British Boxing News talk to Sohail 'Showstar' Ahmad just days before his fifth professional outing at the York Hall, London this Saturday October 11th as the 26-year-old light welterweight from London takes on Kristian Dochev from Bulgaria in a four round contest. Showstar, signed with Goodwin Promotions, talks to us about his training at RJ's Gym, that amazing punch to KO Graham Fearn and sparring with English champion, Mitchell Smith.
Your pro debut was back in June last year, how was that for you? "I felt a lot more nervous than usual as it was my first ever fight with no head guards and smaller gloves."
What are the main differences between that debutant then and the Sohail Ahmad we are going to see this Saturday night? "I would like to think I've improved a little bit since my first pro fight but I still have a lot to learn and improve on."
The famous 'home of boxing' York Hall has been the setting for all five of your pro fights, is this a home to you now? Do you feel relaxed when fighting in such a familiar venue or do the nerves still get to you pre-fight? "I feel nervous each and every time I have a fight coming up. I believe it's a good thing as it makes you prepare for it and pushes you that little bit extra in training."
You have been showing significant improvements between fights, what does this come down to? Great trainers, hard work, long hours in the gym...what's the secret? "I have changed trainers since my second fight. I'm now training with Rod Julian at RJ's Gym and he gives me his time and studies me and pays attention to me which I never had before in my amateur career or for my first two pro fights. So that makes me want to push even harder in training and perform to the best of my ability."
You scored your first KO win just a month ago in September, coming in the second round over opponent, Graham Fearn. That was one devastating uppercut that you hit him with and he was out cold as a result of the shot. Talk us through that punch? "I wasn't looking for a knock out as we had a game plan to box him off, as Graham Fearn is a very experienced boxer. It was something that we were working on in training and in sparring and it all came together in my last fight. I respect my opponents and made sure he was ok before I went off to celebrate with my fans."
You are facing Kristian Dochev, known as 'The Warrior' from Bulgaria, this Saturday night. He has 11 wins and 4 KO's on his ledger and has been in the ring with some unbeaten prospects recently such as Luke Paddock and Rakeem Noble. What do you know of him and how have you prepared for this fight - bearing in mind that he scored his first ever stoppage win exactly three months ago to the day that you two meet? "This guy has a lot more experience than me and other guys that I've boxed so I'm not going in careless. It's an honour to be fighting guys with much more experience then me so I can learn from these fights and hopefully move on to bigger things in the future."
Are you looking to continue the trend from your last fight and go for the big shots in the hope of doubling your KO ratio? "I'm just going to stick to the game plan and box him off and if the big shot comes then let it come."
You sparred English champ, Mitchell Smith just a week ago, how was that for you? "Sparring with Mitchell smith was a great experience and I picked up a few things from him during our spar. They liked me and I got on with them well so we will be working together for my next fight, especially as he is fighting for the WBO European title and I'm fighting on December 13th again."
If you're sparring champions in training then it must be making you hungry for your own titles? "Getting mixed up with great talent such as Mitchell and others makes me want to improve my game and to be able to hold my own in sparring with them. The titles will come, no doubt, but all in good time, I'm not even worried about that one slight bit. "
How will you relax before your fight, what calms you or gets you in the zone? "I'm going to just try to spend time with friends, watch boxing videos and go to the cinema and watch a movie."
Tickets are priced at £35, £60 and £100 and are available directly from the Showstar Team on 07554 665 407.