Unbeaten boxer Zuhayr Al-Qahtani is sure he can become the first Saudi Arabian to win a world title and is already on the way to becoming the poster boy for sport in the Middle East.
The London-based welterweight (4-0), who makes his MTK Global debut in Brentwood on Saturday, built an impressive amateur record of 50-4 before turning professional at 27 and wants a title shot by the end of 2018.
Perhaps the most famous moment in Saudi Arabian sport to date was Saeed Al-Owairan’s incredible solo goal against Belgium at the 1994 World Cup – and Zuhayr is confident his boxing exploits can further inspire Middle Eastern sport to unprecedented levels of success and exposure.
Zuhayr said: “People in Saudi Arabia still talk about that Al-Owairan goal. Every so often, a champion comes along and does something special. Now, that’s me. The difference is I’m going to be around and dominate for a long time.
“I’m here to make history. There’s yet to be a Saudi Arabian world champion so I’m going to be the first. Winning a world title is the ultimate goal for me and it’s one I will achieve.
“Back in Saudi Arabia, it’s a tribal culture. I’m from an eminent tribe and for them to have one of their own climbing the ranks in sport is a huge deal.
“I’m going to be the face of sport in Saudi Arabia and in places like Dubai. There’s so much potential there.”
Zuhayr began boxing in London at the age of 12 and went on to clinch the Novices Under-20s title and the London ABAs. Having spent the majority of his life there, ‘Triple Z’ insists he’ll never be short on support in the English capital.
Zuhayr added:”Now I’ve got the right backing from MTK Global, I could sell out The O2 arena already because of my huge family.
“I’ve boxed for several clubs in London – but mainly I competed for David Haye’s old club; Fitzroy Lodge. I got robbed against some Team GB kid as an amateur but hardly ever lost.
“Now I’m professional, I want to fight for the British title at the end of this year. If I fight for a Southern Area title before then, I’d win it and vacate it on the same day. I just want to fight as much as possible.”