Saudi Arabian boxers seek more bouts after Jeddah victories

Saudi Arabian boxers seek more bouts after Jeddah victories
Updated 29 September 2018

Saudi Arabian boxers seek more bouts after Jeddah victories

Saudi Arabian boxers seek more bouts after Jeddah victories

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s two pioneering professional boxers are determined to ensure that Friday’s historic bouts in Jeddah will not represent the pinnacle of their respective careers.
Zuhayr Al-Qahtani and Abdulfatah Julaidan both recorded resounding points’ victories on the undercard of Callum Smith’s knockout win over George Groves. It was an emotional night for the fighters, who each have strong ties to Jeddah.
Al-Qahtani was born in the city before moving to London at the age of 12, while Julaidan still resides in, and fights out of, the city.
They are a fascinating pair, who could not have more different personalities. Julaidan is calm and methodical — his 39 years of life experience making up for a lack of professional ring time.
Al-Qahtani, on the other hand, is a bundle of energy, with “Prince” Naseem Hamed-esque charisma both in and out of the ring. Unsurprisingly this has made the “Arabian Warrior” a Saudi Arabian media darling in recent days.
Despite their contrasting characters, the pair shared a common bond on Friday as they pulled off historic wins in front of a raucous King Abdullah Sports City arena.
And both are now refusing to rest on their laurels after experiencing a boxing high that few other fighters taste so early in their careers.
“I feel my body is good to continue,” Julaidan told Arab News.
“At my age I have to listen to my body. I’m 39 years old and it is not easy — but I still have the fire to go and put it all on the line.
“Of course I could just finish here at 2-0, but I still feel I can fight. I still have something to give. I’m not saying there will be a lengthy career but I don’t want to give it up yet.
“I will sit down with my coaches, who I thank from the bottom of my heart for the journey we have already been on, and we will decide what is best going forward.”
For now Julaidan very much deserves a rest. Incredibly, his victory over Martin Kabrhel in Jeddah came just two weeks after his first ever professional boxing bout, in the Netherlands. Trainer Nettles Nasser has guided that transition from the amateur ranks and agrees he still has a little more left to give.
“He was crazy to take this fight at such short notice but he has heart and this I admire so much. One or two more fights is all he needs. This is already a dream come true for him — he is inspiring people though boxing.
“I think there may be a couple more fights in the next year and, who knows, maybe another one back here in Jeddah in 12 months.”
Al-Qahtani would also love to return to Jeddah after a comfortable victory over British fighter Mohammad Mahmoud extended his professional record to 5-0.
The London-based fighter is keen to maintain the momentum created by the World Boxing Super Series and capitalize on his own growing profile by competing for a continental championship.
“God willing I’m hoping to fight for the Asian title,” Al-Qahtani told Arab News. “I’ll discuss with my team but I need a title and need it soon. I’m ready.
“I feel sure that this won’t be the last time I fight in front of my people and I know that I have what it takes to be a champion and have a championship fight back here in Jeddah. This is just the start for boxing in Saudi Arabia and I’m happy to be leading the way.”


Yokohama send big guns Jeonbuk packing with 4-1 victory

Updated 02 December 2020

Yokohama send big guns Jeonbuk packing with 4-1 victory

Yokohama send big guns Jeonbuk packing with 4-1 victory
  • It’s a fantastic achievement and we are proud of everyone involved — Marinos coach Ange Postecouglou

DOHA: Yokohama Marinos cruised into the knockout phase of the Asian Champions League for the first time in their history on Tuesday, hammering two-time champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4-1 in their Group H clash.

Yokohama's Thai defender Theerathon Bunmathan thundered in a shot from the edge of the box in the 17th minute to set the tone, before three goals in the second half sent the 2006 and 2016 winners Jeonbuk crashing out of the tournament.

"It's a great performance and a credit to the players, because it's the first time the club has got out of the group stage," said Yokohama coach Ange Postecouglou.

"We started really well and put pressure on them, scored a goal — a good goal from Bunmathan.

"We missed some chances in the first half which always keeps the opposition in the game, but in the second half we were a bit smarter, worked our counterattacks really well and scored three good goals.

"It's a fantastic achievement and we are proud of everyone involved."

Besides being the first team from eastern Asia to win the Champions League when it was launched in its current format in 2003, Jeonbuk are also eight-time K League winners, a South Korean record, which includes four consecutive titles starting in 2017.

But at the Al Janoub Stadium on Tuesday, their only bright moment came in the 54th minute when Gustavo fired home from the penalty spot three minutes after Marcos Junior had put Yokohama 2-0 ahead.

Teruhito Nagakawa's 71st minute strike and an own goal by Song—  whose attempted headed clearance found his own net seven minutes from close — confirmed Jeonbuk's exit.

"The team gave what it was possible to do with the contingent that we have," lamented Jeonbuk coach Jose Morais.

"In the first half, strategically, we went in terms of containing the offensive game of Yokohama, which is a big game and a quality game."

"In the second half, the result as it was wasn't enough to take us forward, so we took more risks."

In Group G, Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande and South Korea's Suwon Samsung Bluewings played out a 1-1 draw at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Lim Sang-hyub put Suwon ahead in the 53rd minute but Wei Shihao restored parity in the 72nd for Guangzhou with the help of an assist from Ai Kesen.

The result means the second qualifying spot from the group will be decided on Friday with the Bluewings needing at least a 2-0 victory to join Vissel Kobe of Japan in the round of 16.

Guangzhou coach Fabio Cannavaro was once again at a loss to explain his team's showing.

"I am not happy because the performance of my team in the first half was not so good," said the former Italy international.

"We didn't control the game and we didn't even try to play football. Even in defence we did not play well. I don't want to find excuses."

Suwon's Park Kun-ha lamented the fact that his team didn't make the most of the chances they got.

"We got the first goal and then unfortunately conceded the equaliser. We had many chances at the end but we could not win."