Magnificent Seven: The Nassa family set sights on boxing stardom

The Nassa brothers with dad, Ariff
The Nassa brothers with dad, Ariff
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Two of them have already made their professional debuts, but in the future there could be seven of them. Say hello to seven special siblings aiming to break boxing records - the Nassa family.

Ramzy, 21, and his 19-year-old brother Pharys turned professional earlier this year and won their first two fights, at the city’s Octagon Centre.

They each have another fight lined up for September - and cheering them on back home in Broomhill are four more brothers, and a sister, with boxing aspirations of their own. Loua, 18, will turn pro in September, alongside a biomedical sciences degree at Sheffield Hallam University.

Hakeem, 17, and Raed, 16, are following in their brothers’ boxing footsteps whilst completing their studies, at varying levels, at Tapton School.

And the ‘babies’ of the family - Zane, 8, and daughter Sama, 3, are also showing a keen interest in the sport, despite their tender age.

“Boxing is in the blood,” explained dad Ariff, who began coaching Ramzy and Pharys at home from the age of four.

“My dad moved from the Yemen in 1956 and became an amateur boxing over here. I then became known as ‘the boxer boy’s son,’ and decided to take up kick boxing.

“I didn’t want my kids doing what I did, though, and I always wanted to raise a family of boxers.

“When they got to about three or four years old, I started taking them for jogs and little sprints. Then they started putting the boxing gloves on at home to do a bit of pad work and we have never looked back.”

Ramzy and Pharys trained at Sheffield Lane Top ABS before switching to Firth Park seven years ago. There, they are coached by Keith Palmer and have signed up with Sheffield manager and promoter Dennis Hobson.

They currently train six hours each day ahead of their upcoming bouts - but, as Ariff insists, family still always comes first.

“Of course competition is what drives these boys,” he said.

“Which is a good thing, because they are always wanting to better each other. That is the only way they are going to move forward.

“But first and foremost they are brothers, and they all work together to help each other out. They get along like best friends.”

Ramzy added: “We must be the most competitive family in the UK! But there isn’t a rivalry between me and Pharys, or any of us. We are family, so we want the best for each other.

“I see other boxers in the gym who only have themselves to lean on, but we all have each other. So if one of us is struggling, there are four of us to support him. We are always together.”

Ariff, who owns a newsagents on Worrall Road, believes his family are set to break all manner of boxing records - but insists they will stay apart in the ring.

“This family really is something very special and they know exactly what they want to do - get to the top in both boxing and education,” he said.

“I definitely think the children will make world champions - they are good enough. Hopefully records will be broken and they want to show the world how good they are.

“But they will never fight against each other. No matter how much money we are offered, we would never do that. They are brothers and it is just not right. There are enough belts out there to go for different ones.”

The proud father’s two youngest children, with wife Afrah, may also follow in the boxing legacy.

“The two little ones love watching their brothers train and box in the back yard and always want to get involved,” Afrah said.

“At the moment Zane goes to athletics just to get his speed up and he does boxing at home and loves it.

“But ultimately it will be up to him - I want him to choose what he does in the future.

“And you never know - we may have a female boxing champion there, with Sama.

“This family have all worked incredibly hard to get where we are today and we will continue to do so. They all can achieve wonderful ambitions and it’s so unique that all of them are so talented.

“I couldn’t be more proud.”