Sajid Abid On the Realities Within a Tough Sport



Sajid Abid On the Realities Within a Tough Sport

“Ever since I’ve taken my first loss it’s made me realise that I am a bit better than I thought I was,” 29-year-old English title contender  Sajid Abid told me as we discussed his boxing career.

The Derby born super lightweight holds a professional record of 13-2 and is looking to rebound from a September 2023 points defeat to Denis Denikajev. On the line that night was the English super lightweight crown – it’s a title Abid is eager to fight for again.

In order to do that, he must win a tune-up bout on April 27 against, at time of writing, an opponent still to be confirmed. The fight is scheduled to take place at Arleston Hall in Abid’s home town of Derby.

“It’s going to be a four rounder just to get me back out there. If I win it gets me back into title contention,” Sajid stated.

“For me, it can be hard to stay motivated for a four rounder or a fight against a journeyman – no disrespect to any journeyman because they are fucking warriors, they know what they’re doing. Everything is a process, you have to step on each stone before you get to the end anyway. Like I said, regardless of how I feel, I’ve just got to get shit done.”

As well as staying motivated to get back to the level of boxing he believes he should be at, Sajid also works as a prescription manager for the National Health Service and trains clients in boxing in order to pay the bills.

Our conversation covered a range of topics. Boxing at a professional level that doesn’t come with huge financial rewards and how other aspects of life for Sajid fit around that was at the heart of it.

Getting Started in Boxing and Talking Undefeated Records

“I started boxing when I was 12, kind of off and on,” Sajid said to NY Fights. (Click here to read more Morrison prospect watch stories.)

“My uncle was into boxing in a big way. He looked at me at one point and said ‘Dammit Saj, you’re unfit, you have asthma, you’re not that intimidating so let me take you to a boxing gym!’ I went to the gym but only really started taking it seriously when I turned 17 or 18. That was when I started training more frequently. I only had one amateur fight when I was 18. Looking back I wish I had spent longer in the amateurs just to understand the sport more but I turned pro and it was a case of always learning on the job. I can’t complain though, I’ve gotten pretty far with what I have.”

I was interested to hear Sajid’s thoughts on no longer carrying an undefeated record as he moves forward with his ring campaign.

“You end up becoming a sought out product as a fighter by remaining undefeated,” Sajid remarked.

He continued: “Your job is to fight and to win – if you lose, some people think he’s not invincible so let’s move on to the next guy who can’t be beat.”

“A lot of boxers end up quitting after their first defeat,” Sajid elaborated as we continued to ponder unbeaten records.

“The whole undefeated thing has been so ingrained in the new generation fighters, many of them think what’s the point as soon as they taste defeat. The only thing you can always do is give a good account of yourself. No matter who I step in the ring with I always give it 100% so I can never walk away upset. I’ve lost twice now. Recently I lost for the English title. It was a fight which in my opinion I should have won but things didn’t go my way. I don’t make excuses, I just say ‘fuck it, I lost’ and go again.”

“I’m not trying to protect a record. I’m past that era. I got past that when I took my first loss. I now want to be remembered for taking big fights and making sure everyone knows I’m there to fight,” Sajid concluded.

Fighting Style and Remaining Dedicated Despite Little Financial Reward

“I like being in a tear-up, I like being in a war,” Sajid said laughing when I asked about his boxing style.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m a boxer. I am good at boxing, but at the same time I don’t mind having a good swing with someone. That’s just the excitement I get from it,” he added.

With his April 27 ring return approaching when we spoke, I wanted to find out how Sajid’s training was going. His answer left me impressed with his dedication to boxing.

“Training is going well for this one,” Sajid said regarding my enquiry.

“I train in Wakefield with Abed Moughrbel so I do a lot of back and forth from where I live in Derby and Wakefield – it is about a 90-minute drive. For a typical four rounder I will do my cardio and strength training in Derby then do my boxing work in Wakefield. For a bigger fight I end up moving to Wakefield for a training camp.”

