Adil Anwar admits he is still coming to terms with his latest boxing success, but he won’t stop until he brings a full haul of titles back to Leeds.
Anwar, from Burley, capped a stellar recent rise in the sport by winning the Prizefighter light-welterweight trophy in Wolverhampton earlier this month – adding the trophy to the English welterweight belt that he secured in November last year.
It has been a remarkable rise for the boxer, who joked that his Twitter followers went from “400 to 2,000 in one night” after his Prizefighter final win over Tyrone Nurse, but the 24-year-old is intent on winning a fair few more fans yet and putting Leeds even further on the sporting map.
“I still can’t get over the flood of well wishes and messages that came in,” said Anwar, reflecting on his recent success.
“So much new support was generated from the tournament and a lot of people were surprised that they had never heard of me before.
“in all honesty, winning the English title did not do as much for my career as I’d hoped.
“But since winning the Prizefighter an explosion of interest has come.
“Now I am getting called into meetings, events and press talks with my agent, Niyaz Raof. I have hardly had time to relax.
“One minute I’m in the gym, the next I’m on my way to London for a television interview and then, before I know it, I’m staying up until 1am for an interview with the media in the United States. It’s incredible, hard work, but very motivating.
“This is what I was born to do. Win fights, win hearts and make a difference. It sounds a cliche, but I’m here to make a difference and despite my world title dreams, I will never lose my roots.”
Those roots are firmly embedded in Leeds – the city in which Anwar was born with the boxer having learned the ropes at Lawnswood High School and Notre Dame Sixth Form College.
The light-welterweight admits that he is proud to bring success to his city.
“I was born in Leeds, raised, studied and trained there,” he said.
“This is where I came from, Leeds is the city that developed me and where I will always affiliate to. We are such a great sporting city too.
“We have a fantastic football and rugby league team. We also have a massive cricket base and to add boxing to our list of proud achievements would be a great honour.
“I actually wanted to wear the Leeds united shirt to the tournament but wasn’t allowed to by the organisers in case it created hostility!” Now Anwar hopes to be granted his next wish – a British title fight with current belt holder Ashley Theopane.
First he must beat Lenny Daws in a British title eliminator but Anwar is confident of success in that bout and beyond.
“Once I beat Lenny Daws in the British title eliminator fight I will be focusing solidly on the British title,” he said.
“Right now Ashley has to fight Steve Williams in the next British title fight and I have been granted the British title eliminator against Lenny Daws.
“If Ashley beats Williams, he might slip away and get some more time to hide.
“But I’m hot on his tail and even hotter on the tail of getting that British title belt.
“Once I have brought the British title to Leeds I will quickly be closing in on a European and then international titles.”