British-born Bangladeshi boxer Al Safwan Uddin advanced to the second round of the 29th Senior Men's Boxing Championships by knocking out Kamruzzaman Jonny in the first of three rounds of their 60kg weight category bout, on the opening day of the competition, at the Muhammad Ali Boxing Stadium yesterday.
Though the young pugilist is under the age limit, Safwan was afforded the opportunity to participate in the national boxing championships and compete against his seniors. Jonny, from Dinajpur DSA, was knocked down twice before being ultimately knocked out within the three-minute first round and left the ring with his nose still bleeding.
Safwan is now set to face Faisal Mollah of Bangladesh Army in a semifinal match today.
After communicating with the Bangladesh Amateur Boxing Federation (BABF), Safwan and his father Joblu Uddin arrived in Bangladesh a week ago to compete in the national championships in hopes of drawing the federation's attention so that he may represent Bangladesh at an international level.
“Safwan, who is 18 plus, is not eligible to compete against senior boxers according to the laws but we gave him the opportunity to see him in the ring. In the first game he did well but we will be able to judge him tomorrow [Friday] when he takes on a boxer from services team,” BABF general secretary MA Kuddus Khan said yesterday.
“We want to keep hope on Safwan because his style of play is good and he can be a good boxer if good training is provided,” Khan continued. “If Safwan does well in the national championships, then we will call him in the national team's trial for the 2019 SA Games.”
Khan might even consider sending Safwan to the Kings Cup Boxing Championship in Thailand this June if the youngster impresses at this national championship.
SA Games gold medallist Abdur Rahim saw Safwan in the ring and termed him a good boxer with good techniques and a strong punch but opined that he needs advanced training to compete at the top level.
BKSP coach-cum-judge SM Mahfuz Hossain echoed the sentiment but added that it was mostly Safwan's punches that had Jonny down three times in quick succession in his first match of the tournament.
“However, it is not clear about his stamina and techniques as he did not face any challenges from the opponents. We could have figured him out had he played full three rounds,” said Mahfuz.
Meanwhile his father Joblu informed that Safwan, the first of four sons, is personally motivated to represent Bangladesh at the international level and that he set up the communications with federation officials by himself.
“It is an introduction to Safwan, local boxers and officials know Safwan as he came to Bangladesh many times before but this time he has come to participate in the tournament,” said Joblu, who migrated to England in 1995.
“We did not come here for money, rather we want to give something to the nation. If Safwan is selected for the national team, I am ready to provide him better training in England because I have already spent a lot of money behind him,” informed Joblu.
Meanwhile, another British-born boxer Bryan Ahmed also represented Bangladesh in the SA Games in 1993 but did not shine at the tournament.