Boxing: Muhamad Ridhwan's plan is a knockout success

Muhamad Ridhwan lands a punch on Fadhili Majiha during their bout at the Resorts World Sentosa ballroom. The 29-year-old ousted his opponent in four rounds.
Muhamad Ridhwan lands a punch on Fadhili Majiha during their bout at the Resorts World Sentosa ballroom. The 29-year-old ousted his opponent in four rounds.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Singapore boxer works out Tanzanian rival's moves to win UBO super featherweight title

A tactical masterstroke paved the way for Muhamad Ridhwan to win the vacant Universal Boxing Organisation (UBO) world super featherweight (58.97kg) title on Saturday.

The Singaporean knocked out Tanzania's Fadhili Majiha in the fourth round at the Roar of Singapore II event at Resorts World Sentosa.

However, the opening round of the 12-round bout looked far from going Ridhwan's way.

Not only did the wily Majiha, 23, evade the Singaporean's punches initially with his constant movement around the ring but he also caught the home favourite off guard with a series of quick punches.

But Ridhwan told the media after the bout that this was all part of the plan. The 29-year-old said: "We practised this in the gym many times.

"In the first round, we expected him to move a lot and we did think that we might lose it. But we also wanted to see his bad habits and mistakes. Then when we saw his pattern, and we capitalised on it."

After soaking up Majiha's punches in the first round, Ridhwan and his corner firmed up their game plan as the 1,500-strong crowd shouted his name in support.

He explained: "He was always moving to the right side and he was covering with the same defence.

"So the plan was to go to the body, then go to the head. Soon I managed to open up his defence."

His punches soon found their target and in the fourth round, he felled his opponent thrice.

Ridhwan, who co-owns the Legends Fight Sport gym, said: "The first one was a flash knockdown. I knew he was going to get up, because it wasn't really clean.

"I didn't think he would get up for the second one but he did.

"In the third one, I was waiting for the last 10 seconds. I knew he would relax and lower his hands thinking that the round was going to end.

"So I gave it all I had. I felt my knuckles land on his temple and he just went down."

The UBO, founded 13 years ago, hosts title fights across the globe to help "lesser-known boxers achieve their goal of winning a title", according to its website.

Reflecting on his victory, Ridhwan added: "I don't think I needed the belt or the title to show how much I have achieved. My main purpose was to fight for the people, for Singapore.

"I don't know what to feel. I guess I'm happy because everyone around me was happy."

In the SEA Games 56kg eliminator match that took place on the same night, Danial Jalil beat fellow amateur Jason Chua to earn the right to represent Singapore at the Aug 19-30 Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Said Danial, 25: "I must try my best to win a medal at the SEA Games now that I have earned my place."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Ridhwan's plan is a knockout success'. Print Edition | Subscribe