Nelson boxer Atif Mushtaq has been dealt a cruel blow as his professional debut has been cancelled.
The 22-year-old had been scheduled to make his pro bow against Liam Ellis at Colne Muni on Friday, May 17th, but it is believed that police have been forced to clear the contest from the bill amid fears of racial aggravation.
Although Nelson or Colne police were unable to confirm the claims at the time of going to press, Mushtaq stated that a meeting was set to take place in the immediate future between himself, coach Stuart McFadyen, manager Steve Woods and police representatives.
Mushtaq teamed up with McFadyen 12 months ago after being nurtured through the amateur ranks by Burnley boxing coach Brian Roche, boasting a record of 24 wins from 38 outings. But he was desperate to make the step up in class and has been training rigorously with McFadyen at Colne’s Intershape Gym to ready himself for his debut.
However, that moment has been delayed and Mushtaq has been disheartened as his dreams have been temporarily scuppered.
“I feel really disappointed,” he said. “I’m upset because I trained incredibly hard and got my weight down for the fight. I had a good crowd behind me after selling a lot of tickets and I was looking forward to it.
“I want to be a good role model for the asian community and do well for my town and my family but I’ve been pushed back.”
His coach McFadyen added: “I really feel for him. He’s been working tremendously hard and was really looking forward to his moment.
“Things like this just knock a boxer’s belief and confidence because he’s been building up for something that’s been cruelly taken away from him.
“He was ready to go but now we’ll have to hold off for a while for his next fight now.”