Sheffield boxer wants to make British-Pakistani cultural history in the ring

Atif Shafiq in victory
Atif Shafiq in victory
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Atif Shafiq says he wants to create history for himself and the sporting union of Britain and Pakistan.

He wants to become the first British lightweight champion who comes from his cultural background.

The Ingle fighter - who sparred Josh Warrington to help him prepare for last month’s IBF featherweight title conquest - put himself on the national radar when he stopped fellow Rotherham fighter Lee Appleyard in five rounds in March - he’d knocked the experienced favourite down three times.

Now he has his eyes on the British title. “By the end of the year I wants to be the first British-Pakistani ever to have won that” he says. “I was born in Britain but obviously I am of Pakistani descent.

“I would love to put my name in the history books” he told IFL TV.

Shafiq, 24, says he’d like the name of Scott Cardell on his resume - the Lancashire fighter is a former British champion, beaten for the title by geordie Lewis Ritson in March.

Atif Shafiq spars with Josh Warrington

Atif Shafiq spars with Josh Warrington

That’s the pedigree of fighter he’d like to face as he tries to make his dream come true.

He says his own abilities have been “propelled to a different level” by training with the likes of Kell Brook, Kid Galahad and Jason Quigley.

“My performances will get better and better and I will continue to step up to the plate” he said.

He said that, on paper, he had managed only five stoppages out of 19 wins but stressed: “I know I can puck a punch.

“Once they (rivals like Appleyard) get in there they feel the power and the shock but it’s too late, they are not prepared, and get took out.”

Appleyard started his comeback from the defeat to Shafiq with a win on the Kell Brook v Siarhei Rabchanka bill at Sheffield.

Earlier this month, he outpointed Slovakian Ivan Godor at Doncaster Dome and said he hopes to become a two weight champion by taking the English super lightweight strap.

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