From a country with no professional boxers, the Qatari Sheikh -a member of the Qatari royal family- steps up to become one. Sheikh Fahad Khalid Al-Thani has been training for a decade to represent Qatar in professional boxing. Only this May was he able to take his first shoot at a professional boxing match in Croatia. The match ended with Al-Thani’s triumph, making him officially Qatar’s first pro boxer.
Al-Thani started training when he was 18 at a local gym in the capital Doha. The 28-year old boxer explained to Doha News that his interest in boxing was inspired by his mother, he said:
“When I was young, my mother used to always talk about Muhammad Ali and his fights with Joe Frazier and how all the houses in Doha would tune in to watch Muhammad Ali whenever he fought.”
With an intensive training schedule and his participation in many amateur boxing games, Al- Thani was able to join Qatar’s national team in 2009. So far Al-Thani has participated in 28 amateur games. He realizes that he has a long way to go, and that transitioning from amateur to Professional means longer rounds. Rounds that require him to be skillful at pacing himself to avoid punches rather than focusing on scoring points.
Al-Thani was expected to make his professional debut in a bout against Solvakia’s Elemir Rafael on May, 21 at London’s O2 arena. However, due to his shoulder injury during training, he had to delay the match.
In his interview with Sport360, he talked about the goal behind his pursuit of a professional career in boxing, saying:
“My overall goal is to open up boxing in the Middle East and make Qatar the hub for professional boxing in the region.”
Al-Thani knows that he will be knocked down many times in the ring, but this will not stop him from picking himself up every time with the drive to win.
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