Ridhwan in Vegas: Learning from the best to be the best
Local pro boxer wants to make the most of his training stint at Mayweather Boxing Club
Las Vegas will host two boxing megafights in the next two months.
Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather will face brash mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor on Aug 26 and Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez will take on Kazakhstan's Gennady Golovkin for the world middleweight title on Sept 16 - both at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas.
The glitzy city will also be where Singaporean professional boxer Muhamad Ridhwan will be based for the next 22 days.
The 29-year-old, who became the Republic's first boxing world champion when he captured the Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) world super featherweight title in May, left for the United States early this morning for a training stint at the Mayweather Boxing Club.
The New Paper broke the news in June that the local fighter, who is ranked 69th in the world, would train at the gym owned by boxing megastar Mayweather.
Ridhwan's status as a fighter at the by-invite-only gym means he might be among the privileged few who will watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight "live", but he insists he is focused only on honing his skills at the famous club.
"Never in my mind did I ever think I would get an opportunity like this," he told TNP yesterday.
"I hope to gain invaluable experience and make use of the opportunity to train, spar and learn from current and former world champions there... I'll basically be a sponge.
"The IBF world champion in my weight class, Gervonta Davis, trains there, so if I get to spar with him, that would be amazing.
"Even if I don't, just getting to watch him train would be great because all these top boxers usually keep their training (workouts) secret.
"People usually see only easy parts on social media or for the cameras."
In Vegas, Ridhwan will train under famous American trainer Otis Pimpleton, who has a long relationship with Mayweather's former world champion uncle, Roger.
This is not the first time the Singaporean has gone to the US to train.
In 2012, he spent five months in Virginia on an exchange programme, training with professional boxers.
He is expecting to see some familiar faces at Mayweather's gym.
One is Australian Tommy Browne, who fought on the same card as his victorious title bout in May. The other is Pakistani Muhammad Waseem, who trains with Floyd's uncle, Jeff Mayweather.
Said Ridhwan: "Waseem is a friend I made during my amateur days (as a national boxer).
"We kept in touch since and he told me that being on this trip will be a really good learning experience for me.
"Over there, you don't only get coaches, you get teachers.
"It's all very old school and very technical."
Ridhwan's trip is 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.
At the event, he will face South Africa's Koos Sibiya for the vacant International Boxing Organization super featherweight intercontinental title.