Rafi is first local male to win pro boxing title
It was a night to remember for local boxers in the Roar of Singapore event at the Foochow Building yesterday.
Rafi Majid became the first local male fighter to win a professional boxing title belt when he knocked out Thailand’s Plaisakda Boonmalert in under two minutes to clinch the UBO super middleweight Asia Pacific title.
To think that the 36-year-old’s professional boxing career began just 10 months ago.
“I may be Singapore’s first male boxing champion, but I don’t want to be the last,” said the boxer, nicknamed “The Ruffian”.
“Boxing has gained popularity recently, a lot of gyms have opened up and there are a lot of good fight promotions out there.
“So it’s never too late... That’s a message I want to give my four-year-old son Dylan, too.”
After ending the long wait for its first male boxing champion, the Republic might soon have its second in “The Chosen Wan” Muhamad Ridhwan.
Singapore Fighting Championship promoter Arvind Lalwani said the 29-year-old will likely be fighting for a belt at the SFC 5 event in early April.
Last night, Ridhwan showed tenacity to fend off an aggressive approach by his Indonesian opponent Jason Butar Butar.
Ridhwan was even floored temporarily in the third round.
But he rebounded with a stunning knockout in the fifth round, leaving Butar Butar hanging on the bottom rope, staring at the lights.
“I was knocked down but not badly hurt, and I was still composed,” said Ridhwan.
“If the title fight happens, my goal is not just to win the title, but also to fight against tougher opponents and get my level up, one match at a time.”
There were also wins for Nurshahidah Roslie, who knocked out Thai Ratsadaporn Khiaosopa in the second round and 25-year-old Alexandrew “AJ” David, who scored an impressive decision win over 24-fight Indonesian boxer Philipus Rangga in just his second pro fight.
Arvind, who runs the Juggernaut Fight Club where Rafi and Shahidah train at, and also manages David, was delighted with the local boxers’ showing.
He said: “Rafi is our first male boxing champ, Ridhwan showed a champion’s heart, Shahidah beat a girl who has fought many good fighters, and AJ is still young.
“The sky’s the limit. We’ll keep going forward.”
Meanwhile, in last night's main event, Canada's Ryan "The Real Deal" Ford won the the UBO light heavyweight world title following a TKO win over New Zealander Sam Rapira.
Ford, who entered last night's title fight unbeaten in all nine of his pro fights, was the more aggressive of the two boxers from the get go.
While Rapira appeared to be able to absorb his opponent's hard body shots, the punishment clearly took its toll as the fight wore on.
At the end of the eighth round, there were signs the end was near when the Kiwi went to the wrong corner.
And just 82 seconds into the ninth, after Ford had drawn blood from his opponent with a flurry of shots to the head, Rapira's corner threw in the towel, ending the fight.
Said Ford: "I was playing his game a little bit, letting him miss his punches, and slowly letting him getting tired.
"Then I turned up the pace a little bit, and I knew either the ref, or his corner, was going to jump in and stop the fight. He was just taking too much punishment.
"I knew it was going to be a tough fight, and I was to go the full 12 rounds. But I'm nothing but the Real Deal, and I come to finish fights."