'Arabian Warrior' Eisa Al Dah earned the admiration and respect of boxing fans in the UAE with a clinical performance against Mexican journeyman Miguel Angel Munguia at the Aviation Club stadium in Dubai on Thursday night.
Al Dah earned a unanimous points decision in the six-round light welterweight bout at the Dubai International Boxing Championships presented by EMD Sports Services in association with the Dubai Sports Council. The proceeds of the 10-fight card of the evening were in aid of the Dubai Autism Centre.
American kickboxer Bob 'The Beast' Sapp may have brought the roof down with his mere presence when he won the final bout of the night by stopping Swedish champion Toufan 'Storm' Pirani in the second round, but there was little doubt Al Dah was the real hero going by the chants of 'Eisa' which resonated around the stadium as he entered the ring.
Al Dah did not disappoint his fans as he kept his date with destiny in a fight which went according to script.
UAE's first and only professional boxer, Al Dah extended his career record to eight wins from 10 fights to put the 33-year-old on course to pursue his dream of becoming a world champion in two years' time.
Al Dah displayed his ring maturity by adopting a cautious approach against his experienced 29-year-old opponent who has won 19 of his 22 fights by knock out of total of 45 professional bouts.
Munguia had difficulty opening up Al Dah who was content to measure his rival in the first two rounds keeping his opponent at bay or tieing him up in knots.
However, once Al Dah found his range Munguia buckled going down twice in the third and fourth rounds to tilt the scales in the Emirati's favour.
Al Dah, who has been shadowing the world's light welterweight champion Amir Khan and has been trainer under Stacy McKinley, Mike Tyson's former trainer, was unfazed by his rugged adversary's tactic of switching his stance and used his jab effectively to get the nod of the judges scoresheet 58-54 59-54 58-53.
"I think people were expecting me to throw a lot of punches and look for the knockout but this was not the strategy to win this particular fight," Al Dah said later.
"When he hit me in the liver, it shut down my entire body and made me weak and affected all my power, speed and energy.
"I recovered but tried to conserve my energy after that shot and didn't throw so many punches. I kept my distance, covered my face and tried to avoid his strong left hook and right. I knew heading into this fight I would have to combat his power punches with my speed.
"When you fight a Mexican, you have to protect yourself at all times and when he hit me, I went dizzy. He confused me with his switching between southpaw and orthodox and he comes from a high altitude so has good conditioning.
"I felt his experience as he threw a few good shots. I looked for the knockout, it didn't happen but nevertheless I am happy with the win. This has been my toughest contest yet."
Munguia said: "I was prepared for the fight and in the end lost only by one or two points. It was a really great fight I'm not too disappointed to have lost really. He's a great fighter with good experience and has a good right hook."
The best boxing bout of the evening was the one which featured Iranian Mehdi Ramezani and Adnan Akilles from Sweden. Both fighters displayed superb ringcraft and technique to fight toe-to-toe in a thrilling slugfest during this four-round contest.
After an even first round in which Akilles did the more leading off with right crosses, Ramezani surprised his slightly more experienced rival by flooring him with a
classic left hook in the second.
But Akilles not only bounced back to end the round strongly and take the fight to his opponent but also appeared to dominate the exchanges in the next two rounds.
However, with two judges splitting in favour of both and a third scoring 38-38 the verdict was a draw much to the chagrin of Akilles' corner.
It was not a popular decision with the crowd booing the verdict prompting Ramezani's trainer Prince Amir to explain that irrespective of what happens whenever there is a knock down the round is awarded to the fighter. "Instead of booing we should applaud for a very good exhibition of boxing," said the Champions Club trainer.
There were also sparkling performances by women in two Muay Thai and boxing bouts.
Dubai-based world Kickboxing Middle East Champion Kerry 'The Cockney' Bennett of England outclassed Marija Malenica of Croatia who failed to come out for the bell in the fourth round. Benett extended her record to 11 wins but considered this to be the toughest of her career.
Mikaela Lauren of Sweden scored the fastest victory when she knocked out Italy's Chantal who collapsed in a heap after just one minutes and 50 seconds following a deadly combination.
"I felt really strong today and excited to be fighting in Dubai. I did not expect to knock her out but it happened," she said after her win.
"I have been preparing hard for this event and it has given me more confident for my future," added Mikaela who is a former swimming champion.
Mohammed Akram (Syria) beat Mehrdad Danesh (Iran) on points 40-36, 40-38, 38-38
Mikaela Lauren (Sweden) beat Chantal Ughi (Italy) KO round one
Akilles Adnan (Sweden) drew with Mehdi Ramazani (Iran) 38-37, 37-39, 38-38
Eisa Al Dah (UAE) beat Miguel Angel Munguia (Mexico) on points 58-54, 59-54, 59-53
Gudrat Gargash (Azerbaijan) beat Houshyar Mandahaki (Iran) TKO third round
Abbas Mollamahdi (Iran) beat Mahmadou Siby (Fran) TKO third round
Bobb Sapp (USA) beat Tofan Pirani (SWE) TKO second round
Kerry Bennett (England) beat Marija Malenica (France) retired round four
Sardobek Qudiro (Uzbekistan) beat Mohsen Dastvard (Iran) KO second round
Hakim Ittouchene (France) beat Atan Canlubo (Philippines) on points 49-47, 49-46, 48-46