Jonathan Raymond | December 24, 2013
In last week’s inaugural Thursday Night Fights event on Yas Island – the first professional boxing event in Abu Dhabi – deadline requirements caused us to miss the main event between British-born Yemeni boxer Nasser Al Harbi and Georgian fighter Giorgi Ungiadze.
It was a good fight, too, with both boxers going toe-to-toe for a full eight rounds before Al Harbi was declared winner by unanimous decision.
So we e-mailed Al Harbi, a 24 year old who owns a 16-1-1 record and whose only loss came in a 2012 WBC International light middleweight title fight, to get his impressions of the event.
His responses, below:
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself:
A: I am 24 years old. I am British, born in Birmingham, UK and I am of Yemeni descent. My father was a major boxing fan, and had all the old DVD’s which I watched with him. Hearns, Hagler, Duran and my favourite fighter of all time Leonard. We would also stay up all night to watch Prince Naseem Hamed. At that time he was the man. There will never be another Naz. I started boxing when I was about 11, when I was young I was always getting into fights and loved it. I was always in trouble at school, getting suspended on a regular basis. I was a nightmare for my parents. One day a mate from around the area invited me to go to the gym, and I’d say I was a bit cocky going to the gym, thinking I knew it all. That very day they gave me a 2-round spar with a kid half my size. I was in shock when I got my head beat in and I couldn’t hit the kid at all. I became obsessed with the skill involved and never left the gym from that day. I was a great ameteur, ranked No 2 in the UK, just missing out on a shot to go all the way to the Olympics. In my 11 pro fights I won the WBC International Challenge title right here in Dubai by a 7 round KO. The fans were amazing and I was determined to fight here again one day. I think the UAE fans are great. My record is now 16-1-1. My only defeat came at the hands of (WBC Super Welterweight world No 5 Emanuele) Della Rosa, who may be facing Canelo Alvarez in his next fight.
Q: What were your first impressions of Abu Dhabi and the event itself?
A: Abu Dhabi is an amazing place, and the people are lively fun people, with a great sense of humour. I would live here any day of the week. I thought the promoter Edward (B Mendy) did an amazing job and congratulate him, and take my hat off to him. The event was a brilliant set up.
Q: Describe yourself as a fighter:
A: I’m the real deal, I’m a confident, flashy, fast fighter with skills to burn, great reflexes with a bit of power. The best is yet to come of me in that ring.
Q: Were you satisfied with your fight on Thursday?
A: You know in boxing there is always room for improvement. And I am always critical of my performances because I know the best is yet to come. I was satisfied considering the long lay off I have had outside the ring. But there are always mistakes made, that need to be adjusted.
Q: What was the key for you in your fight?
A: The key in this fight was to use my skills, movement, speed and range against my opponent who was smaller, slower and more compact. I also knew that my opponent could not go punch for punch with me as my work rate is superior to his.
Q: What’s up next for you?
A: There is a possibility I will be back out in the UAE for the IBF Intercontinental title fight against former WBA World Champion Vivian Harris. This is a great step up for me. And I would be honoured to do it all here again in the UAE in front of all these amazing fans.
Q: What are your larger boxing goals?
A: I would love to win the world title, possibly and in different weights, this would be a great achievement. I would also love to become the first boxing PPV attraction in the UAE.
I would just like to say to the UAE people and fans you have been great. And I will be boxing in the UAE regular so please look out for my return. Thanks.