Boxing in Singapore has began to capture some attention in the last few years thanks to a number of shows featuring notable Uzbek prospects. Despite the rise in attention that the country has been having in the boxing world not many home grown fighters have began to get much traction or build a name for themselves. One man looking to change that is unbeaten prospect Hamzah Farouk (4-0, 2), who made his professional debut in February 2017. Earlier this week we were able to have a small interview with Hamzah, talking about his start in boxing and his future in the sport, ahead of his bout this coming weekend.
Asian Boxing - Firstly, professional boxing doesn't have too much of a history in Singapore, what made you pursue the sport as a professional fight?
Hamzah Farouk-Just love. I love boxing more than anything else. And of course, thanks to the few boxers who turned professional before me. They paved the way and showed that it's possible to make something out of being a professional fighter and leaving a mark on the world boxing scene, even though Singapore does not have much history in professional boxing. So I decided, why not try to achieve something in the sport that I love so much.
AB-On a similar theme, what, if any, amateur experience did you have before making your professional debut last year?
HF-I was fighting in the amateurs from 2005, right up to 2012. I was also 4 time national champion during that time. However, I never had the chance to go to the South East Asian games as the stars were never aligned. But I did represent the country in other regional and international competitions such as the King's Cup in Bangkok, and some invitational competitions in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Laos, and Malaysia.
AB-Likewise what attracted you to boxing in the first place?
HF-My dad. He loved the sport, and he was always watching VCRs of his hero Muhammad Ali and some of the great fighters of his generation. I would watch along with him and I remember seeing Ali win the Heavyweight title for the first time against Sonny Liston, and they interviewed him after the fight. I remember him saying how he was a "bad man" and how he "shook up the world". Seeing his triumph gave me goosebumps even as a 5-year-old and I knew that was what I wanted to do. Oh and of course, the Rocky movies.
AB- Do you have any favourite fighters to watch, or anyone you were a big fan of?
HF-So many of them! Currently some of my favourite active fighters to watch include Jorge Linares, Vasyl Lomachenko, Naoya Inoue, Terence Crawford, Dimitri Bivol, just to name a few.
As for favourite boxers of the past, there are too many to name. But notable ones I would always watch are Ricardo Lopez, Johnny Tapia, Oscar de la Hoya, and Juan Manual Marquez. Of course the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali.
AB-Could you describe your style for fans who haven't had the opportunity to see you in the ring? Is there anyone you'd maybe compared yourself to?
HF-Smooth boxing - that’s what I would call my style. Keeping it smooth, and in control. I can box from the outside, but I can also fight on the inside if I need to. A smooth puncher who uses his IQ more than his physical attributes.
Not anyone in particular. I study a lot of fighters and try to incorporate some of their moves into my game. I mix it all up, and create my own style.
AB-We know you're back in action on May 5th, what do you know about your opponent Samson Elnino?
HF-I've watched some of his fights on YouTube and I don't see anything he brings that could be a threat to me. However I do know he is experienced and he's got 16 professional victories, so I am not taking anything lightly this Saturday. I plan to box to my best ability and may God protect us both in the ring.
AB-Is there any plans for your next bout after the one with Samson?
HF-No plans at the moment as I’m staying focused for Saturday and not thinking ahead of that.
AB-Could you talk us through your team please?
HF-I am currently signed to Golden Glove Asia Promotions, who are promoting me and taking my career to the top.
I have my Strength and Conditioning (SnC) coach, Dzul, who was also the SnC coach for the Singapore Silat Federation.
I have my boxing coaches, Chouib Kabbab – who has been in boxing for his entire life – and Syakir Farouk – who is my brother and has been working with me since the start of my professional career.
Also, the good people at The Ring Boxing Community, led by founder Mr. Ruchdi Hajjar, who provided me a boxing home when I had nowhere to train
AB-What are your aspirations in boxing?
HF-I plan to win a regional title first and take it from there one step at a time. My ultimate end game is to perhaps fight in Las Vegas one day. I don't expect to headline any shows there but to have just 1 fight there would be a dream come true for me.
I hope to leave some kind of good impression on the world boxing scene and pave the way for other Singaporeans and maybe inspire them to do the same, just like how the ones before me have done so for me.
AB- Do you have any messages for the fans reading this?
HF-Do follow my career as we progress through the ranks, one fight at a time. I work hard everyday as I firmly believe hard work, sacrifice, and discipline pays off. I hope anyone reading this can give me your support as it would mean the world to my team and our cause.
I believe we are all fighting our own battles and have adversities to overcome. But keep the faith and continue working towards your goals and never give up no matter what happens, like a naive child untainted by limiting beliefs. Stay positive and believe in yourself that you can do it. I sincerely hope we all make something out of this life, and achieve what we set out to do. I look forward to seeing more of you at my fights, and keep a lookout for me to make a splash in boxing real soon!
AB-Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions
HF-Thanks very much
We'd like to wish Hamzah good luck for his up coming bout bout against Samson Elnino (16-17-3, 5), this coming Saturday from Singapore and thank him and his team for taking time out of their schedule to take part in this interview.
Not sure this needs to be explained! But here are out interviews with fighters!