Former British and European champion Pat Barrett once claimed that the boxing scene in Manchester would eventually become as big as it is in London.
Ricky Hatton inspired a generation, adopted heavyweight Tyson Fury was taken under the city’s wing, while Scott Quigg, Anthony Crolla and Terry Flanagan have all held world championship belts.
Middleweight boxer Uwais Majeed is now part of that movement. The former Roche ABC pugilist may not hail from the northern capital but, fighting out of the world famous Collyhurst and Moston Boxing Gym, he’s hoping to take on that rich heritage.
The 24-year-old, who is now working under ‘Black Flash’, was ranked number one in England for a spell as a teenager and now he’s determined to get back to the top when he steps in to the professional ranks.
Majeed, a coach at the Muscle Factory in Burnley, will live out a lifelong ambition when making his debut at Middleton Arena on July 28th.
And he’s not going to let anybody stand in his way. “Whoever gets put in front of me I’m going to beat them,” he said.
“All that matters is that I’m prepared when I make my debut. I won’t focus too much on my opponent because I’ve got to believe in my own ability.
“This has been a dream since I first started boxing, since I first picked up a pair of gloves. Everything that I’ve done has been based on becoming a professional boxer.”
That closing quote isn’t an exaggeration, either. Majeed learned the ropes as an amateur under the tutelage of Brian Roche, who he shared a tight working relationship with for eight years, while his study was geared towards the biomechanics and kinesiology of human performance.
The Burnley boxer completed a foundation degree in Health and Personal Training before landing a BA Hons in Exercise and Fitness Management at UCLan.
Majeed, who was trapped in a divisional hinterland as an amateur, competing at 77kg in the 75-81kg category, said: “I had 35 fights as an amateur and won 30 of them. I won a North West title and a Midlands area title and when I was 16 I was ranked number one in England.
“I did good but I didn’t do great; I didn’t win an ABA title or anything. I represented England in Sweden not so long ago though. Representing my country was a great experience. Unfortunately I lost out on a split decision.
“Brian was an excellent coach. Everything I’m being shown now I originally learned with him.
“Brian provided the foundation for me and now I’m adding to what he taught me. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Majeed added: “I’m looking forward to fighting at my natural weight. I feel I’ll be a lot stronger at middleweight. I felt like a bull in my last fight; powerful and fast.
“I’ve always learned about how the body performs. I’ve always wanted to educate myself and I’m training a lot smarter now because of it. Everything has been building up towards this occasion.”
Majeed has certainly been keeping the right company. Having sparred with the Smith brothers, Callum and Liam, at Gallagher’s Gym, trained alongside Amir Khan at his self-named academy in Bolton and shared sessions with IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence at Love ABC in Rawtenstall, he’s now ready to make waves at 160lbs.
“I’m going for world titles,” he said. “I see myself getting to the top of the game. If you don’t have big ambition then you’re in the wrong sport because it isn’t any fun getting punched in the face.
“I believe in myself and that’s where I see myself going. I’ve been around experienced people. There’s a long road ahead and there’ll be stepping stones along the way but I’ve just got to keep chipping away.
“I want to represent the whole of Burnley. I want the town to get behind me. I want to represent all cultures and the different communities.”