Congratulations on your triumph as the first Singaporean to win the World Boxing Association (WBA) Asia Featherweight Championship title! We are curious to know what initially sparked your interest in boxing and is there a backstory to it?
I started boxing with Mr Syed Abdul Kadir, the legendary Singapore boxer, after watching several Rocky movies. In real life, boxing wasn’t as fun as what I’ve seen in the movies.
Soon, I wanted to quit. Before that could happen, I was asked if I wanted to compete in a local tournament. Of course I said yes as I was fully confident that I would win. Unfortunately, I did not. The loss was the most important lesson for me and because of that, I’m boxing up till today.
What prompted you to make the decision to finally go pro in 2016?
It has always been at the back of my mind and one of my goals to delve into professional boxing. I also believe that my fighting style is more suited for the professional scene as it entails more rounds.
After making a trip to Cebu, I trained with some of the best at the famous ALA Gym. At there, I got to see how they train and witness their way of lives. Finally, I had my pro debut after staying there for three months.
Have there been any hurdles along the way in your boxing journey? If so, would you mind sharing and elaborate further on how you overcame them?
Boxing is easy. Life is so much more difficult. Many things have happened and are still happening and I prefer not to say much about them. However, the way I overcame them is in being relentlessly stubborn in my pursuit to achieve my goals.
Who’s your role model and how did he or she serve as an inspiration to you?
My mum’s my role model. She’s a fighter in so many ways especially in how she brought my siblings and I up. It wasn’t easy but she did it in the best way she could. She’s almost never tired, determined, strong willed and I believe she packs a punch.
I’m not scared of any opponent but I am scared of her (in a good way). She inspires me to stay strong and not give up no matter how difficult it may be.
If you weren’t boxing professionally, what would you be doing now?
I’ve no idea, really. I can’t imagine myself not boxing professionally, but I was really into cooking before I started boxing seriously. Perhaps, I might be running my own kitchen by now.
It’s really impressive how you’re able to juggle between co-owning a local boxing gym Legends Fight Sport and being a professional boxer, how do you cope with such hectic demands?
It comes down to discipline and having a great team. No man is an island and I am blessed to have a great team working with me at Legends Fight Sport.
Plus, I’m also running a Strength & Conditioning gym, Habit SG and the trainers there are more than willing to help me with work.
Besides, has the boxing scene in Singapore evolved and what’s your take on it?
The boxing scene has grown in so many ways. The amateur scene is growing rapidly while the professional scene is starting to make notable news and impact.
I’m so happy to see so many talent. The interest level from people wanting to start boxing is high and that’s a positive sign. There are more gyms, thus the level of competition is getting higher and better. My take is that, this is the beginning.
We mustn’t stop and keep on pushing so that Singapore boxing can once day be a force to reckon with.
How’s your daily fitness regime and diet like too?
I train six times a week, twice a day. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are my sparring days.
On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings, I will be doing roadwork or strength and conditioning work at the gym. In the afternoon, I will work on my boxing.
Image via Youtube.
As the upcoming Roar of Singapore II boxing event approaches, do you feel the pressure rising and why?
I don’t feel pressure. Pressure feels me. (laughs)
On a more serious note, I understand the importance of this fight and that it’s a great deal to be Singapore’s first professional boxing champion. I think the people around me are more nervous than I am. However, I do not worry too much about that.
My focus is to train hard, train smart, put on a good show on the 27th and get the results.
Last but not least, what are some tips you’d give to aspiring individuals who want to pursue boxing professionally or even sportsmen who want to go pro?
My advice is, you got to love what you do. Along the way, there will be many reasons to stop or quit. If you don’t love what you do, you will find yourself straying away from the path of your goals and dreams.
“Following Jo Schooling’s stunning Olympic gold victory, here is another great opportunity for Singapore to celebrate another of its own champion – Muhamad Ridhwan. Having recently won the WBA Asia Superweight title, he could well be the first Singaporean world boxing champion if he wins the UBO World Super Featherweight title. Let’s make sure he knows that the country is behind him all the way!”
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