Khan Firing On All Cylinders

Atal Khan reckons he’ll be firing on all cylinders when he attempts to make it a hat-trick of victories in the pro ranks.
Khan has yet to concede a session in two four-round points successes after turning over last April, but feels there’s room for improvement.
He next features on BCB Promotions’ first offering in the city for 2020, which will take place at the King’s Hall, in Stoke-on-Trent, on Friday March 13.
It’s the scene of both wins recorded so far, with the 25-year-old southpaw getting up and running by having his hand raised, by a 40-37 verdict, over Ibrar Riyaz.
He took his time to figure out the vastly-experienced Riyaz, who is approaching a double century of pro bouts and nabbed a share of a round along the way.
Khan returned in October to tackle fellow left hander Matt ‘MJ’ Hall, who he shut out by a 40-36 whitewash result to make it back-to-back victories.
Injuries have hampered the Orme Boxing Club graduate, who is from Stoke, but he’s fully fit now and determined to make an impression.
He got his amateur grounding with the Impact and later Orme gyms, racking up 28 wins from 42 unpaid contests. He’s still under the tutelage of his Orme coach, Steve Woodvine.
Khan said: “I’ve been training well. I kept myself ticking over between fights, in terms of keeping my weight down, so we could have more sessions on skill and ring craft.
“I had quite a bit of weight to lose before my last one, so I was more worried about that than anything else but, on the night, the fitness was there.
“My performance was OK (against MJ Hall), we’re both southpaws and I’d sparred with Connor Parker (fellow left-hander) to get myself ready.
“He (Hall) didn’t throw that many punches and it’s hard to trade with someone who doesn’t want to exchange. I had to do most of the work.
“I’ve mainly boxed against orthodox fighters, so it was a bit of a change. The left hand then a right hook to the body doesn’t work as often!
“I need people who are going to bring the best out of me, I know that from my amateur days. Good sparring helps, we get a lot of that at Orme and the BCB gym.
“Pro boxing is so different, I didn’t know what to expect on my debut and Riyaz is tricky for anyone. That’s why they put him against most of the top prospects.
“I’ve had things to contend with, I got caught with an overhand right in sparring, which hurt my neck and shoulder. I had to go and see a chiropractor.
“Now I’m injury free, doing the weight right and determined to put on a good display, with fast hands and feet. I want to be impressive on March 13.
“If the opening comes for a stoppage and I hit my opponent in the right place, he will go down, but it’s most important to win well.
“I’m looking to get three or four in this year, 2020 is going to be a big year but I hope 2021 will be even bigger, perhaps with an opportunity at a title.”
Home favourite Nathan Heaney tops the King’s Hall bill, ahead of further attempts to get a crack at national level.
‘The Hitman,’ who is the reigning Midlands middleweight champion, has raced to nine victories from nine outings, with three TKOs along the way.
That included outpointing Tom Stokes for the vacant area crown in a 10-rounder last year, which formed part of 33 rounds boxed in total during 2019.
Serge Ambomo and Daniel Urbanski, the former a 2012 Olympian and the latter a one-time foe of Gennady Golovkin, were also seen off over the distance.
His last outing and stoppage came against Nelson Altamirano, who folded in the fifth of six scheduled rounds. He’d previously halted Martin Kabrhel and Sean Gorman.
Heaney, now aged 30, debuted in late 2017 with a points whitewash over Darryl Sharp, after a stellar amateur career with South Staffs Boxing Club, who he represented in 90 fights.
Two more paid pugilists from Stoke feature on the under-card, with Kieron McLaren and Cole Johnson set to occupy the home corner.
McLaren is the most experienced, having racked up 12 victories from 14 pro affairs, before taking on Lee Appleyard, who he pushed to a 95-95 draw after 10 rounds.
His one and only defeat then came to Maxi Hughes, in what was an eliminator for English lightweight honours, by fourth round stoppage.
Johnson is another part of the lightweight division and has notched five points successes so far, having taken every round along the way.
Simas Volosinas, Reynaldo Cajina, Dean Evans, Ibrar Riyaz and Dean Jones have been vanquished by Johnson, who is in his third year as a pro.
He previously became a national titleist as an amateur, claiming England Senior Development honours in 2017.
Johnson is another product of the Orme fight factory as is Luke Caci, who will reach double figures when he steps through the ropes for a 10th time in the pro code.
Caci, a light heavyweight from nearby Newcastle, is still undefeated with nine wins and one TKO, halting Bryn Wain in the fifth of six rounds.
Making the trip from across the Midlands are Connor Parker and Leon Gower, who are from Woodville in Derbyshire and Burton-on-Trent respectively.
Parker is looking to bounce back from a first pro defeat, with Sam Maxwell taking his ‘0’ through a seventh round stoppage for the WBO European super lightweight bauble.
He can redress the balance with a 13th pro success, the most notable of which saw him become Midlands champion at the expense of Kevin Hooper.
The left-hander upset the odds to force the retirement of the experienced Hooper, a former Midlands and English titleist, at the end of the fifth round during their 2018 meeting.
Gower came up short in his attempt at area glory that year with his nemesis, Brad Foster, going on to win British and Commonwealth super bantamweight belts.
He now returns, after missing all of 2019, with a desire to quickly build upon his six wins, with three TKOs already in the bag.
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