Boxer’s driving force
Loss of grandparents motivates Durie’s lad Shahzman
British title challenger spurred on by tragedy
A Rutherglen boy whose grandparents were killed in a bus crash in Saudi Arabia is hoping they will be looking down with pride this weekend as he fights for a British title.
Shahzman Parnez lost granparents Talat and Mohammed Aslam when a minibus they were travelling in crashed in January as they completed a pilgrimage to Mecca and were returning to Medina.
The 12-year-old Durie’s Boxing Club fighter, the current Scottish Champion, will take on the best 52kg fighter from either Wales or England in the GB Three Nations Championship tournament, beginning on Friday.
And when he eventually steps into the ring at Motherwell’s Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility, his coach Archie Durie believes the thoughts of his grandparents will motivate him.
Archie said: “Shahzman will definitely be thinking of them after the tragedy in January.
“They are always in the back of his head when he’s fighting. He’s a very quiet boy and I think the training has helped him, it keeps him focussed.”
Mohammed, 72, and Talat, 62, left behind a large family and five adult children including daughter Saba Parnez, who lives with her husband Zach and three children on Millrig Road. Shazman’s dad Zach says the tragedy changed his family’s lives forever, but he is ever so proud of his son who will get the chance to represent his country.
“He’ll do his grandparents proud,” he said. “He is in great form, he’s ready.
“All the family have been given support since the tragedy and we as parents are only trying to keep them busy with activities and motivation.
“He’s been doing more classes in the gym and it’s good he is keeping busy.”
Shahzman, who will set out to defend his Hull Box Cup champion status next week, won the Scottish Championships for a second successive year in February and also won the Western District competition earlier in the season.
Now he hopes to emulate fellow club member Vicky Glover’s accomplishment after she was crowned British champion in April.
Coach Archie said it would be a great honour to have two British winners at the Cambuslang Road club.
He added: “It would be some achievement, a real honour, but I don’t want to speak too soon.
“The wee man has been different class. He’s been working really hard in the gym for this fight.
“This is the biggest honour in amateur boxing. If he wins, he could be fighting in different countries for bigger titles.”
Family spirit Shahzman Parnez with his family after winning the Western District title earlier in the boxing calendar