Adil Anwar, the Leeds boxer known as The Platinum Kid, is the early favourite for Saturday night's Prizefighter Light Welterweights, sponsored by Betfair. Seemed we should go to Leeds to meet him and find out more . . .
Hi Adil, and good luck for Saturday.
I know I can't wait, It's a big opportunity for me.
How did you first start boxing?
As a youngster I got into a dilemma with a kid at school and my cousin had to step in. He got suspended from school, and my dad thought it would be good as something for me for self defence. It was something he wanted to put me in anyway - my grandad was a professional gymnast and he used to do boxing in the army in Pakistan, so had always wanted somebody from the family to do it. My uncles had always been into mixed martial arts, so he took me into Martin Bateson's gym and that's how I got started.
So what made you like it?
Really it was Martin's method of training. He was an open character and we bonded straight away. He taught me a lot of the tricks I do now. He was a fantastic coach and still has an influence. I turned pro with his older brother Mark Bateson, so they both keep on top of me.
Who were your sporting heroes?
As a boy it was Prince Naseem, he was a fantastic entertainer as well as a great fighter. Then when I was on team GB it was Amir Khan, because obviously he got selected for the Olympics and he was inspirational.
So Khan was a hero then, but is he in your sights to fight one day?
It could be down the line, but certainly not right now. Eventually, I've got aspirations to fight for world titles like he has done, and he is still a great inspiration to me. Seeing him as a boy from Bolton, somebody who was there at the time I was, to excel at that stage it shows you can do it. I suppose we have similar family backgrounds because my family is from Pakistan as well. But more important than where they are from is that like him I am blessed with a supportive family, and we have both been helped along the way both financially and morally.
What was the highlight of your amateur career?
I suppose in 2004 and 2005 when I won the Junior ABAs and then went on to get picked for Team GB, and also to box for Young England versus Italy. Then, unfortunately, I was in a car accident which knocked me off course completely. I dislocated my shoulder and it put me out of boxing for more than a year, and then I had to start all over again. But it did make me realise just how much I loved the sport, and it gave me that fire to make a success of myself. They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I think that year was good for my character. I thought: 'I want to make a name for myself'.
You're on the way because you are now English welterweight champion. Why enter Prizefigher as a light welterweight?
Because it's the division with the most talent, by far the most competitive division at the moment. I want to prove myself. Prizefighter can open doors for me.
You've been working with Ricky Hatton. Tell us about that.
Yes, I've been going down to Matthew Hatton's camp, training with him and a few of the other lads there.
And how has that helped you?
It's been excellent to work with top people. Matthew is quite a forward fighter, and he brings the pressure on to you, so it's been good to learn that from him and some of the other good boxers there. But also the big thing is they've got the heated lights in the gym. Until you fight on TV you don't realise but the spotlights are quite hot. When I fought for the English title it was new to me, and I thought 'wow, this is really hot'. Thankfully I still managed to knock James Flinn out in the eighth round, but being able to get used to those spotlights, and the pressure a fight brings on, has been really helpful since then and I think that will stand me in good stead on Saturday.
That should help for three fights in Prizefighter then?
Definitely. I'm ready, and to be honest with you I've never felt more ready for anything in my life.
That's good news for our punters who have made you favourite.
I heard that. I saw a tweet by Barry Hearn this morning. It's pretty impressive - but what matters is Saturday night. I feel good. I took the fight for the English title at four days notice and was probably only 60 per cent fit. If I could do that, just imagine what I can do when I've been preparing for six weeks. It's going to be an explosive night but it's going to be my night - Platinum Night.
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