UAE's Sultan Al Nuaimi and Jordanian Bader Samreen shine at inaugural Rising Stars Arabia

Emirati boxer heads for Asian Games after maintaining his unbeaten record in pro boxing at Abu Dhabi event

The UAE's Sultan Al Nuaimi, left, after winning his super flyweight contest against Jemsi Kibazange of Tanzania at the inaugural Rising Stars Arabia event. Ruel Pableo for The National
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Sultan Al Nuaimi and Bader Samreen maintained their perfect pro boxing records with stunning victories in the inaugural Rising Stars Arabia meeting at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Al Nuaimi outclassed Tanzanian Jemsi Kibazange by unanimous decision in their super flyweight clash to stretch his winning streak to 10 and the Dubai-based Jordanian stopped Mexican Jose Paez Gonzales in the fifth round in the main lightweight contest to remain undefeated in nine fights.

Down on the canvas in the opening round and suffering a cut above his left eye from a right hook, Al Nuaimi battled back gallantly to emerge victorious in an action-packed 10 rounds.

“It was a shock for me to get knocked down for the first time in a fight. It was a strange feeling. I could hear people yelling at me to stay down and take my own time, but I got up on six count to continue,” the Emirati told The National.

“That probably shook me up to get more serious. I quickly put that incident behind me and then I figured out my game plan as the fight progressed.

“Jemsi is an experienced boxer. He arrived with 18 wins from 26 appearances and losing only some title contests. My plan for him was to go the full distance and that’s what I did with constantly jabbing him to score.”

Al Nuaimi, 30, was returning to the ring 10 months after he fractured his thumb in his last fight against Indian Sohaib Haque in Dubai. He also had to do national service for six months.

“This wasn’t my best performance, but I’ll take this result as a positive. That’s because my training was interrupted because of the injury that required surgery and joining the national service,” he said.

“I’m back and now I’ll keep working on all my mistakes for the next fight in this exciting new series that provides the platform for Arab fighters.”

Al Nuaimi will be heading for the Asian Games as one of the four members of the UAE boxing squad in Hangzhou from September 23 to October 8.

“I feel this fight and the training I had for it has provided me the confidence and best preparation for the Asian Games. The first four here will qualify for the Paris Olympics next year. Hopefully, I can qualify,” Al Nuaimi added.

Samreen, 23, was in a class of his own on the night. He dominated the 10-round main fight organised by AAA Seddiqi Sports in association with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi.

“The Rising Stars Arabia is a great platform for Arab fighters to fight the rest of the world, and I’m so grateful we now have a platform to move up the rankings with the ultimate goal of fighting for world titles,” said Samreen, who took his record to nine wins, eight by knockout.

On the undercard, Mohammed Bekdash took his perfect record to 26 with a first round TKO of Ugandan Musa N’tege in the heavyweight contest.

“This is what I have been doing all my life. I want to earn a world title shot. I probably need another couple of fights to get that, hopefully,” said Bekdash, the Syrian who fights under the German flag.

Egyptian Olympian Marwan Madboly, too, extended his unbeaten record to three fights with a first-round knockout of South African Sheldon Schultz, his first defeat in five appearances, in the welterweight.

Updated: September 10, 2023, 1:51 PM