Dubai: Samira Hamham of Morocco, Nabeel Mahjoob of Tunisia and Luke Whelan of Great Britain defended their world title belts at the International World Arab Boxing for Peace held at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on Saturday
Hamham held off Rukhsana Khal, her challenger from Pakistan in the lone women’s bout, Mahjoob outboxed his Cambodian challenger Thor Shan in the lightweight 60kg category, while Whelan ousted a gutsy Denzil Diaz from Spain after nine gruelling rounds in the Middle Weight 70kg division.
Frenchman Yohan Bonsour was the lone champion who failed to defend his belt after the judges decreed that Raul Denenbourg, his challenger from The Netherlands had enjoyed the better share in the nine-round bout.
The bout between Whelan and Diaz was one of the more engrossing fights as the smaller-made Spaniard matched his opponent’s reach through sheer speed and ability to stay away. However as the fight progressed, Whelan started taking control as he punished Diaz with a barrage of punches to his face in the eighth round.
With both fighters struggling for breath, the ninth and final round was as good as a formality. “My plan was to listen to my coach’s [Charlie Peters] instructions carefully and implement them. He [Diaz] is a very experienced opponent and I had to make sure I didn’t get within striking range of his right,” he added.
After improving his record to 35 wins from 54 fights, Whelan will now take a break till his managing team narrows down on an opponent in early 2015. “It would be lovely to be back in Dubai and have the opportunity to defend my belt. But then that is in the future. Right now I am only looking forward to a well-deserved break,” Whelan said.
The boxing championship was held to convey the message of peace and fraternity among all and the fight card consisted of seven bouts of which four were professional title defence fights and the remaining three involved amateurs.
Earlier in the amateur fights, the UAE’s Mohammad Sanad gave the holiday crowd much to cheer about when he defeated Ahmad Mubaraki of Tunisia in the 70kg category. In the other two fights, Georgio Alessi won by technical knock-out (TKO) over Libya’s Mohammad Nabeel and Jordan’s Saif Zagzouk secured a close win over Christian Mmboea of Cameroon.