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Bradford’s latest champ!

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WINNER: Zahir Akram who was successful in his first boxing bout in Bradford, pictured her with his uncle Amjad Akram

WINNER: Zahir Akram who was successful in his first boxing bout in Bradford, pictured her with his uncle Amjad Akram

 

14-year-old’s debut boxing fight gives him a punching start in the ring

A 14-year-old local schoolboy realised his dream as he entered the ring to participate in his first amateur boxing match, emerging victorious in a spirited display.

Bradford boy wonder Zahir Akram has been fighting for two-and-a-half years. He trained extremely hard to get into shape for the fight on Friday 6th October with the help of his personal trainer Asad Shah.

The student of Bradford Academy committed to putting in the hard yards in preparation for this fight. After school he’ d be seen jamming in double gym sessions including boxing sessions and then extra cardio and fitness exercises to top it all off.

Zahir says he was extremely focused going into the fight and believed his pre-fight prep would have him ready.

“I admit I was slightly nervous before the fight, but believed in my own ability to come away with the win,” says Akram.

“I enjoyed the challenge of my first fight and didn’t let nerves get the better of me despite my opponent’s height advantage. I stayed focused and committed to the advice my coach has been giving me.”

The up and coming fighter who trains at Laisterdyke Boxing Club was overwhelmed by the tremendous support he received, on the night itself there were 400 supporters across the fights, with 250 of these in support of Zahir.

The Bradford bruiser isn’t stopping their though, he has already started training for his next fight which is scheduled for December and will either take place in Bradford or Sheffield. His next opponent is still in talks.

The prodigy can’t wait for his next fight and will continue his hard training methods which were a success this time as they worked well and suited him in his pursuit for victory.

Zahir was backed by many Yorkshire businesses who he says he’d would like to thank for their continued support including; Letz Talk, Marlborough Auto Centre, Letz Move and Kamran’s Solicitors.

Everyone’s a winner in Mayweather vs McGregor fight

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Mayweather makes it 50-0 but he’s not the only winner in record breaking bout

Last Saturday’s showpiece ‘money fight’ between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather did not disappoint it in fact exceeded many expectations at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

It was inevitable in the end that the boxer won a boxing match against a non-boxer, especially when that boxer is Floyd Mayweather JR, the world’s most famous and undisputed champion who has beat all in front of him with a 49-0 record.

McGregor who was belittled by many ‘experts’ before the fight, with many expecting him to be knocked out instantly. This was not to be the case as the UFC champ came out swinging in the opening rounds.

This tactic had people engaged and it wasn’t the mismatch expected with ‘Notorious’ even winning the first few rounds, with many starting to believe the unthinkable.

The tactical genius of Mayweather held strong, he wasn’t 49-0 for no reason dismantling the world’s best in the past. And McGregor became another name to Mayweather’s foes as he stopped the Irishman in the 10th round via TKO.

McGregor earned praise from many including Mike Tyson, however this won’t bother the UFC champ too much, despite his 10th round TKO he will pocket $100 Million (£77.5 Million), this would even see him jump above football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo on the Forbes rich list.

Self-Proclaimed ‘Mystic Mac’ even predicted this outcome when the pair met in 2016, he said: “You (Ronaldo) were number one on the Forbes list, I was like number 35 or something, I’ll get up. Maybe next year I’ll get you.”

Mayweather who retired following the fight with a record of 50-0, earned an eye watering amount for his 10-round triumph, with the money man of sport reported to have earned $373 Million (£288 Million) which equates to over £28 Million a round compared to McGregor’s £7.7 Million a round.

The two ‘fighters’ weren’t the only winners with the television companies who provided coverage of the fight also breaking records earning big money in the process.

There was a reported 6.5 million pay per view buyers which eclipsed the 4.6 million pay per view buyers for the Mayweather against Pacquiao fight. With the fight which cos $99 to purchase is expecting to eclipse $400 Million worldwide.

So it’s not just the two fighters who will be smiling looking at their bank balance today but the Pay per view television companies worldwide also made a healthy profit from the cross codes fight.

Kash “The Flash” Gill

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Indefeated four-times World Kickboxing champ’s passion is to work with youngsters in Birmingham

Kash ‘The Flash’ Gill has been described as ‘the UK’s most prolific kickboxer’. Standing tall at 6ft 3” Kash, a retired British professional kickboxer has an impressive line-up of British, European and World titles under his belt.

Four-times World Kick Boxing Champion - the first Asian to become World Champion in a contact sport, Kash engaged with spectators in a show of demos at the Birmingham Mela.

Kash Gills’ Incredible rise from the tough inner city streets of Birmingham, to world fame and domination of his chosen sport, is a fascinating white-knuckle journey.

