BRAVE Kay Prosper slipped to a points defeat over the weekend in his EBU European Super-Lightweight title fight against Sandor Martin.
The English champion, who was stepping up in class and fighting abroad for the first time, was expected to be out of his depth.
But 36-year-old showed that was not the case as he settled in to a relatively even and cagey first couple rounds, albeit landing scoring shots rather than hurting his Spanish opponent in his hometown of Barcelona.
Prosper – who came into the fight with a 14-1-1 record – tried to match the tricky southpaw’s stance, but it quickly became apparent that this was not working against a man known for his technical ability.
Martin, 27, quickly moved ahead on the scorecards and never let that lead slip as he’s successfully done in so many of his previous fights.
With Prosper knowing he had to be more aggressive, he switched back to his orthodox stance and had some joy up close.
But his hopes of getting back into the bout were not helped by some questionable officiating by the hometown referee, who drew criticism from the commentators for deducting two points from the Luton man.
A comfortable victory for Sandor Martin – who moved 38-2-0 – sees him remain in the mix at world level, while Prosper’s performance and experience leaves him well positioned to challenge for the British title.
BE has been working with Hereford manager Josh Gowling ahead of his side’s big FA Trophy semi-final game against Woking tomorrow, and here the psychology graduate tells The Guardian all about how he’s been using computer games such as Call Of Duty to bond with his players during lockdown, plus his fascination with the analytical side of the game which he initially developed partly through a love of Football Manager, and how he’s using analytics to build a sustainable future for Hereford FC. Good luck tomorrow Josh – let’s get to Wembley!
The article can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2021/mar/26/hereford-josh-gowling-fa-trophy-semi-final-woking
Today it was announced that Beyond Entertainment’s Faisal Malik has signed a contract with Cage Warriors. The 5-0 Mixed Martial Artist has made the biggest step in his career to date signing for a promotion that has seen global MMA stars such as Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Michael Bisping and even Conor McGregor. This is a massive step up in quality in Malik’s quest to find himself at the pinnacle of the sport as a UFC Champion.
Beyond Entertainment’s Kay Prospere will fight for the European
super-lightweight title live on DAZN on April 23rd.
The English champion, nicknamed Special K, will headline the Matchroom
Boxing event as he challenges Spaniard Sandor Martin in the champion’s
Martin, 28, is ranked 7 by both the WBC and WBO. He won the vacant EBU belt in convincing fashion against Andrea Scarpa in July 2019, and has a 37-2 record.
Prospere, 36, has been English champion since beating Sam O’maison in September 2019 following a controversial draw in their first bout six
months earlier. He then successfully defended it with a unanimous points decision against Bilal Rehman last March and is 14-1.
Prospere has given Martin his credit and said “he’s good, but he’s beatable” as his sets his aspirations to win the EBU title and move towards a world title opportunity.
The fight is an opportunity for both men to prove their credentials to
step up in class, and the winner will move a step closer to a world
Kay Prospere against Sandor Martin is live on DAZN from the Badalona’s
Palau Olímpic arena on April 23rd.
Saturday night saw Faisal Malik secure his fifth professional victory in as many fights with a 1st round stoppage victory over Andrei Bogus at UFL 4. Coming into the fight Faisal was yet to go longer than 1 minute and 4 seconds in the cage and his fifth bout was not dissimilar.
Within seconds of the start Malik countered a side kick with a near perfect entry on a single leg takedown, and instantly began to swarm Bogus with some lethal ground and pound. After some sustained punishment and some unanswered blows the bout was stopped in the very first round.
This victory moves Malik to 5-0 beckoning the question of if anybody in the national bracket can come close to him or if he is already ready for a step up in quality on his rise to the top.
Surveys by FSA and BE find half of UK football fans say more must be done to get British Asians playing professionally and tackle racism against them
- Of around 4,000 pro footballers in the UK only 10 are British Asian – making up just 0.25% compared to around 7% of the population
- 46% of football fans want football to do more to increase that number
- 42% think racism towards British Asians in football is not treated seriously enough
- 86% believe more role models within the professional game would increase the number of British Asian professional footballers
- 72% would feel proud to see a British Asian captain England – despite only 15% believing we will see that happen before 2050
- One former British Asian League One player tells how he regularly experienced racism from teammates and football isn’t welcoming to British Asian players
ALMOST half of football supporters think more needs to be done to increase the number of British Asians playing professionally, new research has found.
