Once unfairly dubbed as possibly one of the worst boxers of all time, Ibrar Riyaz has actually got quite an impressive record. A decent journeyman who goes in to the ring to help novices and the clever fighters who want to learn longevity, he may not have won the majority of his fights, but he has won the respect of his colleagues.
All, according to an interview late in 2018 as God wills. There are many versions of God that float about my head and people I meet with daily; I now have one in gloves and a four corner ring.
Riyaz is a 5 foot 4 inch powerhouse of boxing experience. His fight record stands, as at July2019, as 176 fights, 6 wins, 4 draws and 166 losses. He is currently out the ring as he retired in his last fight but already is booked up in September when he is out facing Terence Freshwater in York Hall in what shall be Freshwater’s debut. “Smokin” likes to have about two or three fights per month to keep his income coming, though he has NEVER fought in January. He might pig out I suppose at or around Christmas time!
There are quite a few people out there who have looked at this record and sneered. Of course, it is easy to so do because anyone who goes into a brutal sport willingly to lose week on week will be observed by some with derision. Riyaz has suffered a few of these articles online; but not here.
Boxing has levels – many levels – and whilst we can all get to make comment on Tyson Fury’s twitter feed and feel connected if or when he replies, Riyaz is a man who gave people like Fury, an opportunity to competitively learn their craft. There is always a risk with a veteran fighter that they will catch you and make you pay attention. With a journeyman, especially one from the UK, you have to be careful as a novice that you do not try and showboat and be too clever; in that video interview he has that cheeky smile when asked what might happen in his fight, might he win this own?
You see Riyaz, like many journeymen who have fought better than their opponent, will make home fighters pay special attention to their skills if they feel disrespected. The principle reason for a journeyman being in the ring is to give you a competitive fight that makes you learn your trade. Riyaz manages that every week in and every week out.
We saw him in Scotland when he took on Calvin McCord in June this year in a 6 rounder. Other people who have been in the opposite corner from him have included world champion Josh Warrington as well as Liam Walsh, Tommy Coyle, Tyrone Nurse, Stephen Ormond, Marco McCullough, Sean Dodd, Gary Sykes, Sam Bowen, Zelfa Barrett, Declan Gerraghty and he was the guy to oversee the debut of our very own Charlie Flynn.
Since his debut in 2008 he has fought in leisure centres, stadia, hotels and hallways all over the UK. There has been only one overseas trip – Galway – but his contribution to British boxing is assured because he is a hero in the ring for the sport he looks to love. We hope he is back in September and has that couple more years he would like to have. I doubt if he will add much to his win total but we will benefit form him being around; that makes Ibrar Riyaz our July 2019 Boxing Hero of the Month!