In just about a week from now we can see Eisa alDah, the 32-year-old Emirati boxer challenging his Mexican component Miguel Angel Munguia in the ring. On February 2, more matches of this kind will be held at the annual Dubai International Boxing Championship, organised by the Dubai Sports Council.
Eisa's professional career kicked when he defeated American boxer Lari Foster with a knockout in 2007. Competing as a welter-weight, he has fought 11 fights since, of which he lost two.
"I am not a world champion, as many people think," says Eisa modestly. "But my first professional fight was my first TV performance, too. I had the publicity on my side since the start."
However, to reach that publicity fights were fought by the boxer, more by the word of mouth rather than hands. "Now people can see what I was seeing, but it was quite different when I started.”
It was karate that first got Eisa into the school of fighting. "There was no boxing school in Dubai, it did not exist here," he tells. His Syrian trainer was the first to recognise the potential in him. Later his passion for the sport brought Eisa to Abu Dhabi, where he began training with a local federation.
But training was not just enough for Eisa. "I looked at boxing in other countries and wondered: why can’t the UAE have this? Why do we not have competitions, world champions and world trainers?
"It was hard work. In the beginning, nobody wanted to listen to me. Nobody wanted to see what I saw," remembers Eisa. But then came Jesse Robinson, a US-boxing promoter who saw exactly what Eisa saw.
"I needed him for his experience in promotion and he needed me to get things done in the UAE." The two men joined forces and established their own promotion organisation. And after a lot of hard work, their efforts led in 2007 to the first UAE-based championship: Destiny in the Desert.
"It was like a dream come true. The name only gave me a high. That was me, destiny in the desert!" It was destiny indeed; it was at this championship that Eisa, under pressure of the media coverage that he had imposed on himself, confirmed his stance with the knockout against Lari Foster.
From that moment Eisa did not let go of his personal goal to make boxing a top sport in his own country. "I gave up my job and told my parents: I am going to be a promoter. It is hard work, but I learned how to be a business man, how to be patient and to reach a goal. It is great to see that people in the UAE are now enthusiastic about boxing. My next dream is to be able to fight a match in the Hamdan Complex."
Despite all the verbal communication Eissa did not forget his physical training. "Now when an important match nears, all I do is eat, train and sleep. I still want to become a world champion and that is what it takes. It is not easy, but it requires a lifestyle to be followed.”
For the coming match, Eissa hopes to make the most of his speed. "I have fast hands, contrary to my component who has strong punches." Miquel is especially known for his knockouts. I do not want to be knocked out in this match."
The Dubai International Boxing Championship will be held on the February 2, 2012 at the Aviation Clucb Dubai. Other boxers at the ring will be American Bob Sapp, Swedish boxers Tufan and Mikaela.
Tickets can be purchased at Virgin Megastore, Time Out Tickets and at selected station in Enoc and Eppco stores for between Dh150 and Dh500. Benefits of the event will be donated to the Dubai Autism Centre.
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