Singapore Sports Hub set to host its first professional boxing event
Boxing championship fight in March will be the first to take place here in almost five years
The Singapore Sports Hub is set to host its first professional boxing event.
Local boxing promoter Alexander Shah told The New Paper yesterday that he has lined up an event at the OCBC Arena on March 25, which will see a world title from one of professional boxing's four major sanctioning bodies, the World Boxing Council (WBC), on the line.
The event will see 27-year-old Zimbabwean Charles Manyuchi (20 wins, two losses, one draw) defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) world silver welterweight title against 23-year-old Uzbek Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (9-0-0).
Shah, who runs Cartel International Promotions, said: "It took a lot of work to get this world silver title fight here.
"I had to convince the WBC board of directors, the WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, I had to convince everybody to give us the chance to (do it) in Singapore.
"The selling point was that Singapore has good infrastructure, stable security, and is stable financially.... I said Singapore can be the Las Vegas of Asia.
"But I still needed a third party, in WBC Asia president General Kovit (Bhakdibhumi, who is also the WBC world vice-president) writing a letter to Mauricio saying why I am one of the best promoters in Asia and why Cartel and Singapore deserves it."
He added that he hopes the event would be just the first of four pro boxing events Cartel plans to stage at the OCBC Arena in 2017.
Sports Hub chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik confirmed a hiring agreement has been signed for the March 25 event.
The last time Singapore hosted a major world title fight was when Indonesian Chris John defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) world featherweight belt at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in Nov 2012.
As a prelude to its March event at the OCBC Arena, Cartel will hold an event called "Battle Of Champions" at The Pavilion at Far East Square, on Feb 10.
The event's main event will see Uzbek Azizbek Abdugofurov (4-0-0) defend his WBC Asia middleweight title against Thai Sirimongkol Eaimthuam (91-2-0).
The Thai has fought at the world famous MGM Grand in Las Vegas twice, in 2005 and 2008 - the latter on the undercard of Ricky Hatton's super lightweight International Boxing Organisation (IBO) world title defence - and won both times.
Next month's event will also feature Qudratillo taking on Ukranian Viktor Plotnykov (34-4-0), who is signed to the same promotion - K2 Promotions - as former world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Local pro boxers Edgar Ang, 27, and debutant Hamzah Farouk, 25, will also feature on the card.
Said Shah: "Fans should come to the event because all the fighters featured are elite-level fighters.
"I don't want to speak about the others, but I can speak for Cartel and say we only bring in the best of the best.
"This year, we are going all out. Cartel International is going big."
He revealed that Cartel is forking out six-figure sums each for Sirimongkol and Plotnykov in the Battle of Champions event.
FIRST WBC EVENT
Last July, the local company staged the first WBC event in Singapore in 27 years, which featured boxers from Malaysia, Canada, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Thailand and Singapore.
Two weeks ago, it collaborated with Malaysian company FH Promotions to stage the Johor International Boxing Championship, which was attended by Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim.
In addition to the four events at the OCBC Arena, Shah said he is planning to hold five other smaller-scale events throughout the year.
With the Roar of Singapore pro boxing event, run by a rival promoter, taking place a week after the Battle of Champions, Shah welcomed the potential competition.
"It's good for the sport," he said.
"The more events, the better. Fighters can go to different events to build up their record.
"At the end of the day, all promoters have the same goal."
Tickets for the Battle of Champions event on Feb 10, priced from $35, can be purchased from battleofchampions.peatix.com.