The Shaheed Suhrawardy Indoor Stadium in Mirpur donned a different look on Thursday. A boxing ring at the centre, bright lights everywhere, boxers making their way to the ring on a red carpet with music playing in the back and the competitors waiting till the sound of the bell before starting the fight.
Bangladesh held its first ever professional boxing event with such pomp and grandeur on Thursday. But the 90 minute delay in start raised some questions on the professionalism of organisers’.
Bangladesh Boxing Foundation held the one-day event, South Asian Professional Boxing Fight Night – The Ultimate Glory’. A total of 14 boxers – 11 from Bangladesh, two from Nepal and one from India- competed in the event.
The biggest name in the event was India’s Harsh Gill. The five-time national champion of India entered the tournament with an undefeated professional record. Harsh had won his previous six professional bouts and on Thursday he maintained his record by knocking out Bangladesh's Hira Miah in the sixth round in their cruiserweight division fight .
The boxer from India’s Haryana said, “This is the era of professional boxing. It’s really popular in India. You can earn a lot from this, that’s why I even quit my job in the Indian Army. It can become popular in Bangladesh also.”
A total of seven fights took place in the event. There was another knockout finish in the tournament. Bangladesh’s Jahidul Islam knocked out his compatriot Riju Mondol in the 1 minute 20 seconds mark of their fight. In the other bouts, Aminul Islam, Utsav Ahmed, Abu Talha, Al Amin and Shuru Krishna Chakma emerged victorious.
The welterweight category fight between the Bangladesh Games gold medallist Al Amin and Nepal’s national champion Bharat Chand was expected to be the best fight of the night. The fight lived up to its expectations. After a hard-fought four-round fight, Al Amin won by 40-36 points. After the fight Al Amin said, “A new era in our boxing began today (Thursday). I am very happy that I could start it with a win.”
Around 400-500 spectators gathered to watch the event. There were two categories of tickets priced at Tk 1300 and Tk 1000 respectively. There were some foreigners in the crowd also.