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Digital Subscriptions > Boxing News > 23-Apr > 90 SECONDS

90 SECONDS

Ukashir Farooq, the first British champion of Pakistani origin, tells Oliver Fennell about the half-a-round that changed everything
WATCH HIM GO: Farooq is among Britain’s brightest champions
Photo: ALLAN PICKEN

SOMETIMES, a minute or so is all it takes to change your life. As a teenager in Glasgow, Ukashir Farooq had no interest in boxing. In fact, he had no particular life goals. He was just an ordinary lad, doing what most kids his age did, passing time through his high school years. Then one day, one of his friends went to a small boxing gym, and Farooq tagged along just for something to do.

But unlike many similar stories, it wasn’t love at first sight. Not quite.

“It didn’t exactly fascinate me,” says Farooq, now the reigning British bantamweight champion. “It was just a little gym in a community centre. Not even a gym, really. Just one of those frames that sit on the floor and mark out a ring and have a punchbag hanging off each corner.

“I had a go but I thought ‘there’s nothing for me here’, and I went to walk out. But the coach [ex-pro bantamweight Bobby McDermott] called me back in and said ‘hey, you’ve got a bit of a punch there’.

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