Dewsbury boxer Saif Cheema is plotting a route to the top as he moves into the paid ranks of professional boxing tomorrow night (Friday).
Cheema makes his professional debut when he faces Wrexham’s Paul Lovell at the North Bridge Leisure Centre in Halifax and he is already setting his sights on reaching the very top.
Cheema boasted a 42 fight amateur career, which saw him win an impressive 36 bouts, but the KBW boxer he admits he almost quit the sport.
Cheema said: “I was thinking of quitting and thought my boxing career was coming to an end when I got a call out of the blue from matchmaker Jason McClory.
“We sat down and he said he had heard good things about me and was keen to see what I was all about.”
McClory has strong links to Frank Warren and Cheema hopes to impress and earn a shot at the boxing big time.
The Dewsbury lad added: “I’ve always had a dream to become world champion. I know I’m definitely better than British level and now I have the platform to go for it.”
Lovell made his own pro debut in September, when he suffered a points defeat to Durham’s Terry Tyas in Hartlepool and Cheema knows it won’t be an easy opening bout.
He added: “He will be a lively opponent and I know I will have to be on my A game but I have trained hard and I am confident, that whoever I was put in against on Friday, I will win.”
Cheema has sold around 100 tickets for his debut fight and is determined to put on a good show before quickly building his career.
Cheema said: “I will look to get this fight out of the way and I want to be back in the ring in the new year.
“I want to be looking at six or seven fights next year and the year after be ready for a shot at titles.
“I have looked up to Gary Sykes and saw him win his British title in Dewsbury and I remember thinking I want that to be me one day.
“Gary has supported by throughout my amateur career and has offered me some good advice.”
Cheema will continue to box out of the KBW gym in Savile Town, where he has been based for his entire amateur career and many of his clubmates will make the short trip to Halifax to cheer their man on against Lovell tomorrow.
Cheema fought his final amateur bout on the KBW’s home show in May and after seventh months hard preparation, he is now ready to step into the paid ranks.
Cheema added: “KBW is like a family gym to me. My brother, Shammy, has given me some great advice and has been so supportive, making sure I’m happy and feel comfortable with my training and has made sure I’ve got everything I need and he’s like a sponsor to me.”