BUD­DING FIGHT­ERS CREDIT SPORT­ING MUMS

Tiger mums are of a rare breed, roar­ing on their cubs as they play key roles in their fight­ing ca­reers

New Straits Times - - Opinion - NST deputy sports edi­tor Chan sees life dif­fer­ently af­ter wak­ing up from a coma fol­low­ing a car ac­ci­dent in Van­cou­ver kong­ster@nst.com.my

THEY are not your usual moth­ers who cry and cringe if their sons get beaten up by some­body else.

In fact, ex­pect Afida Ah­mad and Nurhal­iza Ujang to jump up and down on their feet, urg­ing their sons to fight back and clob­ber the ri­vals.

Re­mark­ably, these two women are tiger mums of a rare breed, roar­ing on their cubs as they play key roles in their fight­ing ca­reers.

Coin­ci­den­tally, both their sons are called “Ai­man” and both are from Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan — one is a boxer, the other an MMA (Mixed Mar­tial Arts) fighter.

Ai­man Abu Bakar, 25, is the boxer while Muham­mad Ai­man Raziz Affindi, 22, is the MMA fighter.

Their moth­ers did not frown when the two men de­cided to go into the “fight­ing busi­ness” af­ter leav­ing col­lege. In­stead, the two women pro­vided fi­nan­cial and moral sup­port to start them off.

Ai­man Abu Bakar, who is fast mak­ing a name for him­self as a KO king in the boxing ring, said: “My mum is the sup­port sys­tem of the fam­ily and some­one who drives me on when I’m in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions.”

No­tably, Ai­man’s mum, Afida, is a big fan of Muham­mad Ali, and has en­cour­aged him to “float like a but­ter­fly and sting like a bee” since the age of 7.

Ai­man was a foot­baller with the Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan M-League team be­fore he felt that he was much bet­ter with his fists.

Three years ago, to im­prove his boxing skill, Ai­man went to the land of “Pac­man” (Filipino great Manny Pac­quiao) to set up his base, train and fight.

If you don’t have the heart and courage of Rocky, Manila, which is teem­ing with fe­ro­cious box­ers, is not the place to go. Yet, fear­less and de­ter­mined is Ai­man.

Fight­ing in the year-long Rise of He­roes Cham­pi­onship in the Philip­pines, Ai­man has achieved an amaz­ing record as a pro.

Pack­ing a thun­der­ous right hook that is light­ning quick in floor­ing op­po­nents, he has won all his seven fights so far, two by knock­out, one in the first round, and one in the sec­ond round.

Ai­man, who de­stroyed Filipino Roy Legrada in the very first round in a feath­er­weight bout in Manila last month, says he wants to be­come “a world cham­pion one day”.

In­deed, Malaysia has never seen a puncher like him. He has got the cal­i­bre and char­ac­ter to be a world beater. Hope­fully, he is the Pac­quiao that Malaysian boxing fans have been wait­ing for.

Ai­man is the real deal, and our sports min­istry should be stand­ing in his cor­ner when he fights to put Malaysian boxing on the world map.

At the other end, based in Bali is Muham­mad Ai­man, the Malaysian MMA feath­er­weight cham­pion with true grit.

Known as the “Jun­gle Cat”, Ai­man is de­ter­mined to make a name for him­self in the re­gion’s premier MMA se­ries, the ONE Cham­pi­onship.

The MMA fighter is grate­ful to his mama, Nurhal­iza, for be­liev­ing in his dream, and for her un­wa­ver­ing sup­port through good and bad times.

MMA may be a bru­tal com­bat sport, but that won’t stop Nurhal­iza from sup­port­ing his ca­reer.

“She is like my man­ager... for free,” quipped Ai­man. “Be­fore I could start pay­ing my own way, she was pay­ing for ev­ery­thing for al­most a year — food, flight tick­ets, ho­tels — you name it!” he added.

Un­til to­day, Ai­man is still sur­prised by his mother’s unique char­ac­ter — by things she says or the things she does.

“She has made a lot of sac­ri­fices for me. My mum, she re­ally sur­prises me!,” said Ai­man.

There­fore, both Ai­man Abu Bakar and Muham­mad Ai­man treat ev­ery fight like the mother of all bat­tles, with ev­ery win ded­i­cated to Afida and Nurhal­iza.

Didn’t they say that be­hind ev­ery suc­cess­ful man, there is a woman? For the two Ai­mans, it is cer­tainly “mother knows best”, ma­ter­nal in­stinct, fight­ing in­stinct, and all.

Their moth­ers did not frown when the two men de­cided to go into the ‘fight­ing busi­ness’ af­ter leav­ing col­lege. In­stead, the two women pro­vided fi­nan­cial and moral sup­port to start them off.

(Left) Ai­man Abu Bakar’s mum, Afida Ah­mad, is a big fan of Muham­mad Ali, and has en­cour­aged him to ‘float like a but­ter­fly and sting like a bee’ since the age of 7. (Top) MMA fighter Muham­mad Ai­man Raziz Affindi (sec­ond from right) is grate­ful to his mama, Nurhal­iza Ujang, for be­liev­ing in his dream, and for her un­wa­ver­ing sup­port through good and bad times.

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