Boxing is a gruelling and ruthlessly-tough business where the majority of fighters train hard for little money and compete in unglamorous small hall shows.
So a sense of humour is almost as important as a punch bag and gloves.
Take Sheffield’s Waleed Din. At 22-years-old he’s has been fast-tracked after seven fights for the chance of a lifetime fight on Saturday at the Magna Centre. He is a super-fit athlete but he has had to work hard for six years for his chance to win his shot at the Commonwealth flyweight title against tough African Thomas Essomba.
But at a pre-fight press conference Din was confident enough to crack a joke ahead of the 12-round contest. Asked about how he sees the fight developing, Din replied: “It’s a win. Whatever it takes. If I have to kick him when the referee is not looking I’ll do it.”
The victor on the Dennis Hobson headliner should see doors opening towards the ultimate goal: to secure world class opposition and opportunities.
Din, who has done the hard yards with trainer Keith Palmer since he was 16, has been fast-tracked for the assault on honours in a division not over-loaded with lots of quality combatants. Essomba, 27 certainly is pedigree fighter.
A Cameroonian who, like Sheffield Boxing Centre’s Serge Ambomo, settled here after fleeing the 2012 London Olympics beat Din in amateurs. “He can have that one” says Din. “But over 12 rounds, I am going to break him down and take him out.”
Essombo’s Sunderland-based trainer Phil Jeffries regards the battle as a “genuine 50-50” and has made it clear they intend to take the belt up to the north east. But Palmer, while acknowledging the pair were the best two flyweight prospects in this country, said Din was a “proper athlete” who was mentally and physically 100% prepared for victory.
Chief support on the packed 13-fight bill is Sheffield’s Liam Cameron v George Beroshvilli, from Georgia.
Beroshvilli was stopped by Martin Murray in his last fight in the UK.
Cameron promised “there will be no prisoners, I am going to try and take the kids head off.”
Flyweight Waleed Din v Thomas Essomba, for vacant Commonwealth flyweight title.
Super Middleweight Liam Cameron v George Beroshvili from Georgia
Featherweight Muheeb Fazeldin v Dmitrijs Gutmans of Latvia
Super Bantamweight Tom Bell v Ricky Leach
Super Featherweight Razaq Najib v Russ Midgley
Super Middleweight Andy White v Haidar Sadik
Super Flyweight Kyle Yousaf v Gary Reeve
Super Bantamweight Ramzy Nassa v Sergey Tasimov
Light Heavyweight Kevin Skill v Jason Jones
Heavyweight Christian Kinsiona v James Oliphant
Welterweight Leon Field v Jason Nesbitt
Cruiserweight Darren Snow v Rolandas Cesna
Super Bantamweight Nathan McGarry v Anwar Alfadli