Of around 4,000 pro footballers in the UK, only 10 are British Asian – defined as people who are predominantly South Asian and live in the UK – which represents a tiny 0.25% of players compared to about 7% of the UK population.
One nationally representative survey found that 42% believe it is more likely British Asians can make it as a pro cricketer, with fewer than 10% of those asked suggesting it is easier for them to carve out a football career.
And it revealed just one-fifth of fans are content that those in charge of the national game treat racism towards British Asians seriously enough – with more than double that number claiming otherwise.
Meanwhile, a second survey of football fans – the overwhelming majority (88%) of whom regularly attend matches – has found:
- 64% think it “shames” football that there are such a small number of British Asians playing professionally
- 86% believe more role models within the professional game would increase British Asian participation in professional football
- 72% would feel proud to see a British Asian captain England – despite only 15% believing we will see that happen before 2050
- 71% of British Asians feel that football is better set up for White and Black British players to prosper – though a similar number (72%) also admits the British Asian community needs to do more to get its youngsters involved in the game
The research, jointly commissioned and released today (THURS NOV 11) by leading fan representative group the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) and Athlete Life Management company BE, comes just weeks after the Football Association announced a code requiring clubs to meet a recruitment diversity target of 15% in executive jobs and 25% in coaching roles.
While 53% of football fans say they support a rule that mandates clubs to interview coaches and executives from British Asian and other minority backgrounds, the findings suggest further action needs to be taken.
Executive Chair of Kick It Out Sanjay Bhandari said: “There are twice as many people of Asian heritage as people of Black heritage in the UK yet there are 100 times more Black pro players than Asian pro players. That’s a massive statistical anomaly.
“It is clear that football has a long-standing problem getting British Asian players into the game and it is getting worse. Football needs to address this.
“Black players have experienced similar challenges around limiting cultural stereotypes and myths, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s.
“Great progress has been made and many of those myths have been busted. We need to see the same changes with myths around Asian players, and clubs need processes that remove these unconscious biases from the system.”
Racism in the game is seen as a clear issue, the research shows. During five years at Walsall, Maziar Kouhyar – who in August 2016 became the first Afghan-born player to play professionally in the UK – says he regularly experienced racism passed off as ‘dressing-room banter’, including on one occasion being called a ‘terrorist’ by a team-mate.
Kouhyar said: “I endured years of low-level racism from teammates, as well as that one particularly serious incident, but this kind of behaviour is so ingrained in football over so many years that people probably don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.
“It was horrible to experience but I didn’t want to complain in case I was branded a troublemaker – and I felt I had no choice but to just put up with it.”
Despite having previously been linked with a move to the Championship, Kouhyar was released last Spring after Walsall’s relegation to League Two.
Unable to even win a trial at part-time clubs, the 23-year-old former asylum seeker, who moved to the UK aged just one in 1998, left the game altogether and now sells cars for a living.
Kouhyar said: “It’s difficult to know whether being a British Asian hampered my career and if I’d still be playing if I wasn’t British Asian, but the fact there are so few British Asians in the game does seem to suggest football isn’t set up for us to fulfil our potential.
“I think this is due to various reasons. British Asians often come from poor, single-parent families who are unable to afford the money or time to take their children to training and didn’t even consider the idea that their children might be able to make a career in football. Also, I don’t think enough attention is paid by scouts to British Asians.
“Then, for those like me who do manage to turn professional, the dressing room culture isn’t particularly well suited to young men from British Asian families. The tiny number of British Asians playing professional football in the UK really does speak for itself. Something needs to be done to improve the situation.”
The research also examined the reasons why British Asians find it so hard to win careers as professional footballers.
Almost half (49%) of football fans polled pointed to cultural barriers and 37% suggested structural racism towards British Asians in the game remain a barrier to a successful career.
This chimes with former West Ham and Dagenham & Redbridge defender Anwar Uddin, whose father is from Bangladesh.
Now assistant manager at Aldershot and the Diversity and Campaigns Manager for the FSA, the 39-year-old said: “When I was a younger player, I felt uncomfortable at times in social settings which was a key part of team bonding as I always drank soft drinks.
