Sohail Ahmad

Sohail Ahmad is a man who isn’t short on confidence.  The ring moniker of ‘Showstar’ is a giveaway before you even scratch the surface.  When I meet him he is on a promotional day, filming entrance clips for his ring walk to be used when he next fights on November 21st.  “I look forward to watching myself on the screens; I’ll watch the tapes back because I know I will look good!” he laughs.  “Looking good is not a problem for me!  I may even have a little stop on the ring walk and look back, make my opponent wait.  I’m paying for him so he can wait for me!”
 
But underneath the surface, the brash exterior, the 27 year old unbeaten light welterweight from London is realistic enough that he has progress to make and is approaching his peak years to complete the improvements.  When I ask him to pick a best performance from his six wins to date he is coy enough to swerve the questions, instead turning his résumé into a scrapbook of noted improvements to be made.  “The best performance?  I have so much to improve on and learn, I’m still a baby in the game” he states.  “I have the confidence but deep down inside I know that I have to work harder than what I am, improve more and work on things.  The best one is still to come.  I need to work on everything; my offence, defence, movement, fluency of punches, workrate.  Everything will come at the right time.”
 
It is only two years that Ahmad has been a professional fighter, making his debut against veteran journeyman Kristian Laight back in June 2013.  Since then he has won all six of his outings, with two stoppage victories coming on the way.  What is striking about Ahmad is how tall he is for a 140 lbs fighter.  Standing at six foot tall it appears illogical that he could strip to the weight with a frame such as his.  I see evidence through the day of the discipline required to ensure he doesn’t pile on any extra baggage; needing nourishment he returns from the shop with a low fat of multi-pack crisps, only to eat one pack and offer the rest of the snacks to others.  A fighters life eh?  His size though is one of the key advantages that he believes he has as a boxer.  “I’m an unorthodox fighter.  A lot of people say I’m awkward, tricky to fight.  I’m probably the tallest for my weight in the world so I’m rangy and like to fight at distance.  If I have to get in close then I can fight that too though, no problem.  I do whatever works for me in the ring.”
 
He admits that at 27 and with limited amateur experience (“12 or 15 fights”) he is learning on the job in the ring.  He did have some success before turning professional in winning the North West and North East London ABA tournaments, but tell me a familiar story of the politics in amateur boxing forcing his hand to join the paid ranks.  It hasn’t all been smooth sailing since making the decision to turn over though.  “I’ve had a couple of setbacks where I’ve had to cancel or pull out of fights with circumstances that weren’t right to do with medicals or the Board or me – something wasn’t right.”  He looks to put that behind him though on November 21st when he has his first six round contest.  No opponent is in the books yet, but with his list of victims having ever improving records he will be hoping to be matched with an opponent to give him further tests. 
 
To date his biggest challenge came in his second fight, one which may have appeared a routing victory on paper.  He was taking on another experienced journeyman in Dan Carr (2-40-2) who excels in testing up and coming opponents.  Ahmad didn’t have things all his own way though in September 2013 as he explains:

“My second fight, Dan Carr, a lot of people will say it was an easy fight but for me it was a very hard fight.  I never had a huge amateur experience and I’m using the pros as a learning experience as well as getting myself up the rankings, so it’s two battles to fight.  Fighting Dan Carr I wasn’t fit, it was one of the hardest fights for me so far; he kept coming forward and pressuring me, he was a dirty fighter and wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to do.  I got caught with some big shots and literally bit down on my gumshield and told myself ‘tonight I’m not losing’.  I won the fight by decision so at least I got the win.”
Sohail Ahmad
It was after the Carr fight that Ahmad joined up with Goodwin Promotions, the fast growing promotional outfit in Leighton Buzzard.  The London boxer has nothing but good words about them, speaking fondly of head Steve Goodwin.  “I signed with Steve after my second fight.  I had known him for a long time, before I turned professional in fact.  He’s an amazing Manager and Promoter, always does what’s good for you.  He’s not putting you in the deep end so he can make some money from you, he’ll always treat you with respect and do what benefits your career in the long run.  The setup for the new York Hall events is amazing, it’s the first time I’ve done anything like this – well, in my boxing career anyway!” he jokes.

There is an air of positivity about Ahmad, a man who carries an upbeat demeanour about himself.  Loud and lively he seemingly has a focus on the positives of situations, reflected by his earlier comments about improving on all performances.  Another person that gets a glowing reference is his trainer Rod Julian whose gym Ahmad trains out of in Chingford.  “He’s an amazing guy and an amazing trainer” he beams.
It is under Julian’s guidance that Ahmad now wishes to reach his peak.  As he admits the window of opportunity to utilise his talents may not be the widest and there is a focus on making the most of the time available.  “It’s a perfect age for me.  I just need to make sure I push on, I can’t have setbacks.  I will physically peak in the next two to four years so I need to make use of it and take advantage that it’s the right time and get the right fights.  I want to fight for the belts, achieve my dreams and fulfil my goals.” 
 
When pushed around what those goals are Ahamd is succinct in his aims.  “Every fighter has a dream, any sportsman wants to be the best in the world.  Every boxer dreams when they first put the gloves on that they will be the best in the world at what they do and be a world champion.  That’s my dream, to be world champion and I’m going to do whatever it takes to achieve that dream.  Giving up is not in my recipe.”

With his undefeated record on the line November 21st ‘Showstar’ will be looking at pushing his rankings within the light welterweight division and make his move towards the title belts he dreams of.  Brash and cocky he may be, November 21st represents an opportunity to show his fans just why.

Ahmad wished to give a special thanks to Nina Naustdal.  “Nina is a fashion designer who designs my fighting shorts and I can’t wait to show them to the public, they look amazing!”