Saudi Arabia’s Abdulfatah Julaidan ready to make history in Jeddah fight

Saudi Arabia’s Abdulfatah Julaidan ready to make history in Jeddah fight

JEDDAH (Rahnuma): Abdulfatah Julaidan insists he is not fazed by the prospect of becoming the first Saudi Arabian boxer to compete in a professional bout in the Kingdom.

Jeddah-based Julaidan (1-0, 1 KO) will take on Czech fighter Martin Kharbel (2-9, 2KOs) in a hastily arranged bout on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series Final on Friday.

Julaidan’s professional debut came just 12 days ago, a second round knockout of Daniel Botlik in the Netherlands.

He has had less than two weeks to prepare for his second fight but the 39-year-old says the offer to compete in his hometown was impossible to turn down.

“The organizers called me less than a week ago told me they wanted another Saudi on the card,” Julaidan told Arab News.

“How could I say no? Fortunately, my first fight wasn’t too hard so I still feel in good shape.

“We only know only a little bit about my opponent. He is solid and more experienced than me but my gameplan is to go out and pressure him until I stop him.”

London-based Zuhayr Al-Qahtani is scheduled to fight later on the undercard at King Abdullah Sports City but Julaidan, in the night’s second contest, will be the first Saudi professional boxer to take to the ring in the Kingdom.

“This is like a dream come true. I never could have imagined fighting in my own country, in my hometown, at a venue like this. I will put it all on the line for my family and for Saudi Arabia. This is the biggest fight of my life.

“I want to put the Saudi name on the boxing map — that’s my real motivation. It will be an amazing feeling to go out there and once I’ve got the win, you will see how much it means to me.”

Julaidan’s trainer, Nettles Nasser, believes his fighter is a genuine trailblazer for the sport. The Palestinian, who used to train professional boxers in the US, is hoping that Friday’s event can inspire a new generation of fans and fighters in Saudi Arabia.

“He is a pioneer in the boxing game,” Nasser said.

“He’s 39 years old but he followed his dream and you can’t get higher than this. On a championship undercard in only his second fight. This is fairytale stuff.

“It takes a lot of balls to do what he did. No experience, no professional fights. He’s not an emotional guy but when he wins, it will mean everything.

“He’s going to go out there to inspire the young people in Saudi Arabia to box. Saudi Arabia traditionally only has eyes soccer but they have to have other sports. We can help make that change happen.”

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