When former national boxer Muhamad Ridhwan made the decision to turn professional two years ago, he knew there would be no turning back.
By shedding his amateur status, he was also giving up his chance of competing in the SEA Games where he has won three bronze medals.
But his choice of a new path was vindicated on Saturday night, when he became the first Singaporean to win the World Boxing Association Asia Featherweight Championship title with a second-round knockout of Indonesia's Waldo Sabu.
Ridhwan, who co-owns the Legends Fight Sport gym, told The Straits Times yesterday that the title comes as an affirmation. "Some people said it looked easy, but there was a lot of hard work put in to achieve that result. We thought the fight would go further but I found the opportunity to take him out.
"I know a crowd loves a knockout. Overall, I'm definitely happy with how I performed. Definitely there are some things that can be improved, but it mostly went to plan," he said.
The championship belt is displayed at his gym in Alexandra Road, more for others than himself, said the 29-year-old. "I guess people at the gym would want to see it, hold it and see what it feels like. But for me, the memory of how I won the belt matters more than the belt itself."
He has yet to confirm his next fight but there is no rest for Ridhwan, who resumes training tomorrow and routinely trains twice a day, six times a week.
He credited his experience as an amateur boxer as crucial to his development. He has won all seven of his fights as a professional.
"I've learnt to keep working and have patience. Now that I've turned pro, when the opportunities come, I won't take them for granted and make sure I'm always prepared."