UMAR SADIQ has signed with promoter Frank Warren and will make his pro debut in September.
The amateur light-heavyweight boxed internationally for Nigeria, battled Joshua Buatsi and will lay aside his career as an accountant to focus fully on his boxing.
“I feel that the wait’s been worth it. I didn’t rush. I kept believing the right deal was going to come along and I’m happy,” he told Boxing News. “I’ve always been a student of boxing and one thing I’ve never seen ever is a fighter who had a job on the side. [Juan Manuel] Marquez, who coincidentally was an accountant as well, but even then I think it was something that he said. There’s no way he was fighting Pacquiao and operating as an accountant at the same time.
“If I’m going to emulate what they’re doing I need to give boxing my full attention.”
He will move down to super-middleweight for his professional career. “I actually started my amateur career at middleweight. It was just a bit difficult maintain the weight during championships. 75 kilos over a week or two was a bit of a killer so I went up to light-heavyweight. When I actually moved up I was giving away three kilos at a time every time I fought and it took me a while to grow into a light-heayweight body and even then I was making weight easy,” he said.
That led him to cross paths with Joshua Buatsi, who was on his way to winning the Elite championships, getting on to the GB squad and ultimately going on to win a bronze medal at Rio 2016. “I boxed Buatsi in the London finals of the ABAs,” Umar said. “Everyone has their opinion about who won the fight. I remember at the time Buatsi and I going back and forth about who we thought won it. He got the decision… He’s such a nice guy. I didn’t know him till I boxed him. After I really wanted to dislike him but we were in the same changing room, believe it or not, and after speaking to him, I was like, ‘You can’t even dislike the guy.’
“He went on to win it. I still believe the winner of that fight that day was always going to be the person that won the ABAs. It was two quality operators in the ring and look what he’s gone on to do.”
He will be preparing for his first professional fight with trainer Brian O’Shaughnessy, alongside top prospect Lawrence Okolie. He said, “It’s a bit hard to describe my fighting style because I adapt to whatever’s infront of me so I’d say predominately I’m a good box-puncher in an orthodox stance but I can switch, I can be aggressive, I can fight inside, go outside whatever’s needed.”