With the travel and expense of that taken into account we discussed the reality that faces most professional boxers. Most have to balance boxing and training with a job outside the ring.

“I think it’s something like only 5% of professional boxers box full-time,” Sajid told NY Fights.

“People aren’t actually aware of just how boxing is. Many think that because you are a professional boxer you’ve got this, you’ve got that, but really a lot of pro boxers in the UK don’t see any money until they fight on TV, or get called in to be an away fighter. Outside of that, not much money is being made and most boxers are doing it literally just for the sport and competition.”

Employment, Pride in Derby and Family Heritage and Learning About Making Weight

With boxing not providing Sajid with a steady income I was interested to learn about his day-to-day employment.

“I work in a surgery as a prescription manager,” Sajid informed me.

“I deal with people’s medications. I liaise with pharmacies and hospitals. That’s only part-time. I also train people in boxing. For example, right now, right now as soon as I finish this call I’m going to Ultra Flex Gym to train a couple of people. It’s something that I enjoy. Because I’ve been boxing for such a long time I enjoy the science of it so being able to pass on some knowledge is amazing.”

I also wanted to give Sajid an opportunity to share some of his heritage with NY Fights readers.

“My family heritage is from Pakistan. My dad was born in Pakistan, my mum was born in England. I was born and raised in Derby. I love the place – such a nice town with amazing people,” Sajid said.

We discussed the impact Amir Khan’s career had on the UK’s Asian community.

“It’s been amazing,” Sajid said with enthusiasm.

“Ever since Amir Khan, there have been a lot of Pakistani kids, Asian kids in general coming out and taking up the sport. Talents like Hamzah Sheeraz and Adam Azim are literally a response to how well Amir Khan did. I’m part of that generation who looked up to Amir Khan – being able to fight on his undercard was amazing (Sajid boxed on a 2019 card in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia which featured Amir Khan vs. Billy Dib) – so I’m quite happy with how things are.”

With the clock ticking on our conversation I asked Sajid for some professional insight into making weight. What works for him?

“For me, making weight is more of a mental thing,” Sajid began.

He continued: “As fighters we kind of put our bodies through hell anyway but at the end of it, when you can’t eat, you can’t drink, you’re dry as fuck, it becomes a real mental challenge. I fight at 63kg (140 pounds), so when I hit 69kg I go into a process where I water load for several days, it’s all monitored, then I go running, jump on a bike, whatever and hope the final kilos get sweated out. If they don’t, more exercise is needed.”

After explaining that, Sajid went on to share the complexities of making weight.

“With weight cuts, there’s a very fine margin of error. You have to be careful and look after every aspect of it. You also need to consider still having energy to fight the fight. It has to be done scientifically. I’m grateful to be around certain professionals in their fields who know what they’re doing. I’ve been working with a nutritionist as well so the knowledge he passes on, combined with a little I learned studying sports science in college is what I put to use during the process of making weight.”

All Focus on April 27

Sajid Abid is a busy man. His hours are filled working, training clients and doing the preparation he needs to be at his best when his fights come around.

With his goal of earning another shot at the English 140 pound title, Sajid can’t afford to get distracted or derailed on April 27. That is the reality for him at this moment in his boxing career.

My concluding question to him was about his focus on his upcoming bout.

“My head is focused on April 27, regardless of who the opponent is,” Sajid emphasised to NY Fights.

He concluded, “Although it is a tune-up fight for me anything can happen in boxing. Being in the sport so long has made me realise that no matter how simple you think a fight is going to be, it’s never the case. In boxing it only takes one punch.”

Follow Sajid Abid on X (formerly Twitter) @sajid_abid

A boxing fan since his teenage years, Morrison began writing about the sport in July 2016. He appreciates all styles of boxing and has nothing but respect for those who get in the ring for our entertainment. Morrison is from Scotland and can be found on Twitter @Morrie1981.