Sheffield nudges ahead of Leeds in the battle of the boxing ring

Sheffield and Leeds are currently engaged in fierce competition across the sporting spectrum - but in the boxing ring South Yorkshire has edged ahead.

Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 11:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 4:39 pm
Razaq Najib and Ryan Rhodes

Last weekend, a rare Sheffield United home defeat saw Leeds United climb back into second place. It promises to be neck and neck into the final Championship straight.

While in the fight-game, the world is awaiting Wincobank's Kid Galahad to trade leather with Elland Road favourite and IBF king Josh Warrington.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheffield super bantamweight Razaq Najib has now fired the city ahead of their West Yorks rival, outpointing previously-unbeaten Zahid Hussain in a Commonwealth eliminator, at Rotherham.

Najib, of Park Hill, said: "It was a great learning experience and a close fight (96-94.) Some of the Leeds fans in the crowd thought the decision was wrong and they played up a bit. But most people said I deserved the win and now I'm hoping Galahad will do the same. I think he has got the skill to beat Warrington."

Najib is now in line for a tilt at Commonwealth champion Ashley Lane, from Bristol. If he wins Sheffield will have two such champions - Tommy Frank has the belt at super flyweight.

The Ryan Rhodes-trained fighter, who now has 10 wins and two defeats on his CV, said he'd wobbled Hussain in the early rounds.

"I was a bit immature then, I had hurt him and rushed everything. He was just holding and hugging me and I should have done better getting out of there. When it got to rounds nine and ten Ryan told me: 'You have got to win these rounds' and I picked it up.

"I felt wicked at the end, people said I could have gone another 10 rounds. I'd give him a re-match because I am not one to duck and dive opponents.

“But my priority is that Commonwealth title," said the former English featherweight contender.