Boxer Ridhwan gains valuable lessons from US training stint
Local pro boxer Ridhwan says training stint at Mayweather Gym in Vegas was an 'eye-opener'
When Conor McGregor maniacally screamed in Floyd Mayweather Jr's face at the weigh-in a day before their historic boxing match last month, Muhamad Ridhwan was right there, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The local professional boxer got to soak in the incredible atmosphere as the build-up around one of boxing's most hyped matches in history reached a crescendo.
The Mayweather-McGregor fight took place right in the middle of Ridhwan's 21-day training stint at the Mayweather Boxing Club, owned by the undefeated boxing megastar, who went on to beat mixed martial artist McGregor in the 10th round of their fight on Aug 26.
Said Ridhwan: "At the weigh-in, it was the Irish fans (supporting countryman McGregor) that made the whole experience interesting.
"There were so many of them, and were so loud and were singing everywhere they went.
"It was a real eye-opener for me, to see how boxing is promoted at the top level.
"Also, I got the chance to see how elite boxers carried themselves, manage their character and persona, and how they promote their fights in and out of the ring."
Ridhwan's trip was sponsored by Ringstar Management - the local fight promotion that represents him - and is part of his preparation for a bout at the Roar of Singapore III event at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre on Oct 20.
Everybody walks around with supreme confidence, it doesn't matter if he has had just one (professional) fight, or 50.Local boxer Muhamad Ridhwan on his training stint at the Mayweather Boxing Club
At the event, he will face South Africa's Koos Sibiya for the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) super featherweight intercontinental title.
Ridhwan, 29, believes he has returned from Vegas equipped with the tools needed to add the IBO intercontinental title to the Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) world super featherweight title he won in May.
His training there with coach Otis Pimpleton, included uphill runs for up to 8km and pushing a car on flat land.
Six times a week, Ridhwan went through the paces alongside names such as Badou Jack, Andrew Tabiti, and current IBO world super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr.
He also sparred with the likes of Juan Heraldez, who fought on the undercard of the Mayweather-McGregor fight.
But Ridhwan said he knew he could not afford to get starstruck in a gym full of alpha males.
"Being in that gym, there was no honeymoon period," said Ridhwan.
"There's no time to be humble or quiet, you have to stand your ground.
"Sparring bouts there are like (sanctioned) fights, your opponent will trash-talk you, taunt your cornerman, and one round can last as long as three if they don't ring the bell.
"I didn't know it was going to be that way, but I had to toughen myself on the spot.
"Nobody cares if you're tired or anything. As long as you put on gloves, you're just someone for them to knock out.
"Everybody walks around with supreme confidence, it doesn't matter if he has had just one (professional) fight, or 50."
Having trained among some of the world's best, Ridhwan's confidence in his own abilities is higher than ever.
And he has a warning for Sibiya ahead of next month's fight.
"Before I left Singapore for Vegas, I knew I was going to win the fight," he said.
"Now, I want to also make sure I put on a boxing clinic and showcase my skills and create excitement in the ring.
"I want the win to be convincing, and the best way for me to draw attention to the result is by getting a knockout - so that's what I want."