Dubai: FIVE Palm Jumeirah’s Vista Ballroom, Dubai’s spanking new entertainment venue, was home to an evening of explosive championship boxing on Thursday night that threatened the bring the roof down on an elite gathering of celebrities and A listers.
Right from the opening bell that signalled the start of the multinational fight-card the audience were treated to a series of adrenaline-filled contests that culminated in a thrilling headline act that saw the emergence of an exciting new cruiserweight boxing sensation, Viddal Riley.
Showing speed, agility and a nice touch of showmanship, the 21-year-old British boxer dominated his opponent, the trainer, coach and boxer, Austine Nnamdi, to win a unanimous decision.
Nnamdi came is as a replacement of Mo Ali Bayat, the UAE ‘Boxer of the Year’ who withdrew after failing to pass his medical examination before the fight.
Riley, a five-time English champion and three-time GB champion who boasts an impressive amateur record of 41 wins with 19 knockouts, was making only his third appearance as a professional having last been seen on the mega fight card that featured Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner.
“I’m fortunate that I have the skills to fight,” said Riley. “It’s a great opportunity to headline the show where there were fighters that we most established than me. But it gave me the platform to show what I can do in the ring.
“It’s a great feeling and I delivered. Now I need to look for other higher opportunities.”
The Riley — Nnamdi fight topped ‘Knockout Night at FIVE’, the first event in the UAE hosted by former two-weight world champion Badou Jack Promotions that was preceded by a Muay Thai bout between Greece’s Christos Avramidis and Atakan ‘Avatar’ Arslan, a five-time Muay Thai World Champion.
Arslan, who boasts a record 58 wins, 8 losses and 51 knockouts, was totally overwhelmed by Avramidis, who appeared to have a relentless gas tank. The referee called a stop to the contest at 1.55 minutes in the very round declaring the Greek fighter the winner by TKO.
However, it was the popular Dubai-based Turkish fighter Fatih Ulusoy who brought the crowd to their feet when he outscored Syria’s Junior Kabbani in an entertaining four-round heavyweight contest.
A former kick-boxing champion Ulusoy used tactically sound defensive maneuvers in the first round to allow his rival into believing that he was dictating the fight.
But from the second round onwards it was different story ash he took the fight to Kabbani and delivered a lesion in show-boxing, at times toying with the Syrian during a clinch and even winking at celebs like British boxing heroes Amir Khan and Prince Naseem Hamid, who were sitting ringside.
Although the fight went the distance as Ulusoy failed to deliver the second-round knockout that he had predicted, there was only one winner on the judge’s card at the final bell and the Turk would take his unbeaten boxing record to 3-0.
“Full credit to my opponent, but it feels great to win this in front of my friends and the place that I call home — Dubai,” he said in the ring. “I’ll take a small break and begin training for my next fight and I promise an even better fight next time.”
• Viddal riley beat Austine Nnamdi on points
• Christos Avramidis beat Atakan Arslan TKO Rd1
• Fatih Ulusoy beat Junior Kabbani on pts
• Bryce Mills usa beat Antonis Stroutzalis TKO Rd 2
• Rohan Date vs Wanphihit Siriphana TKO Rd 2
• Faze Sensei usa beat Giorgos Veronis RKO Rd 3
• Usman Wazeer beat Brahim Oubenais on pts
• Oscar Ahlin beat Arthit Bunphloeng TKO Rd 1
• Ross Levine beat usa Stelios Tasmalidis Greece TKO Rd 2
• Ashley Theophane uk beat Jun Paderna TKO Rd 2
• Majid Al Naqbi beat Sandeep Duggal on points
• 4 Ahmed Dawrani beat Julaidan Abdulfatah on pts
• Anthony De Jubin beat Pushkar Pundalik on pts