Poster after poster with the names of Holyfield, Ali, Hagler, Frazier and more form the backdrop of what is Dubai’s premier boxing gym – a place that feels ripped out of the 1920s, save for its modern facilities.
As mixed martial arts continues to grow worldwide and become the leading combat sport, boxing has become more specialised.
Nevertheless, Ahmed Seddiqi, co-founder of Round 10 Boxing Club, has kept the strikes at his gym strictly punches – based on the same belief he had from day one when he opened the venue in 2013.
“There was nothing of quality available not just in Dubai, but in the whole country,” Seddiqi said of places to box. “Before opening the gym, I used to train and there were a lot of kickboxers training boxers which was a total disaster.
“That’s when we thought we needed a proper place in Dubai for boxing – a gym with professional trainers, fighters and the whole boxing atmosphere.”
If nothing else, it’s clear how much Seddiqi values proper training, which is why his gym offers more than 30 structured boxing classes per week for all ages.
The sessions are specifically designed to take beginners and transform them into well-rounded pugilists, or enhance the skills of experienced boxers.
It’s more than just hitting a bag, shadow-boxing or sparring. As Sediqqi passionately explains, the sport is extremely demanding and that’s the reason for its uniqueness.
“There’s a whole art to it, of how a body can handle so much in 12 rounds, or in the earlier days, 15 rounds. Building a person up to that is really amazing,” Seddiqi said.
“You just have two weapons in boxing – your two hands. Training those two hands doesn’t just require training your upper body, it requires training from head to toe.
“The power is released from the legs and learning how to release that power is the art of it.”
Even if you’re not keen on taking a punch or throwing one yourself, boxing can be a wonderful and effective form of exercise to get fit.
Or maybe you just want to find some people to talk with about the upcoming bout or that recent highlight knockout. Whatever your motivation, Round 10 Boxing Club has you covered as the UAE’s hub for the sport.
“It became like a small community for all the boxing fans in Dubai. They come here not only to train, but to sit and talk,” Seddiqi said. “The word just keeps on going about the friendly atmosphere.”
Get a taste for yourself by checking out Round 10 Boxing Club, which will leave you wanting to strap on the gloves and climb into the ring.
Mike Tyson once described the lure of greatness as the strongest drug in the world. It’s an intoxicant which has Amir Khan firmly in its grip.
Muhammad Ali suggested that a person with no imagination has no wings. Khan’s yearning for superstardom has never been a secret, while it also seems he has an appetite for fantasy.
Today, he is in the gym visualising what it would be like to pull off a sensational career-defining upset after becoming a protagonist in some of the most creative matchmaking of recent times.
Nobody saw it coming and few give him a prayer when he challenges Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the middleweight championship (at a 155lb catchweight) on May 7.
Khan has spent the past three years lobbying for a ‘superfight’ with first Floyd Mayweather and latterly Manny Pacquiao.
With those two modern greats all but gone, Canelo is the main man, and should Khan do the unthinkable and box his way to victory then he would join him at the very top.
After all, only a very select few have stepped up from welterweight to dethrone a middleweight champion.
You have to admire his courage, although sometimes there can be a fine line between bravery and hubris. Spurning a lucrative domestic brawl with Kell Brook and a WBC welterweight title shot against Danny Garcia to quite literally dream big is an exceptionally bold move. ‘Khanelo’ is a physical mismatch, pitting the British-Pakistani and his questionable chin against a stone-fisted power puncher who on the night could weigh in the region of 20-30 pounds heavier than him.
Khan might be tall and rangey but he is lean. Canelo is a tank.
It’s the epitome of a high risk, high reward scenario.
To borrow another famous quotation: “If you screw things up in tennis, it’s 15-love. If you screw up in boxing, it’s your a**.” Randall Cobb’s salty synopsis seems particularly apt for Khan when considering what is at stake for him.
‘Khanelo’ is a physical mismatch… Khan may be tall and rangey but he is lean. Canelo is a tank
The notion that nobody expects him to win therefore he has nothing to lose is simplistic and crude.
Heavy knockouts and heavy defeats can ruin fighters and shave years off a career and Canelo is one of the most ruthless finishers in the sport today.
Khan has one obvious advantage: speed. He will hope his adroit footwork and slick hands – plus a genius defensive strategy from trainer Virgil Hunter – will trump Canelo’s sheer physical mass and power.
But for all his innate talent, to bewilder the bigger man for a full 36 minutes is a monumental ask.
Smaller foes than Alvarez have caught up with Khan and punished him severely.
Canelo will have little respect for his power so mobility is absolutely fundamental to his chances.
Amir Khan will return to action against Saul Alvarez in Las Vegas on May 7.
Khan, who has not fought since a points victory over Chris Algieri last May, said last month he had a “few options” for his next fight, but no one expected him to arrange a catchweight contest at 155lbs with WBC middleweight champion Alvarez.
Andre Berto, Brandon Rios and Jo Jo Dan had all been tipped as possible warm-up opponents for Khan ahead of a summer showdown with Danny Garcia or Kell Brook, the respective WBC and IBF welterweight champions.
Khan is Garcia’s mandatory challenger and the WBC had ordered the American – who had a fourth-round knockout victory over the Bolton fighter in July 2012 – to face him by June or lose his belt.
But Khan’s camp were also said to be interested in a lucrative Battle of Britain showdown with Brook and negotiations with Eddie Hearn’s promotions company Matchroom Boxing had reportedly taken place.
However, Khan has stunned the boxing world by agreeing to fight ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, the 25-year-old WBC middleweight champion whose only loss in 48 fights was a majority points defeat to the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
The Mexican’s last fight saw him enjoy a unanimous points victory over Miguel Cotto in November and many regard him as the next superstar of boxing when Mayweather decides to hang up his gloves.
Alvarez carries a big punching reputation and has won 46 of his 48 fights – he had a draw against Jorge Juarez in only his fifth contest – by way of 32 knockouts.
Oscar De La Hoya, of Golden Boy Promotions, posted on his official Twitter account: “Proud to announce on May 7th, 2016 @canelo will return to the ring to face @amirkingkhan.”