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.

By Bob Westerdale
Tuesday, 02 April, 2019, 11:56
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.

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."

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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.