Opportunity knocks for Sheffield boxer

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Atif Shafiq plans a spectacular 21st birthday in January.

It’s not a party he has got in mind - although judging by his growing fan club there would be no shortage of guests.

Atif Shafiq v Michael Stupart 20/09/14

Atif Shafiq v Michael Stupart 20/09/14

It is more to do with moving on to high-profile fights and titles.

Shafiq added to his burgeoning reputation last weekend, when he stopped Michael Stupart in 93 seconds, at Ponds Forge, on the undercard of Kid Galahad’s bill.

The Sheffield fighter was elated with his 13th straight win and third KO.

His left hooks had done the damage, and speaking on video at thestar.co.uk, he said: “I had to be careful but once I got my shots off...

“I missed over the top a few times so I thought best to take it under and I landed and I heard him wince and I knew, that’s all she wrote!

“It was scheduled for six rounds, hopefully next time we’ll get somebody a bit more durable and take me the rounds.”

Shafiq wants an eight rounder next. “I will be 21 in January and once I’ve done that eight rounds I’ll be ready for anyone. It has been steady over the last 12 months, I feel, good, ready, I am maturing and I am on a good diet.

“I know what weight I am going to be boxing at and I’m ready for anyone down at super feather next year.”

The Ingle fighter says he has has had “plenty of fights and ring experience” but accepts he has to step up now, in terms of opponents.

“Fans have been asking for the stoppages; they are coming now” he said.

Safiq’s happinness over how own boxing progress is tempered by sadness over Jerome Wilson, still in hospital after a head injury a week and a half ago.

“I know Jerome, he’s a very nice guy, there are good signs though, he is responding so that’s good news. hopefully he will be on the mend in no time.”

* Sheffield’s Kid Galahad (Abdul-Bari Awad) has won the ‘Young Boxer of the Year’ award

The 24-year-old has snared British, Commonwealth and European titles and secured the IBF World Youth belt last Saturday when beating Adeilson Dos Santos at Ponds Forge Arena, live on Channel 5. The win took his professional record to 18-0 (9 KOs).

“This is a great honour for Kid Galahad and it’s richly deserved,” said promoter Mick Hennessy. “He has won British, Commonwealth and European titles in the space of three fights and has truly established himself as one of the very best super-bantamweights in the world. It’s now only a matter of time before he becomes a world champion.

“This award is also testament to the great job Channel 5 and MaxiNutrition have done with Kid Galahad. There are other top super-bantamweights in this country, of course, but, thanks to Channel 5, Galahad has been the one fighting regularly on terrestrial television. As such, his fights have been going out to a bigger audience. Channel 5 have backed him, they’ve believed in him and now everything is coming to fruition.

“It’s a victory for all of us. There are exciting times ahead for Kid Galahad.”

This year Galahad has beaten Brazilian Dos Santos, Australian Fred Mundraby and Spaniard Sergio Prado. Along the way, he has barely lost a round. At the end of this year he hopes to meet either Scott Quigg or Carl Frampton.