Boxing: Clever Shafiq bides his time

Atif Shafiq and Michael Mooney after their contest
Atif Shafiq and Michael Mooney after their contest
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Atif Shafiq knows the value of a good education - but is prepared to put it on hold, while he graduates in the ring.

The Rotherham lightweight has A-levels in Chemistry, Biology, Psychology and Physical Education.

Atif Shafiq unleashes a powerful punch

Atif Shafiq unleashes a powerful punch

And he has an eye on further education, but only after establishing himself in boxing, first.

On May 10, he fights on the Kid Galahad undercard at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge, and hopes to take his unbeaten record to 11.

“I have A levels but hopefully I won’t need them any time soon,” he says.

“Once I retire from boxing hopefully that’s something I can go back to and I can go to University any time. I’ve had 10 fights and I’m only 20 years old, so it’s great experience I’m getting - it’s invaluable.”

Shafiq believes he is maturing well at the Ingle gym.

“I felt really good last time out and my opponent (light welter Michael Mooney) had about half a stone on me,” he said.

“It was another good learning experience and now I know that when I do fight someone my own weight it will be more comfortable and natural.

“I’m feeling really confident ahead of May 10 - I’ve had some great sparring with the likes of Kid Galahad, Leigh Wood, Jordan Gill, Sam O’maison, Samir Mouneimne, from Hull; a lot of variety.

“I’ve been doing a lot of strength and conditioning and can feel myself filling out. Every time I go into a fight I’m feeling more mature as a fighter. I’ve got great support; they’re turning out every fight so I’m really grateful to them all.”

*Tyson Fury believes Galahad is “ready for anyone” in the super bantam division. Ahead of Galahad’s clash against Aussie champion Fred Mundraby for the vacant Commonwealth title, Tyson, said: “I’ve backed him from the beginning. He’s the unbeaten former WBC International, British and European champion and I’m sure that on May 10 he’ll become the Commonwealth super bantamweight champion as well.”

Galahad, 24, is on the brink of a world title opportunity and recently called out Bury’s WBA world champion Scott Quigg. Tyson, 25, believes the Sheffielder has what it takes to go all the way. “If he fights Quigg he beats him” Tyson said. “Quigg’s a come forward fighter and Barry’s a good boxer -a good boxer always beats a come forward fighter.”

Tickets for the Kid Galahad fight at Ponds Forge, on May 10, start at £35. Call 0114 223 3777.