FROM 200 gladiators 50 years ago to just eight now. Can Singapore boxing recover from the TKO?
Bringing smelling salts to the sport is Alexander Shah. “In the next five years, I want to see a Singaporean win a World Boxing Council (WBC) belt,” says the Director of Cartel International Promotions.
While Singapore may not have the likes of a Mayweather or a Pacquiao yet, Shah feels that its about time Singapore threw its hat in the ring. He is confident that local fighters can begin challenging for internationally recognised titles within the year.
Punching Above Its Weight
Back in the day, New World and Gay World Amusement Parks hosted regular bouts featuring boxers from all over the world. Starting in the mid 1940s, boxing events at these and other venues drew massive crowds up until the 1960s.
“In those days we had more than 200 local professional boxers registered in Singapore!”
In comparison, record keeper BoxRec.com shows only eight professional fighters in Singapore today.
Reinvigorating the boxing scene with more events and fights, Shah says, will bring a buzz back to the sport and provide opportunities for more young and up and coming boxers to go pro.
Shah’s Battle Of Champions event in February will be the first of nine he has planned for 2017. He suggests that with collaborative effort from with local fighters, gyms, and even other promoters Singapore can leave a mark on the global boxing scene.
Since 2007 Shah, has been promoting boxing events all over the region. After picking up crucial industry knowledge and experience from countries like Thailand and Philippines, Shah intends to apply them here to transform Singapore into a regional boxing hub.
While he contends that it will be no easy task, he notes that the recent flourish of Muay Thai and MMA (mixed martial arts) shows that the same can be done for boxing too.
“A decade ago no one knew about these sports, but with the right marketing and promotion, they are in demand now. They have become mainstays at almost 80% of gyms!”
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Shah’s latest event sees him pit Thailand’s Srimongkol Singwancha against current WBC Asia Middleweight Champion Aziz AAA from Uzbekistan at Far East Square on 10 February. In addition to featuring top talent from around the world, the upcoming event will also feature local debutants Hamzah Farouk and Edgar Ang.
Alexander Shah (4th from left), with (from left) Singaporean boxers Farouk and Ang, Srimongkol, and (far right) Malaysian boxer Rahmat Munadjab.
Battle of Champions
WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight Championship
Friday, 10 Feb 2017
The Pavilion, Far East Square
28 China Street
Main Image: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock.com