Discovering kickboxing at the age of 14 when he saw a demo in a local park, he went down for a trial session and fell in love with the sport which was to become his life.

Gill’s natural speed and athletic ability as well as his flashy showmanship soon earned him the nickname ‘The Flash’, a name which fits like a glove.

By 1984, having earned his black belt, Gill at the age of 18, had entered and won his first competition in a three-round contest in full-contact karate.

The list of world kickboxing titles that Kash picked up and added to his collection over the next few years was impressive and his rise to fame gathered impetus in 1986 when he blasted his way to a gold medal at the World PKA Amateur Full Contact Championships.

His sheer determination to rise above and not be defined by his environment and tragedies that beset his early years has inspired multitude of students, fans and professional athletes alike.

He scaled new heights in his career, collecting his first Professional world title, the WKA Junior Middleweight in 1991 when he also won the World full contact Karate championships.

In the two consecutive years following, he went on to win the WKA World Middleweight kickboxing title and the ISKA World Light Middleweight title.

Despite his success in the ring, Kash still has his feet firmly planted on the ground.

The man behind the world champion is an extremely likeable one and he is a sensational coach. Do not let the Flash stage persona fool you, Kash is a charismatic man that cares about his community and the people in it – he is a true peoples champion and a positive role model.

Working with local schools to promote the importance of health and fitness is a huge passion. He’s also involved in fundraising and working with local charities that help disadvantaged youths in the area where he grew up.

In 2008 Kash achieved his lifelong dream and opened his own gym with the aim of uniting people from all communities in a love of fitness and sport. His gym  includes a boxing ring, plenty of floor space, punch bags, showers and a sauna and offers a variety of classes to suit all ages and abilities.

When he is not coaching he is tirelessly raising funds for various charities and resources for the local community with the same determination that made him World Champion. A sporting hero, role model and inspiration, a towering ambassador of Martial Arts and the disaffected youth of inner cities around the world.

 


 

Kash The Flash Gill, Stats

The UK’s most prolific Kick-Boxer

World Amateur Kick Boxing Champion at the age of 20

Became four times World Kickboxing Champion, an achievement that has not been beaten

world champion in kickboxing at the age of 21

1991, he won the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) light middleweight and super welterweight full contact titles

The following year he won the WKA middleweight championship

He was the International Sport Karate Association freestyle champion of 1993

Formally retired from fighting in 2002

Inducted into the BBC Sporting Hall of Fame

Life in the Flash Lane Documentary

Kash The Flash Interview

 


 

HOMETOWN HEROINE: Great British Bake Off champ Nadiya Hussain takes her TV career to the next level

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Great British Bake Off champion Nadiya Hussain has embarked on a new presenting role as she stars in Big Family Cooking Showdown.

The young mother of three, from Leeds, whose witty one-liners and captivating smile, has made a significant impact towards overturning more prejudiced perceptions of women who wear the hijab.

She is co-hosting with Zoe Ball on BBC Two in a show which sees 16 families from across the UK battle it out in the kitchen.

The competitors are judged by TV cook Rosemary Shrager and Michelin star chef Giorgio Locatelli.

In the show, two families, each represented by three members, will face off in the kitchen over three rounds in the hunt to find Britain's best family of cooks.

Having won Bake Off in 2015 Nadiya has said they progamme is as much as about the dynamics of a family as it is about food.

She said: "It's not one person cooking, so it falls on everybody to have a role in the group and that's really interesting to watch because it's no different to most family homes when you're all in the kitchen together.

"These are family members: you can see sometimes there is tension and sometimes they work really well together - but when you cook together you cook very differently."

The Big Family Cooking Showdown starts at 8pm on 15th August on BBC Two.

Monster Mubzz: Thai kickboxing champ crushes three Guinness World Records in one day

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HUGE FEAT: 37-year-old Mubz Bajwa is the world’s first person to successfully complete a triple world record challenge in one day

HUGE FEAT: 37-year-old Mubz Bajwa is the world’s first person to successfully complete a triple world record challenge in one day

Attempting to beat a Guinness World Record for, well just about anything, is pretty awesome, but for one proud Brummy it wasn’t enough – he decided that he’d attempt three all in one go!

Muay Thai kickboxing champion, Mubz Bajwa, already holds the 2014 Guinness World Record for carrying out a whopping 111 consecutive rounds of full contact Thai Sparring over 7 hours and 20 minutes.

The 37-year-old fitness enthusiast from Birmingham, hugely inspired by the selfless work of late Pakistani humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi, decided that he would take on the incredible challenge of breaking three world records in one go.

Being the talk of social media with thousands of messages of support, Bajwa’s mammoth triple martial arts world record challenge raised an impressive £6000,  

Completing the feat on Sunday 29th January, he smashed times for ‘most full-contact knee strikes in 60 seconds’ (alternate legs), most ‘full-contact elbow strikes in 60 seconds’ (alternate elbows) and 'most-full-contact elbow strikes with one arm' in 60 seconds'.

