KING TO PUT ALI FRIENDSHIP ASIDE

Cardiff’s Kyle King (3-3) is preparing to put friendship aside when he meets old gym mate Najah Ali (5-4-1, 1KO) in the ring for real. They will fight on Welsh boxing legend Steve Robinson’s first show as a promoter in a six round super-flyweight contest.. Despite having spent plenty of time training alongside each other, King says it’s a fight he took in a heart beat when he heard it was possible. He said, “As soon as they phoned, I said yes, it’s a no brainer for me. It’s a great fight. To be honest, I know it’s a real fifty-fifty fight and I can’t wait to box in Cardiff in front of all my fans. “It’s a real tough fight and I know I’m up against it. We’ve sparred a lot of rounds together and we know each other very well. It was always close when we sparred and the fight will probably be the same. “We’re friends but there’s no awkwardness, I think we both always knew the fight would happen one day. When I boxed on Kevin Hayde’s show (March 2012), Naj’s name was mentioned but they ended up getting someone else in because Naj wasn’t available. This time, it’s on and we’ve both jumped at the chance. “We had a laugh in the gym and we always got on with each other. The sparring was always good too and he came to help me out with sparring when I boxed Darren Pryce. He did me a favour there and I appreciated it, we’ve always got on but it’s different when you get in the ring.” Ali represented his home country of Iraq in the 2004 Athens Olympics before settling in Wales seven years ago. Nowadays, the 33-year-old is trained by the experienced Dai Gardiner in Gelligaer and he has big ambitions of his own having finally being granted British citizenship last summer. King knows he’s in for a tough night, he said, “I think I’ll be going in as the underdog, I think a lot of people are going to see the fight as Ali being a bit too much for me but people who have seen us spar, they all know it’s a different story. “He’s going to counter, I know he is and he’s going to take the centre of the ring to jab. I like to take centre of the ring too, so we won’t have to go looking for each other, it’s going to be a hard fight for the both of us.” In his ten fights as a professional, Ali has mixed in top domestic class against opponents like Paul Butler, Don Broadhurst and Shinny Bayaar. King recognises that he’ll have to be at his best to beat Ali and he says his trainer Jamie Arthur, former Commonwealth Games gold medallist, will bring it out of him. He said, “I’ll be better than I’ve ever been before, I know that. Jamie is already bringing out the best in me, he’s been doing it this week in the gym. My weight has been flying off already, I feel strong and I’ve still got eight weeks to go. “It’s the first time I’ve ever had notice for a fight and I’ll be a different fighter when I get in there. I know what Najah is dangerous with and I know what I’ve got to look out for. He’s probably thinking the same as well, so I don’t think there’ll be any feeling out when we get in there. We know what we’ve got to do to beat each other and it’ll be a good fight from the off.”

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