“I thought it would make the situation worse and so at times I just wouldn’t go and make excuses. This can sometimes have players labelled as a loner or not good socially.
“If a coach has to make a decision on a player, apart from a trial what other information do they have to make a decision on that player? If you’re Asian that’s a factor, because you’re different.
“A coach may wonder, will they have to fast, will they be antisocial, or lean on many old-fashioned stereotypes. All these things may play into a decision.
“I hope people are open-minded and look at it positively or fairly moving forward as there is so much talent within the Asian community.”
While football supporters largely tended to view as myths the long-held views that British Asians were not physically or mentally strong enough to make a career in football (with just 13% suggesting those factors as reasons), and lacked ability or came from unsupportive families (both 18%), 47% think a lack of involvement of British Asians in coaching and scouting means British Asian players are overlooked and almost a quarter (22%) believe more British Asian FA registered representatives would help to increase the numbers of pro footballers of that heritage.
Razi Hassan, co-owner of BE, which has as one of its aims to get more British Asians playing professionally and is working with Kouhyar to find him a new club, said: “The survey illustrates that there are several factors associated with the underrepresentation of British Asians in football.
“It also shows that there are one or two core challenges that need to be overcome, and we are campaigning for this.
“However, as an organisation, we are determined to influence where we can, and to that end, we believe that a lack of professional representation and guidance from individuals that understand the cultural sensitivities and nuances of being British Asian and trying to make it as a professional footballer is a space that we can impact.”
Kouhyar added: “I know plenty of British Asian lads I grew up with who were as good technically, mentally and physically as anyone else and if given the chance and properly trained from a young age, I’m sure they could have made it as professionals.
“If they, and I, had been represented by people who understood what it takes for a British Asian to be successful in professional football and had been able to help us better navigate the system, it would definitely help.
“I don’t feel I was given a fair chance of success in the game, and while I have had some injuries, I will always wonder if it was also partly down to being British Asian, or not having a representative who understood my culture. I can’t help thinking that with this support I would still be playing professionally.
“But I still have plenty to give and I’d love to give a career in football another go. Hopefully BE, by working with clubs, scouts and the families of young British Asian footballers, can make that difference.”
Dr Stefan Lawrence, Senior Lecturer in Socio-cultural aspects of Sport and Leisure at Birmingham’s Newman University and one of the leading academics in the field of Asian participation in football, said he welcomed anything that improves the numbers of British Asians playing professional soccer, including the launch of BE.
He said: “The underrepresentation of male British Asian footballers in the pro game is one that has endured for a number of decades.
“Although welfare is now being taken more seriously by many professional clubs the issue is often that this work is believed to be the sole remit of a single officer or department, meaning expertise across all required areas of welfare is not always available in house.
“There is a definite need for welfare to be delivered in an increasingly bespoke way, to better reflect the unique needs of athletes.”
Uddin adds: “When I joined West Ham in 2001, I was asked why there was such a lack of British Asian players playing professionally. Sadly, 19 years later I am being asked the same questions, which is disappointing. It’s right to say there are problems.”
Linus Udofia defended his English middleweight title for the first time with a stoppage victory over John Harding jr in the 9th round. Both men were given an opportunity to showcase their talent on a wider platform on Saturday night on sky sports, and the early exchanges gave the impression we were in for a thrilling contest.
The early rounds saw Udofia as the busier man, however it seemed Harding jr was finding his range slightly better and the first round seemed an intriguing match up, Udofia ended the first with a flurry which saw Harding on the receiving end of some solid shots.
As the battle continued both men had their moments and Harding was making it very awkward for Udofia to show off some of his superior boxing finesse. Despite this awkward approach Udofia continued to land combinations and show moments of class. As it got into the later stages of the fight Udofia found his range better and improved some shot selection as he slowly but surely took control of the fight.
The fight progressed and it became visible that Harding was suffering from fatigue, and it just felt like his shot at the national title was slipping out of reach yet again. Udofia still growing into the fight and picking up momentum both on the scorecards and in the fight landed a solid right hand to drop Harding jr to the canvas.
Harding rose to his feet but the contest was waved off, seeing Udofia secure his 16th professional victory and complete his maiden defence of the English title in style.