Overseen by two officially-approved Guinness judges, it took around two hours for Mubzz to accomplish his mission, with just short intervals between each record attempt.

UNDEFEATED: Mubz Bajwa was inspired to raise money for Edhi Foundation which operates the world’s largest voluntary ambulance service

UNDEFEATED: Mubz Bajwa was inspired to raise money for Edhi Foundation which operates the world’s largest voluntary ambulance service

“The regulatory judges ensured I was using the correct technique along with keeping track of count repetitions," says Mubzz.

"Two timekeepers were also present equipped with a video camera with time functions capturing my record-breaking attempt.”

Mubz inspired by the simplicity and humble lifestyle of the Abdul Sattar Edhi, comments: “The Edhi Foundation is unique and has a 100% donation policy and also holds the Guinness World Record for the Largest Voluntary Ambulance Service in the world.

“It was a no-brainer that I should take pride in marrying my martial arts world record with Edhi’s.”

Whilst preparing for this challenge, Mubzz worked closely with an experienced team of Muay Thai trainers, including Raf Hussain from Eight Limbs Gym in Birmingham and Team Taz Muay Thai in Oldham.

Beginning his training around six months ago, Bajwa had initially set a target of beating 15 world records in one day and trained with that goal in mind.

"Unfortunately, as circumstance would have it, that did not happen".
He says: “It was completely out of my control. I know my body, and I know what I am capable of".

"Everything happens for a good reason, the records are a means to an end - I'm glad it was three and not 15 now!” laughs Mubz.

“Everything read and heard about the challenge was positive, but the main aim of the whole event was to raise funds to buy an ambulance for the Edhi Foundation, and I’m delighted I was successful in doing that.”

Now that Mubz has managed to achieve his goal, he along with his valued team are working on the next challenge over the next 18-months.

“The next event will require medical staff to be present - just in case something goes wrong,” says a mysterious Mubz.

“I'm looking forward to that challenge, so watch this space...”

Figuring it out: Anxieties vanish after bodybuilding champ scoops top toning trophy

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 TRAINING HARD: Jas with her trainer Bobby who helped her to win two trophies

TRAINING HARD: Jas with her trainer Bobby who helped her to win two trophies

A woman from Huddersfield has ‘toned her life around’ thanks to a sport that she never thought she would be interested in... bodybuilding.

33-year old Jaspreet Sahota - or Jas as she’s known - began her fitness regime in 2013 because she wasn’t happy with her figure.

She said: “I decided that I wanted to go to the gym to look and feel better in general. I found that I was really good at fitness.

“My brother and a good friend - who’s a personal trainer -started training me and taught me the correct techniques. They were the ones who encouraged me and said I should consider competing.”

After working as a compliance manager in Leeds during the day, Jas’s free time was spent lifting heavy weights at the gym and learning how to be a personal trainer.

“It took about six months for my body to start changing. When my brother said I should enter a competition, I thought it was too much and I wasn’t keen at first. Then I just thought I’d go for it.”

She entered her first Toned Figure Bodybuilding competition in 2015 and took a very respectable fifth place.

This year, she won fourth place at the prestigious NABBA North East area qualifiers, narrowly missing out on an invite to the British championships.

Jas decided to only build up her muscles up a “little bit” because she wants to remain feminine and enter at “just the toned level”.

A week and a half ago, Jas entered the Miss Cumbria contest and won first place in the Toned Figure class, including the overall category which was “amazing”.

Two trophies later and Jas remains determined to keep scooping up the number one spots.

“It’s consistency and grit that’s got me here,” she said.

INSPIRATIONAL: Jas’s body has gone through a huge transformation along with her mind - which is now worry-free

INSPIRATIONAL: Jas’s body has gone through a huge transformation along with her mind - which is now worry-free

Jaspreet, who herself is a Sikh, wants to “keep representing” after discovering that there are not many Asian women in the sport.

“I’m really proud to get on stage being the only Asian female competing and it makes me want to continue even more,” she added.

“I’m not doing anything wrong. Some people will not support me in what I’m doing - that’s normal - but I’m going to keep on going because I’ve got my friends and family behind me and that’s the main thing.”

The toned trophy winner’s anxiety has “pretty much gone” thanks to her fitness regime.

“That’s another reason why I took it up. I needed a way to keep busy and if I had too much time on my hands, I’d start dwelling on things and that’s when the worry would kick in.”

Jas added: “The sport helped me control my breathing and my body became more relaxed. I had focus and it made me forget my worries. I would advise anyone who is suffering from any form of anxiety to take up sport because it does release stress.”

Next up for Jas are more big competitions, more wins and some sponsorship to help her along the way.

