, getting bigger and stronger, makes a fight with Bradley – who Pacquiao in most opinions has beaten twice - a much easier option.
“I want to make the best fights for the fans and it was neither my team nor a lack of desire from my end which prevented a fight with Pacquiao from happening – that rests squarely on Team Pacquiao.”
LAUGHABLE: Amir Khan’s camp say they feel let down by the WBC after announcing Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero would compete for the vacant title
Garcia to fight Guerrero for vacant welterweight title
Former world champion boxer Amir Khan is still searching for his next opponent after the World Boxing Commission (WBC) confirmed Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero will go head-to-head for the vacant welterweight belt.
The announcement was made earlier this week via a prepared statement from the WBC adding: “Amir Khan has been ratified as mandatory contender.”
Taz Khan, of Khan Promotions, said the whole camp were disappointed that the Bolton boxer had been overlooked despite being the number one welterweight in the WBC rankings.
“We think it’s ridiculous. Amir has been number one for a year now so he should be fighting for the belt,” he said.
“Instead, the WBC has bypassed Amir and given Guerrero the match against Garcia.
“If anything, they should be facing each other in a play-off to see who gets to face Khan for the title.”
Khan is already the WBC Silver Welterweight title holder and has held the belt since May 2014, following his dominant unanimous point’s victory over Luis Collazo in Las Vegas.
He has defended the title twice since then, against Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri.
The selection from the WBC to make Guerrero the number one contender is seen by many as a controversial one due to his lower ranking of sixth spot in their welterweight division, whilst Garcia is second.
CHAMP: Khan is already the WBC Silver Welterweight champion having won the belt back in 2014
Californian-born Guerrero has challenged previously for the WBC world welterweight title but, like many before him, came undone when he was defeated by Floyd Mayweather.
Taz Khan added: “We all feel the wrong decision has been made and that Garcia should in fact be fighting Khan for the belt.”
Meanwhile, the WBC’s omittance of Khan leaves the 29-year-old without an opponent for 2016.
Speaking of the possibility of a hotly-tipped bout with Kell Brook in the future, Taz added: “That is a domestic bout and completely different to the WBC.
“The fight will happen one day but we are not being rushed into anything.”
CHAMP: Qais Ashfaq says he is ready to win Gold in the Rio Olympics this summer
Olympic medal and pro debut targeted for Leeds’ boxing ace
Since he was just eight-years-old, Qais Ashfaq has dreamed of winning a Gold medal at the Olympic Games, boxing his way through the amateur divisions before landing on the GB Podium team.
Today he is ranked ‘number one in the country’ in the amateur bantamweight division, and is one of the nation’s biggest hopes for a medal in Rio this summer.
At just 22-years-old, few would doubt that a long and successful professional boxing career lies in wait for the Leeds fighter, yet there is one target he is determined to achieve before taking such a step.
“I go into every competition the same way and focus on winning a Gold medal. The Olympics are no different,” he said. “Last time I was still too young for the 2012 games, and Luke Campbell was fighting in my category.
“I know most of the lads now in my weight division and I know I can beat them. I have faced the World Champion twice and am confident I can win Gold this summer.”
Ashfaq completed his first training camp of the year in Sheffield last week and is already eyeing up his first tournament in Hungary on 3rd February.
HIGH HOPES: Ashfaq is currently number one in his weight division nationally
Bouts in London and Germany follow before the Olympic qualifiers arrive in March/April, when the heavy-hitter travels with fellow boxers to Turkey.
At the top of his weight category nationally and the top of his game generally, he just cannot wait to get into the ring.
“It’s great to be coming into 2016 as the number one in my division with Team GB, but I know I have to keep training hard to retain that spot,” he said.
GOLDEN TOUCH: After the Olympic Games, the Leeds fighter is preparing to turn professional
“It keeps me motivated seeing some of the talent that we have in our team as well as the fact that we are so close to the Olympic Games.
“At the moment I’m still quite relaxed about everything to be honest, not anxious. I’m looking forward to the tournaments and can’t wait for the qualifiers.”
Following the Olympics, Ashfaq plans to turn professional – hopefully with a Gold medal around his neck.
He has over 15 years experience in the sport and has competed in nearly every amateur contest there is. However, he also accepts that there is still a long way to go in the sport.
“By going down the amateur route, it gives boxers the chance to climb the ladder and build a name for themselves,” he said. “I am fortunate to be in the position I am in, representing the country and competing in the biggest tournaments I possibly can.
