AS A STUDENT at Notre Dame Sixth Form College, the future for Leeds amateur boxing champion Adil Anwar looked extremely bright – only for his progress to be thrown horrifically off course by a car accident in 2005.
The teenager’s dreams of turning professional looked to be ruined and after 14 months out of the ring the Yorkshire ace admits there were times when he even thought his fight career was over.
But fast forward six years and the Burley-based star is now an international champion and has Ashley Theophane’s current light-welterweight British championship belt next on his hit list.
As youngster Anwar, dubbed ‘The Platinum Kid’ by his trainers, had the world at his feet – the Leeds student was an England international, having won two national titles, and everything pointed towards a move to the professional ranks.
But his ambitions were rocked when he was involved in a car crash – a friend’s vehicle forced off the road, rolling over and leaving rear-seat passenger Anwar with a dislocated shoulder.
His family had just migrated to Pakistan so it was, understandably, a major low point in his life and his boxing career stalled, all hopes of breaking into the professional ranks looking to have disappeared.
But he has fought back from the adversity and the tough-as-teak pugilist was crowned welterweight international masters champion after defeating Nathan Graham back in March, and he’s determined his success story won’t end there.
“After the car accident I thought it was the end of my career,” admitted Anwar.
“I was out of boxing for the following 14 months and it was a bad phase in my life as I was without family who had left the country for a few years.
“My boxing career looked bleak but my friends and colleagues kept asking about my boxing and this motivated me to give them something positive to talk about.
“I genuinely felt I was a wasted talent and, despite the difficulties, I continued to train at the gym, and after continuous hard work, I managed to breakthrough the ranks of the amateur life and into the world of professional boxing.
“It wasn’t easy to get back into boxing, but I did. And after winning my first pro fight I was on cloud nine.”
That first pro fight, which came two years after the accident in June 2007, came against Craig Tomes, but it was followed by defeat five months later against Graeme Higginson.
However, the defeat acted only as a wake-up call and four years later Anwar was defeating Graham in his home town in front of thousands at the famous York Hall Bethnal Green venue in London earlier this year.
Anwar – a big supporter of both Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos – now has his eyes on the both the British Lonsdale belt as well as taking Theophane’s mantle but is only struggling to find suitable opponents to box.
“It’s been a struggle but things are beginning to shape up nicely,” said Anwar, who has had 13 professional fights, 12 of which he has won – six by the way of knockout.
“Now I aim to win the British Lonsdale title within the next six months. I was hoping to book a fight in October against Karl Place but he pulled out.
“It’s been hard for me getting to where I am but I’ve persevered and boxing is now my life completely. It has now become my passion and I cannot imagine my life without it.”
It has been some journey for the local ringmaster, especially considering the circumstances in which he first became involved in the sport as a student at Lawnswood High School back in the year 2000.
Anwar, whose dad named his ‘Adil’s Takeaway’ Burley business after his son, recalls: “My cousin was suspended from school for confronting a fellow student who I had an altercation with and my father then decided that I should take up some sort of self-defence sport.
“I stumbled across Bateson’s Amateur Boxing Club on Burley Hill, which is where Martin Bateson, who became my first trainer, noticed potential in me.”
A decade on Anwar is now one of the club’s biggest success stories – and a success story that he hopes will ultimately inspire others.
The light-welterweight fighter knows he has not yet made the big time – the Leeds ace continuing to work part-time for Age Partnership with his new agent, Niyaz Raof, keeping his feet firmly on the ground. In the boxing ring, though, Anwar only intends continuing onwards and upwards.
“My ambition is to be a full- time training and fighting professional boxer without the need to work elsewhere,” said Anwar, who has six younger brothers and one sister.
“I’d like to achieve my full potential and put Leeds on the map internationally.
“I just want to leave my mark in the world of boxing as a natural talent and to have boxers of the future look up to me.
“I want to inspire the younger generation to get involved in sport and become a role-model for the youngsters of today.”
There are certainly few more inspiring stories than his.
l Anybody interested in sponsoring Adil should email firstname.lastname@example.org