Queensberry Unveil Another Trio Of Young Prospects

On the back of announcing a new series of prospect-centric shows to air on BT Sport and for free on the BT Sport Boxing YouTube page, Queensberry are unhappy to unveil another trio of new young signings hoping to impress and forge impressive pro careers. This follows yesterdays trio of new signings – Macauley Owen, Callum Thompson and Junaid Bostan.

Today’s signings can be confirmed as Khalid Ali, Frank Arnold and Arnold Obodai.

For more information on each, read on.

KHALID ALI

REPTON BOXING CLUB graduate Khalid Ali is set to turn professional having signed a promotional agreement with Frank Warren and Queensberry.

The welterweight, who is nearly 20, hails from the heart of Brick Lane in London and is trained in Bethnal Green by Roger Hunt – a nephew of former world champion Maurice Hope – and his own father, Wolid.

“The fans can expect someone strong and confident,” pointed out Khalid, by way of an introduction. “I want to be the best out of the young crop. Frank signs a lot of young people and amateur stars and I want to prove I am one of the best.

“This is a fabulous opportunity for myself and it is great for my community. Hamzah Sheeraz, his father and the whole team, helped me get this opportunity and I am so grateful. I cannot wait to showcase my skills.”

Khalid is following in his father’s footsteps, who was also a product of the Repton and steeped in the sport.

“I started off at Newham ABC when I was eight or nine and had my first four amateur fights from there. In my fourth fight I fought a multi-national champion and lost, due to being cocky! After that I had a bit of a gap year and trained in my dad’s gym, working with top pros to learn my trade.

“When I was 15 I went to Repton and had around 25 fights, losing something like five. I won the Londons, boxed for England and suffered a bad decision in the Haringey finals. I was on the same amateur team as Dennis McCann, Adan Mohamed, Henry Turner and all the other Repton boys.

“My father is a boxing man and has been in the game since he was 16. He used to be at Repton when he was younger and always said to the coaches that he would bring his son down eventually. My dad is one of the most important people in my boxing career and has taught me so much, everything really.”

Khalid states that his style of fighting is anything but basic, but insists he did not model himself on the obvious Asian inspirations. In fact, he might well be one of a kind in being a Bengali turning professional in boxing.

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“Oh yeah, I am flashy! I also hit hard and look good as well. It just comes naturally, I watch fights but I don’t try to be like anyone. I think some fighters watch Prince Naseem too much and want to be like him instead of being themselves.

“As far as I am aware, I will be one of the first British Bengalis to be signed by Frank Warren. Hopefully I can inspire other kids because loads of Bengali kids are good and just don’t get the opportunity.

“Naseem was the first to inspire Asian kids, Amir Khan was the second and Hamzah will be the third. Hopefully I will help other Bengali kids to turn professional and be successful,” added Khalid, who will get to launch his professional journey in early 2021.

“I am always in the gym. I just need six weeks to turn up the oven and I will be ready to go.”

FRANK ARNOLD

SUPER FEATHERWEIGHT PROSPECT Frank Arnold has signed promotional terms with Frank Warren to fight under the Queensberry banner.

The 22-year-old from Hackney holds a record of seven wins, with one draw, having made his professional debut in December 2017 at York Hall. Arnold is trained by Gareth Lawrence and managed by Tunde Ajayi.

“I am pretty happy, yeah, and it is my first big opportunity,” said Arnold, who trains in Lakeside, West Thurrock. “I am 100 per cent buzzing to get started.

“Back in the amateurs I only had 15 fights. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t dedicated, but I wasn’t all there. I boxed in the national finals and turned pro because my brother was doing it at the time.

“It has been slow and steady so far, but I didn’t have the right people with me at first to get me going, like the right promoter. This will be a springboard for me, I have been sparring with good people and now I want to get in there with them.”

Parental guidance pushed Arnold towards the gym while growing up and, in his case, it wasn’t love at first fight, although he indicates a preference for getting stuck in these days.

“My dad and mum forced me to go and I didn’t really like boxing. After a couple of years I did like it after only sticking with it because my brother was going.

“I can box on the back foot, but I am mainly aggressive. I think I punch hard, although my knockout count says otherwise. Hopefully I will get a fight in August and show people what I can do.”

ARNOLD OBODAI

TWO-time National amateur champion Arnold Obodai has signed a promotional contract with Queensberry.

The Londoner gave up a promising basketball career in the United States and could have been playing in the NBA, but for his boxing love affair.

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“I played college basketball in North Carolina, but I was torn between that and boxing. I picked boxing because I don’t have to rely on team-mates,” said the athletic Cruiserweight who was awarded a collegiate scholarship.

“In boxing it’s down to the individual. You either crumble or rise to the occasion. I will never let myself down.

“I got a basketball scholarship and perhaps I could have gone on to play in the NBA where some of my mates are.

“One of my best mates Rayjon Tucker plays for Philadelphia 76ers and another friend Bam Adebayo is with the Miami Heat.

“You can make it as an individual in the NBA, but your team also carries you in a way. In boxing the pressure is on you.

“You can have an exceptional basketball game, but if your team-mates don’t play as good as you, then you can still lose and it takes away how well you played.”

Obodai took up boxing, aged 19, when he returned home from the USA in what he expected to be a brief visit.

Obodai who often spars with close friend Lawrence Okolie, the WBO World Cruiserweight champion explained: “There was an issue with some documents when I was in the United States.

“When I came back to England to sort out the issue too much time had lapsed to go back and do collegiate and basketball.

“I decided it was too late and put all my eggs in one basket and that is boxing.”

While boxing in the world famous Repton ABC vest, Obodai won a NABC title and the Class B 91kg+ crown at the National Development Championships in 2018.

Obodai who will trains under Will Jones hopes to make his debut next month after injury wrecked his Olympic dream.

He added: “My heart isn’t in the amateurs anymore so this is the right time to turn professional.

“I had a goal that I wanted to achieve and go to the Olympics, but I ruptured my Achilles in early 2019 and that didn’t allow me to do that.

“When I had the injury I looked at the time frame and my age so I decided to turn professional.

“I am still a baby in boxing terms, but if I waited until the 2024 Olympics I would be nearly 28.

“I am ambitious, don’t mind the pressure and I want the world. But, I am young. I don’t want to rush and I’ve only been boxing five years.

“As long as I do what I need to do and do things right we can start looking at belts in 18 months, but who knows what can happen or how soon.”


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