Umar Sadiq: ‘The opponent never intimidates me’

Umar Sadiq
Action Images/Matthew Childs
A former accountant, a part-time model, top prospect Umar Sadiq is a boxer to watch, writes John Dennen

Were you nervous when you made your pro debut, after being out of action for a while?

From my debut I felt there wasn’t much difference in it. You are still fighting another man that’s trying to hurt you.

I’m typically an emotionally balanced person… I tend to take a lot of things in my stride. From my debut it was more the same.

I wasn’t particularly nervous at all. I’m more concerned about putting on a good performance than anything else. I had that even in the amateurs. In the amateurs it’s well documented I had a fair few bad decisions. I used to go into fights worrying more about the judges than the opponents. This is when I’m fighting some of the best fighters in the country or the world. Again the opponent never intimidates me.

Do you think you’ll stay at super-middleweight?

Ultimately I’d rather move up. Right now the light-heavyweight division is lively. In about five years time it probably still will be and I think that’s the time I’d like to move up. So I want to establish myself at super-middle and dominate it for a bit. If it’s still lively at that time and there are fights out there I might stay put. But if it’s a case where there’s not really anything eventually I’ll end up moving up.

I was always a light light-heavy [as an amateur]. I used to train for performance rather than making weight.

Are there any super-middleweights you’re looking at at the moment for fights down the line?

The truth is all of them. As long as they keep boxing there’s always a chance that I’ll box them. Another tournament like the WBSS might come up. They might have a title that I want, I might have a title that they want. Fans may demand a certain fight. Sometimes rivalries get built out of nothing. You never really know. There are so many reasons why I could fight anybody.

Then having said that, there are too many fighters out there to keep an eye on. I just keep it simple and keep it about myself.

Do you want to move quickly or take it step by step?

I’ve always been open about wanting to move quickly. Seeing Lawrence [Okolie, headlining at the O2] has made me really happy. He’s not just a stablemate, he’s a good friend. His success is my success, in a way. We celebrate each other’s successes and achievements. For me personally what that’s done is just reinforce that anything is possible. Keep your head down, keep grafting. You have to respect the graft that he’s put in. He turned pro and he was in the gym. Fight after fight, he’s grafting. I see him day in day out, see what he’s doing, what he puts into the sport. Things just fell into place for the O2. That wasn’t something that was planned.

Umar Sadiq

You used to be an accountant but you’re now also a model outside of boxing?

Out of boxing what I do is modelling… A lot of fighters have intensive jobs like labouring or go to an office, some fighters work night shifts. I can’t even try to imagine what it would be like to have to do that and do that amount of training that I’m doing. So credit to all the fighters who are making it work.

The boxing’s the main career, the modelling is something I do on the side.

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