“The likes of Amir Khan, who knows what I am going through at the moment, are people I look toward for inspiration. He went down this road before making it in the professional game and I know I can do it too.
“It’s all about timing and after the Olympics, I know I will be ready.”
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: Having suffered the disappointment of seeing his world title fight cancelled at the 11th hour, Tasif Khan says he is delighted to be able to now host the bout in Bradford next year
‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ and for Bradford’s boxing ace, Tasif Khan, that is exactly the way he is looking at the latest postponement to hit his world title challenge.
The local competitor was set to fight for the WBU Super Flyweight World Title last weekend, against the experienced Ghanaian, Isaac Queye.
Having previously been forced to rearrange the fight from a November date, he says he was ‘gutted’ to learn on Tuesday 1st December that the matchup would have to be postponed once again.
However, despite the disappointing news, Khan’s camp were also given reason to celebrate regarding the rearranged venue, with Bradford now set to play host to the fight instead of London.
“I have always said that it is my dream to one day fight for a world title in my home town and now, because of these circumstances, I will be doing just that,” Khan said.
“As soon as I heard about the postponement, I wanted to rearrange the fight for as soon as possible and because the match card I was on wasn’t happening until late February, early March, I knew we would have to move it.
“My opponent has now agreed to fight in Bradford and we both just want to get on with it now following months of training.
“Hopefully I can win the belt in my home city and make up for the disappointment for my fans, friends and family who had arranged to travel to London this weekend.”
IN-FORM: Since returning to the sport at the start of the year, Tasif Khan has recorded three straight wins
Khan had completed a number of training camps ahead of the big fight and described himself as being in the best condition possible earlier this month.
With only more training now on the horizon, it will be a couple of months before Khan can get in the ring to compete but remains determined to go through the process once again.
“I have had a couple of days off this past week to make sure I don’t over train and burn out ahead of the fight next year,” he added.
“Now I’m back in the gym and ready to go at it once again.
“I can’t wait to fight in Bradford and the atmosphere on the night will be incredible.”
Since returning to professional boxing in January 2015, following a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury, Khan has recorded three straight defeats.
His WBU Super Flyweight World Title matchup with Queye will now take place at Bradford’s Cedar Court on 6th February 2016.
I recall some of the biggest shocks in boxing history when I witnessed George Foreman win the world title at a grand old age of 45 years old, invincible Mike Tyson getting knocked out by underdog Buster Douglas and the greatest heavyweight of all time Muhammed Ali losing to a novice Leon Spinks.
However undefeated British heavyweight Tyson Fury produced one of the most recent shocks in boxing history when he beat the undisputed champion Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Fury had been written off in this fight and most boxing experts had given him no chance of winning against Klitschko who had remained champion for over ten years and during this time had collected and retained the majority of the world title belts.
Fury’s victory was well deserved and from the opening bell the 6ft 9inch giant out worked and out thought Klitschko. Fury was able to capitalise on his longer reach, youth and mobility to keep the champion at bay and for the majority of the fight Klitschko was unable to throw any meaningful punches including his dangerous right hand.
The fight itself was not a classic but it was shocking and unbelievable as Fury proved all the sceptics wrong and made Klitschko look ordinary, old, tired and gun shy.
Fury is a throwback to the Muhammed Ali days and like Ali he is definitely a controversial character who speaks his mind without worrying about any backlash like his recent reported views on homosexuality.
Whatever people think of Fury on a personal level, what is certain is that the boxer has developed in a very good fighter over the years and beating such a polished and well respected champion like Klitschko deserves credit and respect.
During his interview after the fight, Fury said “I was very anxious waiting for the decision after being deducted a point, I knew it would make it closer and you never can tell.” Fury won this bout by majority decision.
Looking at the punching statistics during this bout Fury connected with 86 of his 371 and Klitschko landed 52 from 231.
Fury’s win is great for British heavyweight boxing and he follows previous world champions Bob Fitzsimmons, Michael Bentt, Herbie Hyde, Frank Bruno, Henry Akinwande, Lennox Lewis and David Haye into the world champion record books.
As to the future, it would seem that Klitschko will be given an immediate rematch against Fury. Klitschko believes he significantly underperformed against Fury and his defeat was a one-off. He has made it clear that he is eager to prove that he is the better fighter and in the rematch will raise his game and be victorious.
I personally believe that Klitschko has performed better in previous boxing bouts against more skilled opponents, but he is 39 years older now and Fury is different when compared because he is the much bigger man, younger, more mobile, elusive and unpredictable and his style is very difficult to beat for any fighter.
