"I aim to be the next British Pakistani world champion"
Young and highly skilled British Asian boxers are taking the sport by storm.
British Asian athletes as a whole have been making a name for themselves for years, with areas like cricket and weightlifting seeing the most inclusion.
However, football and boxing are the two most popular sports which have lacked the same diversity. But, this is changing.
Whilst most of the rising stars in boxing are predominantly of Pakistani descent, there are British Indian fighters also paving their own way.
Additionally, British Asian females are also ascending amongst the ranks.
Most of these athletes are training in established boxing gyms, sparring with elite-level opponents and world-class coaches.
Some British Asian boxers themselves have represented Team GB at the Olympics and are also impressive in their championship ambitions.
Others have already blossomed on the world stage with promoters and broadcasters like Sky and BT providing a world platform.
This is not only bringing in new audiences to boxing but inspiring future British Asians to pursue the sport.
So, here are the top five British Asian boxers changing the fight game.
Adam “The Assasin” Azim is a top prospect within the sport and has quickly made a name for himself.
Having led the world welterweight rankings in the Youth Amateur circuit, he won the England Boxing National Junior Championships three times.
Add 10 national titles and a European silver medal and Adam’s accolades speak for themselves.
Under the watchful eye of elite trainer, Shane McGuigan, and support from Amir “King” Khan, Adam has fought his way to major triumphs on Sky Sports.
As part of their Boxxer events, he tore into opponents in a devastating fashion. In his first three fights as part of the promotion, he ended them all within the first round.
His outstanding jab, impressive speed and slick footwork led him to become the WBC Youth Inter-Continental Super Lightweight Champion.
But, he has his eyes firmly set on tougher tests, hoping to fight the likes of George Kambosos and Devin Haney.
Dylan Cheema is another emerging talent and has quickly become a fan favourite in the boxing world.
Hailing from Coventry, the undefeated fighter has massive backing to become a staple within British boxing.
This is due to his gifted ability on the feet and skill to overcome pressure from his opponents.
Appropriately nicknamed “The Natural”, Cheema’s organic talent and obvious determination in the sport are clear to see. In regards to people’s reaction when they see him fight, Dylan said:
“The first thing they’re going to see is my exciting style.
“I bring a style to the ring that is a little bit unique, coming from my kickboxing background, they’re going to see something different.”
However, it was his epic performance at Sky Sports’ Boxxer series that really spoke volumes.
Facing a staggering three challengers in one night, Cheema battled his way to the final fight of the night.
His opponent, Rylan Charlton, put up a gruesome fight with both boxers going all out in their attempts to catch the other.
It was a spectacle but ultimately Cheema came out on top and put other lightweights on notice (including Adam Azim).
Cheema is aiming to round off 2022 with a couple of more big fights in the hopes it will propel him to a title shot in 2023.
Five-time National Youth Champion Simran Kaur is serving as a trailblazer for British Asian boxers, especially young women looking to enter the sport.
Whilst Simran is still learning her trade, her aspirations within the sport are second to none.
In 2018 she eyed up a dream spot to join Team GB at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Talking to Sky Sports about this goal, she said:
“It would be amazing, that’s my dream, that’s my goal.”
“If I could be a role model for younger British girls, British Asian girls, that would be amazing ’cause I didn’t have that when I first started.”
In 2019, it seemed Kaur would achieve her dream as she received a call-up to the GB Boxing team.
Whilst she did not join the team at the Olympics, she has continued to train under intense camps and improve in certain areas.
But her relaxed fighting style, power hooks and quick jab are eye-catching.
The young prospect still has years left in the game and as she aims to go professional, she wants her journey to inspire the next generation of British Asian boxers.
She also spoke to BBC and stated how South Asian women are expected to follow stereotypes. Therefore, she wants to break those down and promote more inclusivity within boxing.
Similar to his brother Adam, Hassan Azim is making incredible strides in boxing.
Making his debut in 2017, Hassan faced off against Oliver Ollenberg getting a unanimous decision after the three-round bout.
Since then, the tough fighter has gathered six national titles, a silver Youth European medal and a bronze Youth Olympics medal.
At the closing ceremony, Hassan was the Team GB flagbearer which was a sign of his accomplishments as an athlete. But, he does not want to stop there, stating:
“I aim to be the next British Pakistani world champion, along with my brother and all that is required is hard work and dedication.
“I like to entertain the crowds with how boxing should be done, and my time to entertain has only just begun.
“Boxing does not only require a strong physique but also a strong mindset and morals.”
As with many other British Asian boxers, he’s had impressive showings on Boxxer. Here, he’s shown the world his perfect southpaw stance and aggression.
The addition of his power, explosiveness and timing makes him a formidable presence in boxing.
Hailing from Slough, London, Hamzah Sheeraz is of Pakistani descent and comes from a sporting background.
His grandfather and father were also boxers, giving Hamzah exposure and knowledge of boxing from an early age.
In 2017, Hamzah became a professional and was signed by hall of fame promoter, Frank Warren.
His first 16 fights have all brought wins with 12 being by knockout and four by decision. This just hints at the type of skill Hamzah possesses.
In his tenth fight, he faced off against Ryan Kelly for the vacant WBO European light middleweight title.
He put on a masterclass, overwhelming Kelly to get a technical knockout (TKO) in the sixth round.
Hamzah then went on to successfully retain the title in his four title defences.
Looking for a challenge, he fought for the vacant WBC International Silver middleweight title where he got the victory via TKO again, this time against fellow Briton Jez Smith.
In September 2022, Hamzah looked back on the first five years of his career and reminisced in an Instagram post:
“As I look back, as an 8-year-old child, I discovered that becoming a world champion is what I wanted to be.
“A day has not passed where I have doubted my path in life, my desire to reach the top of the sport is growing by the day.
“Path to world championship and beyond!”
These British Asian boxers are truly changing the face of the fight game. Most are now reaching a platform where fans across the world can witness their talents.
Most impressively, these fighters aren’t just winning fights, but they’re gaining important titles and championships along the way.
It is quite evident that more British Asians are getting into boxing and now they have some trailblazers helping to lead the way.
The fight game is truly changing.