News: Zuhayr Al-Qahtani, Ward, McCullough, Doyle, Egbunike

Zuhayr Al-Qahtani is preparing to fight in his native Saudi Arabia for the first time on the undercard of George Groves vs. Callum Smith and believes this is just the first of many big nights there.
‘The Arabian Warrior’ (4-0) expects to draw a significant crowd on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight final having cruised to a quartet of victories in London to kickstart his professional career.

Al-Qahtani, who faces Giorgi Gviniashvili said: “To be part of such a card is extremely exciting. I believe this is history of the highest level being made. I understand how big it is – it’s an extraordinary feeling.

“It’s great to be boxing in front of my home crowd, my family and my fanbase. This is just the start and in a way, this is where it all starts for me.

“I want to be one of those fighters in history who have a whole country behind them. Ricky Hatton had England. Manny Pacquiao has the Philippines. I know for a fact I’ll have a whole country behind me.

“I’m learning not to let my emotion to get the best of me. I was late on the bill in my last fight and I feel I didn’t perform how I should. This opponent I’ve got ahead of me will bring my name up and you’ll see improvement.

“I believe we can have a major showdown next year – I’d like to fight for the Asian title. I won’t look past this opponent though and once I get the job done, we can look deep into it.”


Steven Ward and Marco McCullough will both face serious opponents on MTK Global’s stacked Belfast show on October 5 having been pitted against Rolando Paredes and Ruddy Encarnacion respectively.
Light-heavyweight Ward (8-0-KO3) became BUI Celtic champion at Windsor Park last time out but in Paredes (15-7-2-KO11), he faces Mexico’s top man at 175lb.
The 26-year-old Paredes earned the Mexican title last year with an impressive stoppage of Miguel Aguilar, who had only suffered one defeat in 18 at the time – and that also coming at the hands of ‘Indio.’
Paredes will arrive in Belfast off the back of another early night’s work; he halted Fermin Alberto Canedo in his home city Mexicali back in August.
Super-featherweight hopeful McCullough, meanwhile, has been matched with rejuvenated Dominican Encarnacion, who has lost just twice to high-class opposition in the last six years.
With McCullough keen to push towards earning a world ranking, Encarnacion guards the gate having taken Guillaume Frenois – the man set to face Jono Carroll in an IBF world title final eliminator – to the scorecards for the EBU European crown a year ago.
Ward v Paredes and McCullough v Encarnacion feature on a lengthy card at the Titanic Exhibition Centre with Tyrone McCullagh’s WBO European title clash with Josh Kennedy headlining and the likes of Conrad Cummings, Sean McComb, Steven Donnelly, Paddy Gallagher plus many more on the bill.

Ryan Doyle, 17-2-1 (9), makes the first defence of his Commonwealth Featherweight Title against Jordan Gill on October 27, at the Copper Box Arena.

In a terrific contest, Manchester’s Doyle upset the odds by ripping the belt away from Reece Bellotti in June, stopping the previously unbeaten fighter in five rounds.

Doyle will face another unbeaten fighter in Gill, 21-0 (5), but Ryan’s manager Steve Wood is convinced his man will – again – come out on top.

“Ryan was unfancied when he beat Belotti for the Commonwealth Title, because obviously Belotti was being built up as a bit of a star,” said Wood. “But I always knew Ryan could upset the odds, and was telling everyone to lump their money on him. It’s the same this time against Jordan Gill, with Gill maybe being the favourite in people’s eyes, but it’ll be a great fight and I’m expecting Ryan to defend his title and move on to get a crack at the British.”

MTK Global is proud to confirm the signing of unbeaten London super-lightweight Danny ‘Darko’ Egbunike.
The 3-0 prospect is looking to climb the ladder quickly having already sparred some of the elite 140lb fighters in Britain and is enthusiastic over the future under his new management team.
Egbunike said: “I wanted to go with MTK Global before I even turned professional. I heard they were very good at treating people and I knew a couple of people there.
“My debut was on an MTK Global show and I knew straight away that I should’ve gone with them in the first place. They treated me brilliantly. Some people get treated as cash cows but they aren’t like that.
“I’ve only been boxing about five years but I’ve crammed a lot into a short space of time because I wasn’t getting any younger. I had 18 wins from 18 fights and won the novices title as well.
“I’ve won all three of my fights as a professional with two knockouts and now I’m coming for the rest. I’ve been sparring people like Ohara Davies, Conor Benn, Ted Cheeseman, Martin Ward, Joe Cordina, Ricky Burns and loads of others already.
“I hope to fight for a title in the next 12 months. I’m going to up my rounds soon and I’ll be calling title-holders out soon so they better watch out. People can expect fireworks, entertainment and knockouts when they come to watch me fight. I put on a show.”

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