Rolling with the punches
> This featherweight boxer is landing knockout blows in the international boxing arena
have to prepare for a competition, I’d travel to the Philippines for my training camp since my manager, matchmaker and coaches are based there. It’s a hard and gruelling three months, but the end result is gratifying.
Knowing how vicious boxing can be, were your parents OK about your joining this industry? They were sceptical at first – considering the nature of the sport and the injuries involved – but I promised them that I would learn boxing earnestly and that I will prevent myself from getting hurt as much as I can.
Which determines a match: skills or strategy? It is said that boxing is 90% mental preparation and 10% skills, and I agree with this. If you’re a skilled fighter, but you’re not psychologically prepared, then you stand a higher chance of losing. When you’re on the rink, mental warfare takes up a huge part of the game and it’s important for you to be heartless. You can’t feel sorry for your opponents because there’s no such thing as a second chance.
What is the lifespan of a professional boxer? As compared to footballers whose career peaks from 17 to 27 years old, ours only truly begin when we hit our 30s. Our early 20s is the time where we learn the game and build a good foundation, whereas the 30s is when you start fighting in the big arena. In fact, 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins is the oldest boxer to win a world championship. So, it’s a bit like life actually – the older we are, the better we get.
If you can spar with anyone in this world, who would you pick? I’d love to fight Manny Pacquiao and Arturo Gatti. The latter, who unfortunately passed away in 2009, was very much a real-life version of Rocky Balboa. Despite being constantly beaten up, he was always victorious.
Winning is his only focus during boxing matches.
He likens himself to a cat because they both have sharp reflexes.
Aiman Abu Bakar is a professional boxer with big dreams.