Clitheroe coach Kevin Maree believes Haidher Riaz and Qasim Niaz will add to the region’s burgeoning boxing talent after the pair added to their debut victories at Colne Muni.
In front of a home crowd the duo recorded respective wins over Kevin McCauley and Jamie Zaszlos.
Riaz adapted well to his foe’s aggressive and relentless style. Normally a composed and methodical fighter, the 21-year-old was forced to work hard, dig in and, at times, scrap.
He moved fluently in the opening round, finding McCauley’s chin on several occasions while switching effectively from head to body. After weathering an early second round storm, Riaz took command again, pummeling his opponent’s frame. The third was an even affair, with both opening up and trading blows, before Riaz forced the initiative with his left jab in the final round, which saw him land a crushing right and secure a 39-37 points triumph.
Meanwhile, Niaz bravely and virtuously fought in his grandma’s memory after she sadly passed away in the build up to the contest. A technically gifted boxer, Maree’s potent protege swiftly switched from orthodox to southpaw to out-smart his opponent.
His stinging jab, with either glove, consistently pierced the defence of Zaszlos whose nose slowly reddened. With his hands low he was rocked a number of times, but never looked troubled. As the bout progressed, he started to dominate with penetrative combinations, that forced a competitive fight in his favour 39-37.
“I was happy with both of them,” said Maree. “Unfortunately Qasim had a terrible build up to the fight because his Grandma died. His head wasn’t really there but it was a very good performance. I have a huge amount of respect for him for getting through mentally and winning the fight.
“Haidher’s usually a more composed, counter-punching style of fighter so four rounds against McCauley didn’t really suit that. He was put under pressure and needed to work hard and he adapted incredibly well. It was a good win for him.”