Zuhayar Al Qahtani: ‘I’m the first boxer with such pedigree to come out of Saudi Arabia’

George Storr talks to Zuhayar Al Qahtani, a fat guy stuck in a healthy guy’s body

When and why you started boxing:
I started when I was 10. When I was younger I used to get bullied quite a lot. My older brother used to teach me at home and then he took me to the gym.

Favourite all-time fighter:
I can’t pick one. I’ve got Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Muhammad Ali. I’d add Canelo Alvarez and Sugar Ray Robinson too.

Best fight you’ve seen:
Juan Manuel Marquez versus Manny Pacquiao. All four fights were great. An aggressive fighter in Pacquiao taking on an excellent counterpuncher in Marquez.

Personal career highlight:
Making history for Saudi Arabia. I’m the first boxer with such pedigree to come out of Saudi Arabia.

Toughest opponent:
I don’t want to sound rude but I don’t think any of them have been. Although I’m sure they’re all good fighters.

Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
I sometimes stay in the gym for four or five hours. I think that’s my best and worst attribute. I do it, but I overdo it.

Training tip:
You need to have a goal. Training without a goal is basically pointless.

Favourite meal/restaurant:
I’m a fat guy stuck in a healthy guy’s body. I like all Mediterranean food and all Arabic food.

Best friends in boxing:
The boxing bag and the boxing ring.

Other sportsperson you would like to be:
A Formula One driver, a tennis player or a UFC fighter.

Last film/TV show you saw:
Narcos. It was wicked.

Who would play you in a film of your life:
The Rock and Kevin Hart. I can be a serious person but I can also be a clown sometimes.

Have you ever been starstruck:
I’ve got pictures on my Instagram with “Prince” Naseem Hamed and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Last time you cried:
When my dog died. My dog used to come running with me.

Best advice received:
Stay committed and focused.

Worst rumour about yourself:
It was more of a misunderstanding. My friend’s father had been part of the SAS and he gave me a special beret I used to wear before fights – he asked me to wear it. People thought I was disrespecting the regiment or something, so I’ve had to ditch it as a pre-fight ritual.

Something not many people know about you:
I’m a graduate and a post-graduate engineer. Hopefully after my boxing career I’ll complete a PhD.

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