Boxing: Sporting Atif sends rival best wishes

Atif Shafiq. 'Picture: Dean Atkins
Atif Shafiq. 'Picture: Dean Atkins

Atif Shafiq has staked a claim to be one of boxing’s most sporting competitors after going out of his way to wish his opponent well ahead of an intense derby clash on Kell Brook’s undercard.

The Rotherham lightweight (W14 L1 D0) goes head to head with Jamie Robinson (W6 L2 D1) at Sheffield Arena on October 24. But he hopes his rival from Bolsover is in the shape of his life when the combat begins.

Speaking on an Ingle gym video, Shafiq, 21, said: “He sells a lot of tickets, a lot of people know me around this area, so it is going to be a decent crowd for our fight. I know he trains hard...he puts everything he does on twitter and Facebook so if you want to know what he is doing just look at his Facebook page! I wish him the best of luck in camp and hopefully he comes to the fight in tip-top shape.”

Shafiq can afford to be generous in his comments, as he believes he will beat the man they call the Ginger Rocket.

“He is a bit bigger than me but that won’t be a problem. He throws a lot of punches, he comes to have a good fight so I will just take him to school, really. It is going to be fun. We initiated the fight, the Ingles know what they are doing. They said this is the right time for this fight so pushed for it and the Ginger Rocket accepted. I am going to beat him. He knows and I know that I have got the style to beat him.”

Lightweight Shafiq says he spent the early part of his career fighting journeyman but this “is a good little step-up and eight round fight against another local boxer. I am excited.”

The contest will throw Robinson’s Sheffield trainer Ryan Rhodes up against Dominic Ingle, in rival corners.

“I have got a lot of respect for him (Rhodes) and there will be a bit of rivalry between him and Dominic so it will be good” said Shafiq.

The fight is on the Brook v Diego Chaves PPV bill.