IN A WEEK where Queensberry have announced a new series of shows specifically for prospects, and SIX new signings, we are proud to announce another pair of aspiring punchers have joined the stable.
Introducing SONNY LISTON ALI and JAKE HENTY.
SONNY LISTON ALI
NATIONAL amateur champion Sonny Liston Ali is the latest young hopeful to join the ever-expanding Queensberry Promotions stable.
It is a name fight fans will easily remember and one that the Romford Super-Lightweight wants known through his own performances.
Incredibly his birth name has little connection with Muhammad Ali who twice defeated Sonny Liston in the 1960s.
Ali, 22, explains: “I am called Sonny after my Grandad who has that name and Ali is my Dad’s surname because his family several generations back were from Bangladesh.
“It was my Mum who added the name Liston so obviously everyone must think it is after the Heavyweight rivalry in the 1960s.”
His name caused further confusion when Ali was a star amateur winning two National Schoolboy titles, two Three Nations championships and a hat-trick of wins at the prestigious Swedish Box Cup.
He said: “When I was an amateur I boxed under the name Sonny Ali, and opponents would expect to be boxing a little Asian kid who tried to fight like Naseem Hamed.
“They would get in the ring and look across at a pasty white kid getting behind his jab.
“I had a good reputation in the amateurs so my name became known, but there were some kids who had no idea until they saw me.”
“I have been sparring with a lot of top professionals like Ohara Davies and although it’s been hard I held my own with some good fighters.
“That has convinced me that I should turn professional and of course I want to reach world level. You’ve got to be in it to win it.”
His amateur CV made Ali one of the best prospects in British boxing, but at 17 he drifted away from the sport for three years.
“I missed out on so much as a youngster because of boxing. When I was 17 I got my first car and took some time out,” said Ali who hopes to make his debut in May or June.
“I got a girlfriend, had some time with friends, holidays and enjoyed life. I’m glad I did it because it was better living a life then instead of when I’m 25 or 26 and into my professional career.
“Even when I returned I was in and out of the gym at first so I had a couple of unlicensed fights just to keep me focused even though I knew they were easy fights.
“Also there are no Senior ABA Championships this year. If I waited and next year’s Seniors never took place I would be mid-twenties before I turned professional.
“There are a lot of fighters turning professional because of the amateur situation. Amateur boxers can’t even train.
“I’m just happy to have signed with a major promoter and now I have to get in there and deliver although I know everything wont happen overnight.”
OUTSTANDING AMATEUR STAR Jake Henty is poised to turn professional and has signed a promotional agreement with Frank Warren and Queensberry.
The super welterweight, who has just turned 21, won three National titles across his stint in the amateur code, as well as represented England in international competition over a period of five years. Having competed in the Tri-Nations and Europeans, Jake clocked up 50 fights with only five going against him.
Inspired to box by his cousins, Jake took up the sport at the age of six and currently trains under Ryan Barrett at the Gumshield Boxing Gym in Eltham.
“I am looking forward to boxing for Frank and Queensberry and I am looking to go as far as I can possibly go,” said the Southpaw on his promotional pact.
“Frank is just the best man to go professional with and, with the stage I am at, he is definitely the best man for me. Obviously I have seen a lot of young fighters go with him before and do well, which proves he is the right man to take me forward.
“My manager Richard Clarke made the connection for me with him having worked with Queensberry before and that was my way into getting to fight for Frank.”
Based in Welling where he forged a friendship with fellow local Archie Sharp, it appears Jake shares a few fighting traits with the ‘Sharpshooter’.
“I am an elusive boxer and I would say I am exciting and pretty strong. I am not a standard style ordinary boxer and I think I am stronger than I am fast. You could describe me as a strong counter puncher.
“I am waiting for news on when I will make my debut, but I am hoping it comes around about the end of August. I’ve got quite a few fans waiting to support me so I will have plenty of backing when the time comes.”