Anwar aiming to win fights and hearts

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ALL eyes will be on Sheffield this weekend as Kell Brook, the city’s long-awaited successor to Naseem Hamed, squares up to Matthew Hatton in a welterweight battle that has been dubbed the ‘War of the Roses’.

Switch 30 miles west of the Steel City, though, and an up-and-coming fighter from Leeds is determined to show that Brook is not the only man flying the flag for the white rose of Yorkshire.

Having won Sky’s light-welterweight Prizefighter series last month, Adil Anwar is quickly establishing himself as one of the most genuine prospects in the country with a 16-1 record.

Already the English champion, a British title eliminator with Lenny Daws is likely to follow next, with Anwar’s short-term goal being the dethroning of current domestic king Ashley Theophane.

Although a bout with Daws has yet to be confirmed, Anwar is training as if that will be his next fight and, having introduced the nation to his burgeoning talent last month, he is keen to ensure momentum is not lost.

“Ashley was definitely watching Prizefighter,” Anwar, known as the ‘Platinum Kid’, told Press Association Sport.

“It’s a shame he didn’t attend as it would have been interesting to ask him directly for the fight.

“Ashley hasn’t been very positive towards me and I wonder whether he will step-up and take on a new, dynamic style of boxing. I doubt it, he’s too career-driven.

“Credit to him, he has achieved things and worked hard. But he does not have a risk-taking nature. I am too risky for him.

“But I am hot on his tail and even hotter on the tail of getting that British title belt wrapped around my waist.”

Anwar cites Amir Khan and Hamed amongst his boxing idols and, in his first televised appearance at the Prizefighter event, their influences on his style were obvious.

Fleet of foot and with his self-made ‘Platinum shuffle’ at his disposal, he believes seeing off Daws to clear the way for a shot at Theophane, as tipped by Prizefighter chief and leading promoter Eddie Hearn, will be a formality.

“Lenny knows what I have to offer and he can’t hide from me,” Anwar added.

“I am not the most orthodox of boxers and I bring a flair and unique style. But he knows this, and that’s why he has avoided me.

“I don’t see him as a threat and, once I’ve beaten him, the British title, something I have dreamed of since I was a child, will be on my radar.”

While Anwar was not considered to be the tightest of the eight fighters in the Prizefighter ring, he secured the £32,000 winner’s cheque by combining explosive power with nippy movement, with few of his opponents able to lay a glove on him.

And although that may not be possible back in the 12-round format, Anwar believes his style can take him far.

“I want to prove in the long term that I have more than just boxing ability,” he said.

“I pride myself on my explosive nature, raw talent and ability to exploit my opponents’ weaknesses. That comes naturally to me.”

Anwar’s ascent up the rankings has not just brought him to the wider attention of his home city either, with interest in him starting to brew stateside.

But rather than be intimidated by his new-found fame, Anwar is embracing it in the hope that even more is to follow.

“Up until Prizefighter, I had been training solidly but then an explosion of interest came. I am still training, but now I am getting called into meetings, events, speaking with my agent and barely have time to relax.

“One minute I am in the gym, the next I am doing an interview at 1am with the media in America. It’s just incredible and very motivating. This is what I was born to do. Win fights, win hearts and make a difference.”