Boxing: Quick English title opportunity for Sheffield underdog

If Sheffield featherweight Razaq Najib wins the English championship on Saturday evening, he will have done so after just two years, four months and 10 days in the professional sport of boxing.

He has been fast-tracked to the title after just six wins and one loss.

But the 22-year-old from Park Hill says he is more than ready for the challenge - that of beating the more experienced Samir Mouneimne, who has been in with the likes of Josh Warrington, Ryan Walsh and Lee Selby.

Najib says the opportunity came after he discussed his future with trainer Ryan Rhodes and told him shorter round fights where no belts were on the line were not for him - he wanted to take any 10 and 12 rounders that were on offer.

“We didn’t think straight away it (title shot) would come but it come and we have taken it” he said.

“I’m glad its come at the right time of my career; it is going to move me forward and that’s what I am looking forward to.”

Boxer Razaq Najib pictured at 26RR Gym on Allen Street in Sheffield. Picture: Chris Etchells

Boxer Razaq Najib pictured at 26RR Gym on Allen Street in Sheffield. Picture: Chris Etchells

But is it a risk after boxing a modest 29 professional rounds?

“No, I am young, I am only 22 I have only had seven fights, I have got so much to learn and so much to come through” he replied.

He said if he wins he progresses up the rankings, but if he lost: “It wouldn’t have been a backward stop.”

Najib saying being underdog against the Hull opponent (Won 16 Lost 2 Drawn 1) did not faze him.

Ryan Rhodes

Ryan Rhodes

Instead, he is just focusing on what he can bring to the Stefy Bull show at Doncaster Dome.

He said: “I am a come-forward fighter, I can box on the back foot if I want to.

“But mainly it’s front foot... I love a little bit of a tear-up.

“I will make sure it (Saturday’s contest) will be a tear-up, I’ll make sure he comes to fight, if I don’t make it the way it is then anything can happen in the fight but I honestly believe in a long-distance fight I can stop him.

He said he was not bothered about improving his own 14% knockout rate.

“I am not fussed, I am more bothered about getting the rounds in, what matters is just to get that win.”

Najib lost his unbeaten record to Doncaster’s Tom Bell in April last year at the City Hall, Sheffield - a fight he felt could have been judged a draw.

“I look back at it, I learned so much from it and that’s why I have made a move (towards a title.)

“From the fight, I learned: Don’t stand still, don’t stand in front of him and get reckless, move my head and get sharper.”

While respecting Mouneimne’s achievements, he said: “We have got nothing to loss I am there to do a job and come Saturday night I am definitely going to get that job done.

“He is not a bad boxer, I do rate him, but I think I have got his number, after this fight I don’t think he will be coming back.”

An English title win would bring obvious advancement for the Sheffielder.

“It will boost me up, it get me there, every door is open then isn’t it? British, Commonwealth, whatever route we want to take we can take.”

* Tom Bell, who outpointed Najib in April last year, is on Saturday's card. He faces journeyman Brett Fidoe, from Evesham, Worcestershire.

* Brampton’s Josh Wale leads the bill at Doncaster Dome, seeking to win the vacant BBBofC British bantamweight title, against Dundee’s Jamie Wilson. It will be his 35th professional fight.

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