Zain Ali reckons he can pick up where he left off despite a long absence from boxing before turning pro.
His paid bow comes at the Holiday Inn Queensway, in Birmingham city centre, during a Friday fight night, on October 20, under the BCB Promotions banner.
The 24-year-old Brummie, who is from Alum Rock, hasn’t engaged in competitive action since 2019, when he was still an amateur with Nechells Green Boxing Club.
A pandemic, marriage and then fatherhood have kept him on the side-lines, but Ali believes the time is now, to not only make his ring return, but in the pro ranks.
He got 50 amateur bouts under his belt, registering 24 wins, under the tutelage of ex-pro Mark Holt, a former Midlands area featherweight champion.
Holt should be back in his corner, down the line, but another former pro, Dan Breeze, is leading his preparations, in the meantime.
Ali splits his time between Nechells Green and the MLSS Community Hub, in Bloxwich, latterly where sessions with Breeze take place.
He’s managed by Alfie Warren, the nephew of Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, who has given him the green light to make his pro debut in his back-yard.
Ali has been additionally backed by sponsors Pepe’s Piri Piri, Burger & Sauce and MJA Trade Services, in the run-up to fight night.
He said: “I’ve wanted to make my pro debut in Birmingham, ever since I signed a pro contract. This is my area, so I can’t wait to get in there, after all of this time.
“It’s been four years since I last boxed. The last opponent I had has turned pro and is a BCB fighter now. It was Liam Gould, on his home show, and I lost on a split (points decision).
“Covid hit, so I had some time out, and then I got married and had a couple of baby boys, so I needed to be with my family. I’m still working full-time, too, as a courier.
“Now is the right time for me to come back to boxing. I’ve spent 13 years at Nechells Green and I still train there. Mark (Holt, amateur coach) has been like a dad to me.
“Mark hasn’t got his pro licence to coach yet, because he’s had a lot going on, but he will be on board when he does. I’ve got Dan (Breeze) training me and he’s been there and done it.
“Dan was a very good amateur and went 10-0, as a pro, but he fell out of love with the game and put weight on. He doesn’t want the same thing to happen to me.
“He can see that I’ve got ability. I’m a counter puncher, who can box and move, so I’ve got more of a pro style anyway. I want to put on silky performances.
“I’ve had enough sparring and done rounds with Ryan Woolridge (another unbeaten BCB pro), so I’m confident that I’ve got the ring rust off.
“I’ve never really entered the championships, in the amateurs, but I’ve boxed some good lads. I’m looking to win a Midlands title, first, and then get to British level.”
Tickets for the Holiday Inn bill are available, priced at £40 standard or £80 VIP ringside, directly from the boxers or by visiting myfighttickets.com.