Young Emirati amateur boxer Majid Al Naqbi was the cynosure of all eyes when he beat Uganda’s Henry Ssendi in ‘The Fight’ at Ahdaaf Sports Club in Al Quoz on Friday.
Held under the supervision of Shanghai-based PBC (Professional Boxing Commission) International and the auspices of the Dubai Sports Council, professional boxing returned to Dubai thrilling a sell-out crowd at the indoor football academy.
Boxing fans got their monies worth in the second edition of ‘The Fight’ conceived by three Emirati boxing enthusiasts – a former UAE boxer Hamad Bin Hadher, founder of R10 boxing gym Ahmed A. Seddiqi and the owner of Ahdaaf Sports Club Yousuf Al Hashmi.
Majid was the star of the show on a night when battle-hardened professionals displayed their explosive skills to the delight of fight fans hungry for boxing action.
The 20-year-old Emirati gave an outstanding performance, boxing like a professional as he set the tempo for the six-card event by easily outpointing his adversary in the 64kg weight class.
“I’ve never been in this position before (fighting in front) lot of people. When you go inside the ring, you feel nervous a little bit. Boxing is about challenge. It’s the second time I prepared for it. I know how it feels,” said Majid who did not show signs of nerves once the action began.
Majid attacked from the opening bell with powerful jabs and hooks staggering Ssendi with a left cross to assert his authority in the ring, even taunting his opponent.
The Ugandan boxer boasted a record of 45 wins before this fight but had no answer to Majid’s fists of fury despite making a fight of it in round two by landing body blows.
Majid wowed the delirious crowd by landing the heavier blows and towering over his rival to earn a unanimous decision and extend his amateur career record to four wins.
“They told me he is a great opponent. Alhamdulillah I won. First round I was giving him big shots to make him respect me. Second round I got a little nervous because he gave me little punches. Third round I knew what I had to do,” he said.
“I’m thinking of reaching professional and I’m ready to represent UAE,” said an ecstatic Majid who has been training under Romanian coach Voirel Morovan at R10 Boxing Club for the past one and half years.
Former Kenyan champion Nicholas Mwangi won a bloody four-round 63.5 super lightweight battle against a rugged
fighter from Afghanistan Azizi Zafar who gave as good as he got despite suffering a cut under his left eye in the opening round. However, all three judges scored 39-37 to Mwangi to the delight of the African fans.
“It was the toughest fight of my career,” said Mwangi, 28, a product of R10 Boxing Club, after the slugfest.
Irish eyes were smiling as former ‘World Golden Gloves’ winner Rohan Date dismantled Ghana’s Stephen Okine in the 69kg super welterweight class.
Rohan floored Okine twice during the four-round clash but the tough Ghanaian kept bouncing back. Okine was also penalised for holding.
“When you hit guys as hard as that in amateurs, they usually stay down. This guy kept getting up. It was not one-way, he was getting lot of punches back. It was a big testing match,” said an exhausted Rohan after the fight.
“I need to build a profile. I want the Irish community over here to come and support the fights. Hopefully we can get in bigger stadiums,” said Rohan who was amazed by ‘The Fight’.
“You won’t see anything like this back home really.
This is something we can keep improving on and getting better exposure,” he added.
Nigerian Lasisi ‘Lucky Boy’ Aliu raised the roof with a spectacular first-round knockout of Hungary’s Dodu Gyula in the 53.52kg bantamweight class.
Gyula found himself seated on the middle of ring after being stunned by two crosses as the scheduled six-round contest ended after just 59 seconds.
‘The Fight’ night reached a crescendo when Filipino boxer Larry Abarra outclassed Ghana’s Isaac Netty in the 55.33kg super bantamweight duel.
Abarra unsettled Netty with a barrage of punches before whipping in a right hook forcing the referee to stop the scheduled 10-round bout in round two.
The ‘Main Event’ between R10 Boxing Club boy Deo Kizito of Uganda and Russian Evgenii Vazim lived upto its billing.
There was very little to choose between the two lightweight boxers after eight rounds of gruelling entertainment. Vazim used his reach advantage to lead and keep Deo at bay. Deo nailed Vazim with hooks and uppercuts but it was not enough to sway the judges.
Vazim was adjudged the winner on a narrow split decision with two judges scoring 77-75 apiece while another had it 78-74 in favour of the Russian to tilt the balance.