She has her sights firmly placed on the 2017 NABBA British championships and is currently in training with her coach Bobby who is also a competitive bodybuilder.

If you’re inspired by Jas’s story or would like to help with sponsorship, let us know: mish@asianexpress.co.uk

Al-Bacha crowned FIFA champ after thrilling final

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WHAT A GAME: Mohamad Al-Bacha is the new FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) Champion

WHAT A GAME: Mohamad Al-Bacha is the new FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) Champion

Best in the World

A Danish gamer has been crowned the official FIFA World champion, beating more than 2 million players to the coveted number one spot.

Mohamad Al-Bacha was crowned the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) Champion after beating Sean Allen of England in the Grand Final event at the world famous Apollo Theater in New York City earlier this month.

Al-Bacha was presented with his trophy by FIFA World Cup winner and New York City FC Captain, David Villa.

The Dane also received a cheque for $20,000 and an invitation to attend FIFA’s annual awards ceremony for the world’s best football players, the FIFA Ballon d’Or in Zurich.

“To win the competition is beyond words for me,” Al-Bacha said.

“For the last few months I have really worked on my performance and was totally committed to playing the best I could here in New York.

“Being presented with the winner’s trophy by David Villa is amazing and I can’t quite believe this is reality yet.”

In a thrilling two-legged final, with one leg played on PlayStation4 and one on Xbox One, Allen played with Brazil before Al-Bacha swooped to victory playing as France.

FINALIST: Al-Bacha received his trophy from New York City FC’s David Villa

FINALIST: Al-Bacha received his trophy from New York City FC’s David Villa

Trailing 3-1 in the second leg, following a 2-2 draw in the first, Al-Bacha scored two goals, including one in the 90th minute, to claim the title of world’s best FIFA 16 gamer.

The 2016 edition marked the first time that the annual tournament was played on both the world’s leading gaming consoles - The PlayStation4 and Xbox One.

The new champion is the first FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion to ever win the event while playing on multiple platforms.

Speaking about Mohamad Al-Bacha's win, David Villa said: “It’s been a real eye opener for me to see the level of competition here.

“The professionalism and mental strength in the final was just like in a real World Cup Final.

“I played a few of the competitors myself but I’m nowhere near their level. Congratulations to Mohamad Al-Bacha. He played a great match this evening and showed a real passion for football.”

The 2016 Grand Final, the twelfth edition of the tournament, was the first time that New York City had the pleasure of hosting the showpiece event.

Over 2.3 million players from around the world took part in online qualification for the 2016 edition of the largest video gaming tournament in the world, but only an elite 32 players made it to New York.

Bake off champ returns home

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FOODIE: Nadiya Hussein was in Leeds earlier this week to host a cooking demonstration

FOODIE: Nadiya Hussein was in Leeds earlier this week to host a cooking demonstration

Nadiya hosts scrumptious cooking demo in Leeds

The nation’s favourite chef made a triumphant return to Leeds on Thursday 10th December, as Nadiya Hussein cooked up a storm in the Merrion Centre.

Having clinched the Great British bake-Off title earlier this year, the mum-of-three returned to her former home city for a baking demonstration to the delight of the gathered crowds.

COOKING: Nadiya won the nation’s hearts when she was crowned British Bake-Off winner earlier this year (Pic credit: BBC/Love Productions)

COOKING: Nadiya won the nation’s hearts when she was crowned British Bake-Off winner earlier this year (Pic credit: BBC/Love Productions)

Teaching shoppers how to make some of her delicious recipes - including cheese and tomato spiral biscuits and cardamom and coconut whoopie pies - Nadiya’s lovable personality was on show for all to see during the exhibition.

Retailers also offered a selection of scrumptious baked treats to shoppers in the centre.

Praising the city which supported her ‘baking bid’ on the BBC, Nadiya said: “I’ve lived in Leeds for the last 10 years and it’s an honour to host my own bakery session in a familiar venue,” she said.

“Winning the Bake Off means I’ve been travelling lots and had some great opportunities, but despite this, being back in Leeds, in recognisable surroundings, is really comforting.”

As well as being tempted with mouth-watering treats, Nadiya was on hand to answer culinary questions from customers and to pose with them for photos.

Raising money for the Candlelighters charity, shoppers could even pick up an autograph menu card for just £1 and take some recipes home with them.

Cassie Turner, events and marketing planner at the Merrion Centre, was delighted to see the television star in the city.

“As a city I think it’s fair to say we were all behind Nadiya and delighted she was crowned Bake Off champion 2015,” she said.

“We know a lot of our shoppers are die-hard foodies and we’re thrilled that we’re able to offer them some free advice and free samples. Hopefully it will provide a little bit of inspiration for their own Christmas party menus.”