Wednesday May 6, 2009
Boxer to spruce up on his English
By NG WEI LOON
AFTER securing his spot as the second Malaysian competitor to be in the second season of The Contender Asia, Malaysian Tigers’ Faizal Ramli will need to improve on his communication skills as part of his preparation.
The 19-year-old will be attending English classes for two hours every day while refining his combat skills with a two-month training stint in Thailand before the cameras start to roll at the end of June.
Faizal, who is the fourth of 10 siblings, said he was excited about the opportunity of a lifetime to appear in the reality show.
“However, I am feeling a bit nervous because I am quiet by nature. But, I am willing to put in the effort to overcome my shortcomings and not allow it to prevent me from giving my best shot.
“This is a chance for me to make the grade and lift my family out of poverty,” he added.
Considering that another exponent Mohd Muinuddin Khadir representing the Malaysian Tigers suffered an early defeat at the recent Super Eight qualifier in Kelantan, Faizal provided the joy for the camp based at the World Muay Thai (WMC) Malaysia Gym in Kelana Jaya.
En route to victory, the lad from Pasir Puteh, Kelantan, maintained his unbeaten run, bringing the impeccable track record up to 41 bouts thus far.
“I did not want to let the people at my village and my team down because they turned up in full force and threw their support behind me. It was a meaningful outing especially savouring the victory in front of the home crowd,” said Faizal, who is also known as the “Golden Elbow”.
In the opening encounter, Faizal subdued seasoned campaigner Khoo Meng Yang (“Red Dragon”) from TNT Kickboxing Malaysia in a bout that went the full distance of three rounds.
He went on to knock out the unknown Wes Jaya of BoxxWarriors Gym with a blow using his trademark elbow in the second round for a place in the final.
“It was a tough match-up against Wes because I have not seen him in action before. For a start, it was harder to predict his moves. Based on my thorough training, I was physically well prepared for the occasion,” Faizal said.
In the other semi-final, another BoxxWarriors Gym representative Abdul Alif Mohd Zulkifli overturned the formbook and sprang a surprise to move on to the final defeating a renowned contender Tengku Shahrizal of Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM).
However, Alif’s campaign came to an end as Faizal floored him with a combination of a knee strike followed by punch to score a perfect finish in the final.
Faizal will return to Lamai Gym in Koh Samui, Thailand, with Malaysian Tigers captain Bernard “Headhunter” Radin to improve on their boxing techniques for a month and the duo will head for Bangkok to gain quality sparring as their final phase preparation.
The 37-year-old Bernard who earned his spot in the King’s Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, in December last year, said the team had faith in Faizal to come through and join him in the highly anticipated show.
“We knew that he had the potential to excel. It took a while for him to believe in his own ability. He certainly proved his worth at the recent qualifiers.
“Faizal was very confident and stayed in control against his opponents. This will be a good stepping stone for us and it will inspire others in the team to keep on striving for good results. Now, our aim is to be worthy ambassadors for the country and stay in contention as long as possible in the show,” he added.