GISBURN-based boxing coach Kevin Maree claims that new capture Haidher Riaz has faster hands than Amir Khan.
Maree, who has talented fighters Kenny Anderson and Luke Blackledge on his books, swooped to sign up the 20-year-old to a professional contract after an extensive scouting mission.
The promising light middleweight boxer, moulded by renowned Burnley coach Bert Myers, is set to make his professional bow at Colne Muni in May following his move to Maree’s base at Stirk House.
Riaz, who had attempted to gain selection for Pakistan’s Olympic boxing team last summer, had been touted as one of his nation’s leading lights for Rio 2016 but has opted to push forward in the sport by turning to the pro ranks.
“He’s a former junior ABA champion who has been training with Bert Myers,” said Maree. “I’d heard rave reviews about Haidher, complimenting his natural ability to box. I’ve watched him for years on the back of that so it’s great to have him on our books now.
“This last summer he went to Pakistan to get in the Olympic team but unfortunately the squad had already been picked, though he did great in the trials. He would’ve made it for Rio 2016 but he’s decided to push himself and progress in the sport by turning professional.
“He’s experienced and mature for his age, he lives the right lifestyle, he’s dedicated and has got a cracking family behind him. I’m fully confident that he is ready for this step up and he’ll make his debut at Colne Muni in May.”
Maree added: “He’s an exciting prospect but frightening at the same time. He’s got a similar style to Amir Khan in terms of speed and his ridiculously fast hands though I think he hits faster than Khan. He really is a talented lad.
“He’s lovely out of the ring but spiteful inside it. He’s flashy in terms of speed, not in a Prince Naseem kind of mould, and he’s got plenty of ability. I’m really excited to train him and watch his development in boxing. He’s not your normal, run of the mill fighter. As an amateur he often struggled to get bouts which slowed him down and hampered his progression slightly. It’s great news and this adds to the buzz that the region has got back for boxing. Luke (Blackledge) and Shayne (Singleton) are doing fantastically well and it’s a great advertisement for the area. We’re looking forward to May now to showcase Haidher’s ability.”