"I was missing lectures and seminars to go to training"
Shabaz Masoud stopped attending university to pursue his dream of becoming a boxing world champion.
The 26-year-old is considered to be one of the UK’s brightest prospects, with a professional record of 10-0.
Masoud, who is working with Tyson Fury’s former coach Ben Davison, will be facing undefeated rival Jack Bateson on November 11, 2022.
But despite starting to show glimpses of his talent, Masoud’s skills were already on some radars from the minute he turned amateur.
He said: “I have a very good family who are very supportive of my career.
“My dad did push me towards sport due to my talent and I am always grateful for that. When I was younger I turned to amateur and I just loved the sport.”
Masoud increased his pursuit of a boxing career while studying Sports Development at Staffordshire University.
But with many of his university lectures clashing with his training, Masoud was forced to make some tough decisions.
After speaking to his lecturers, it was clear that boxing was his priority.
Masoud continued: “As I got a bit older I went to university where I was doing sports development and coaching, but I was missing lectures and seminars to go to training because I had a talent for it.
“I spoke to my lecturers and they said, ‘You may as well chase your dreams and go after your career. You are clearly motivated you have to chase your dreams’ and I took their advice and it is the best thing I have ever done.”
Masoud struggled to balance his education alongside training and his student budget was not enough, forcing him to work at Asda to support himself before turning professional.
He told The Mirror: “There was a lot of challenges along the way.
“I was working at Asda on the tills to provide for myself during this time but I was also working at university and in the boxing gym.
“Eventually, it came down to what I wanted to do so I quit work and I quit university and turned over as a professional.
“Just follow your heart, money and stuff will come and go and whatever you are meant to earn it is written for you anyway.”
Shabaz Masoud now hopes to follow in the footsteps of Prince Naseem Hamed and Amir Khan as a new wave of British-Asian boxers.
“I used to love Prince Naseem Hamed, Floyd Mayweather, Amir Khan and they were the main ones I looked up too.
“I want to be one of the ones the kids look up to and say ‘I want to be like Maverick’.
“That is one of my biggest aims. I want to be the guy that everyone wants to be hopefully.”
But first, he must take on Jack Bateson, who is also ranked among the top 15 and has his own world title ambitions.
Masoud admitted: “So far this is the biggest fight of my career.
“I know there will be plenty of bigger nights after this one.
“We are both ranked so we could push into the top five or six with a win.
“You just work your way up and I am hoping a title shot can come in the next two years for me.
“I am so focused on this right now but there is some huge fights down the line that I can hope to secure. Enjoy the ride and hopefully, boxing will put some respect on my name after this one.”