HOT prospect Atif Ali has been tipped for ABA Championship glory by coach Brian Roche.
The 22-year-old Burnley boxer has been backed to take the next step in his career after storming to North West Region Novice Championship success.
Ali, who fights out of Roche ABC in Briercliffe Road, beat Fox ABC’s Jake Bulger in the 57-61kg weight division to set up his title chance.
It was a famous victory at Bolton’s Lads and Girls Club against an opponent that hails from the same roots as boxing greats Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton MBE and former British welterweight champion and world title challenger Michael Jennings.
And it paved the way for a sensational victory over Carlisle Villa’s Saed Iqhbal in the final at Cheetham Hill’s Irish World Heritage Centre.
The bout was a boxing exhibition; two stylish fighters gunning for one championship. A vociferous crowd encouraged both Ali and last year’s champion Iqhbal to the final bell where the ringside judges awarded a unanimous verdict in favour of the Burnley boxer.
“He faced two classy fighters,” said Roche. “But he boxed superb and won them both. To face last year’s winner and take every single round is a fantastic achievement. The final was a great boxing spectacle.
“Atif was just too good for him in the end. He’s now won 13 of his 14 bouts and he’ll be making a name for himself in the ABA Championships this year. He will be one of the favourites to win it.”
Elsewhere, Jak Edmondson pushed a former Junior Schoolboy Championship finalist right to the wire.
Many thought the 15-year-old had done enough to have his arm raised following the clash with Northampton’s G. Fail (Farcotton ABC), but the conclusion was defeat by a majority decision.
Roche said: “Jak took the fight on last minute so he did incredibly well. His opponent is in the English top three in the 54-57kg category so it was a great effort. I thought he had beaten him at first. He faced a really strong lad who had won 13 from 14 fights but Jak matched him all the way and boxed really well. It was a great fight.”The club will be holding its first show of the season at Byerden House, Colne Road, on Friday, November 18th at 7-30 p.m. George Drinkwater and Jack Steff are both set to appear among the 14 bouts scheduled to take place.
Tickets for the event are £15 and can be purchased from Brian Roche by calling 07749 903771.