The other future opponents for the winner of the Fury vs Klitschko rematch are Britain’s David Haye, Anthony Joshua and American WBC World Champion Deontay Wilder.
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.”
CHAMPION: Harris Akbar clinched Gold in the welterweight boxing category at the Commonwealth Youth Games
Bradford boxer clinches top prize at Commonwealth Games
A heavy-hitting teenage boxer from Bradford took the biggest step in his youth career earlier this month as he scooped Gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.
16-year-old Harris Akbar travelled to the Polynesian Island as part of Team England, competing in the biggest tournament of his short career to date.
Having represented the country previously at junior level, it was the first time that the Grange Technology College student had stepped up to the international Youth’s (16-18-year-olds).
GOLDEN: Harris Akbar describes the victory as ‘the biggest achievement of his life’
To qualify, Harris won Gold in the national welterweight competition and the Four Nations, before being picked as the youngest member of Team England’s boxing squad for Samoa.
Fighting his way through to the final, the young ace faced off against Northern Ireland’s Brett McGinty for the prestigious Gold, and eventually picked up a unanimous points victory.
“It’s indescribable how it felt to win the Gold,” he said. “I was confident in myself going into the tournament but to have a Gold medal is the biggest achievement in my life.
“Fighting in Samoa was hard, it was really warm and the flight there took over 24-hours so that had an impact as well.
“The final was my toughest fight. [McGinty] was a stocky guy with a lot of power in his punches but I knew that if I kept him at reach I would be fine.
“I knew I had won after the fight and it really is hard to describe the feeling.”
Taking up the sport at the age of ten, after trying out ‘every other sport’, Harris fell in love with the action-packed world of boxing, citing amateur legend - Guillermo Rigondeaux, as his inspiration.
Currently training at Bradford College’s Boxing Academy, he says he hopes to continue progressing in the sport and compete at the highest amateur levels.
“I want to keep going in the sport and keep progressing,” he said. “My dad is a big motivator and so are my coaches who help me with everything.
“My aim is to compete at the Olympics one day and just keep going forwards.”
Bradford College Boxing Academy Coach, Mally MacIver, said he was always backing the local Bradfordian’s chances heading into the Commonwealths and sees a big future ahead.
SUPPORT: Bradford College Boxing Academy coach, Mally MacIver, says Harris has a big future ahead of him
“I knew he’d do it before he went and was quietly confident as long as he stuck to his routine,” he said.
“He was the youngest lad in the competition so it is a huge achievement for him and I think he will go a long way in the sport if he keeps his head down.
“Hopefully he can follow on from the success of other boxers from the college and get into the GB Podium team then onto the senior Commonwealths and Olympics.
“There is definitely more Gold in his future.”
Harris’ next challenge comes in Poland later this year as he travels with Team England once again in hope of clinching a European Youth Games Gold medal.
FIGHT: Junaid Cheema picked up a hard fought TKO victory over Brad Conway last weekend
A mixed martial arts fighter from Dewsbury has raised thousands of pounds for an orphanage in Palestine after defeating a long time rival in Bradford last weekend.
On Sunday 20th September, Junaid Cheema faced off against 100-bout veteran Brad Conway as crowds packed into Bradford’s Cedar Court Hotel for the Combat Challenge show.
A close fight was always expected between the two competitors and it was pre-fight favourite, Conway, who started the liveliest despite a roaring crowd support for the challenger.
Swinging wildly out of his corner, and landing with a couple of shots, the 33-year-old middleweight was taking the contest to Cheema before the KBW fighter was able to land a couple of combination shots of his own.
Just as Cheema was gaining momentum, the match was halted as Conway was forced to the canvas following a mid-section kick.
Complaining that the kick was ‘low’ to allow maximum recovery time, replays showed contact only occurred with the abdomen and the fight continued.
Cheema increased the pressure by throwing numerous kicks to the legs and body, once again forcing Conway to the canvas and despite attempts to rally, he was met with further devastating blows by the Dewsbury competitor.
With the fight looking likely to be stopped by the referee, Conway threw in the towel as he was treated in his corner, awarding Cheema the victory by TKO.
As well as the triumph, Cheema was also able to take pride in knowing he raised a large sum of money from the night for the Wadi-El-Fara orphanage project based in the west bank of Palestine.
Speaking after the fight, he said: “This was a much needed win for KBW.
“The club has grown into a major force in the amateur boxing circuit hosting an impressive stable of talented young boxes that train at the gym from all over Yorkshire.”