Sheffield’s Waleed Din resurrects his boxing career on Saturday - aiming to manoeuvre himself back towards title contention.
The 23-year-old flyweight’s world turned upside down when he lost a Commonwealth title fight to Thomas Essomba at the Magna in October. This weekend he returns there hoping to get back on the title trail, against Bulgarian Stefan Slavchev.
If the Fir Vale fighter wins, promoter Dennis Hobson plans to drop him to ‘minimum weight’ and will seek an eliminator on the road to fighting their top target Hekkie Budler, the WBA and IBO champion from South Africa.
Hobson said: “The idea is to get Waleed back on the winning trail on Saturday and get him back up the ladder.
“Waleed weighed in seven stone 11 pounds while Essomba, a naturally bigger man, had ballooned up to over eight and a half stone - and Waleed knows he would have done better if the two had been the same weight. Fighters learn from defeats - I’ve seen it happen with Clinton Woods, Lewis Taylor and Sam Sheedy, who benefited from the experience no matter how tough they found it at the time. Waleed is one of the figure-heads of our stable and he will be a high calibre performer in the future.”
While Saturday’s show has been hit by withdrawals, there are still 10 fights on offer, some offering a glimpse of what Sheffield boxing will look like in the future.
Hobson said: “There are some who I hope and expect to go a long way, boxers like Kyle Yousaf, Leon Field and Tom Bell.”
n Amir Khan’s father Shah has given his version of why his son chose Saúl Álvarez over Kell Brook for his next fight, (Las Vegas May 7.)
He said: “Amir has never ducked anybody, he deserves big fights. The (Brook) fight is always there, it can happen. Eddie (Hearn, Brook’s promoter) gave Amir some numbers and then he didn’t deliver.”
Legendary US trainer Freddy Roach added Khan “was offered Brook and Brook would be a great win but I don’t think Brook’s as good as this opponent. I think he (Amir) would’ve been better off fighting Kell Brook, he’d be a bigger star in his home country.”