Friday night boxing is back with a bang. Kash Ali (18-1) headlines the Sheffield show this Friday as he challenges Tomas Salek for the vacant IBF European heavyweight title, and has promised to let “some big bombs go” when the bell rings.
Last time out under the Fightzone banner, Ali’s ferocious body blows gave Phil Williams a torrid evening, who refused to come out for any more punishment at the start of the fourth session. A win over his Czech opponent in Yorkshire this weekend would see him ranked with the IBF, potentially setting up some big fights in the future.
It’s an opportunity that the Birmingham fighter is desperate to take advantage of. Speaking exclusively to The Sportsman, he said, “I’ve put the work in, trained hard, looked after myself and I’m ready for a performance.
“This puts me in the world rankings. From there I can be in some big, big fights later on this year. You go around sparring the top guys, I’ve been there and seen it all. I’m ready to have these big fights myself now.”
Ali, whose only blemish on his record is a controversial disqualification against Liverpool’s David Price, has sparred with some of the best heavyweights around, including former world champion Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora, and believes it’s only a matter of time before he is involved at that level.
“They’ve probably got more experience than me, but skill wise I believe I’m up there with any of them. I’ve sparred them all and I don’t see what they can do better than me. It’s time to prove it now.”
High up on the bill in the last Fightzone show, Ali was full of praise for the new platform that has given him an opportunity to headline an event.
“It’s a massive platform. I’m excited and so should everyone else be.
“There have been times before when I’m running around selling my own tickets, where I should be resting, now I’m topping my own bill.
“Fightzone have given a platform to kids who, if they’re not on Sky, nobody’s going to see them.
“In England, nobody has seen the talent that we’ve got and now Fightzone gives us all the perfect opportunity for us all to shine on that big platform.
“The TV, the bright lights, the cameras, the press. It all makes a big fight. I hope everyone gets behind us.”
Ali’s admiration for some of the younger fighters on the card is clear, and he is delighted to be part of a show that gives them an opportunity that previously wasn’t available to them.
“There’s so much talent in Britain.
“If you’re an Olympian, I respect that you’ve got to fight on TV. There also should be something for people who aren’t Olympians but are talented.
“There will be kids fighting who are better than those on Box Office shows. This is the perfect opportunity, it’s equal ground now.
The heavyweight made one final promise ahead of his 20th professional bout.
“Everyone should tune in. It’s a big fight, I’m letting some big bombs go. Friday night boxing, it’s back baby.”
Also on the card is unbeaten Lancashire prospect Josh Holmes, who is aiming for the very top. Holmes, 25, has trained out of Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym in Hollywood, and believes it is only a matter of time before he is involved in some big fights himself.
“I train like a world champion, I train like I’m going to be a world champion and I believe I will be a world champion.
There’s no rush, I’m still young, but I’m improving massively. When I’m switched on and in my flow I’m very hard to box, I could say unbeatable.”
Like Ali, Holmes was also full of praise for Fightzone, adding, “I think it’s mega. The platform that they’re giving us young fighters, it’s great. We wouldn’t have this opportunity to box through Covid, but they’re guaranteeing that we stay busy. It’s only good things.”
Another unbeaten boxer on the bill is 3-0 Zac Miller, who stole the show last time out with a first round stoppage of the durable Michael Horabin. As the first man to stop the Cheshire fighter in six fights, Miller believes it shows his intent in the ring.
“He’s a tough kid. I found my range straight away and he couldn’t handle the pressure. Only the top kids get him out of there, I was the first one in a while.”
Miller is another boxer with nothing but praise for the Fightzone platform and is thankful for the opportunity that is has given fighters like him.
“Fightzone is creating opportunities for kids who are on the way up to get out there and show people what we can do.
“A lot of people won’t see us unless they bought a ticket, whereas now they see us on Fightzone and think ‘I’m going to follow him’, and before you know it, we’ll be household names.”
At just £4.99 per month, Fightzone gives boxing fans a chance to watch live events every week, with some of the UK’s top talent on show. This Friday promises to be another hard-hitting event not to be missed.