With such a reserved and unassuming presence, Kash Farooq is not your typical modern-day boxer.
The 23-year-old from Glasgow, however, is living proof you do not have to be a loudmouth to make your mark in the sport.
Farooq is the reigning British bantamweight champion having racked up 13 wins without defeat as a professional. He will be aiming to make it 14 when he defends his belt for a fifth time in an all-Scottish unification clash against Edinburgh’s Commonwealth champion Lee McGregor, at the Emirates Arena tonight.
Both boxers have shown the utmost respect for one another in the build-up to one of the country’s biggest domestic duels in more than a decade. They are former Scottish amateur team-mates after all.
However, Farooq says he will be anything but Mr Nice Guy tonight. ‘’I do my talking in the ring. You’ll see a different sort of person,” he quipped ahead of tonight’s sold-out show in Glasgow. “Right now I’m cool and calm but tonight the devil is going to be in me. I’m going to be possessed.
“There isn’t enough room for two people because there can only be one. Lee will be thinking the same but he’s caught me at the wrong time. I’m really hungry and I want to win this fight so much.
“I couldn’t have lived with myself if I didn’t have this fight. Lee couldn’t have lived with himself either. It’s two fighters at the same weight, fighting for two major belts in Britain and I’ve wanted to box him since the turn of the year.
“This is going to go down in history as one of the biggest fights in Scotland. I want to put on a great performance and write my name in history again.
‘’I’ve got plans A, B, C and D. Whatever he is planning, I’m preparing for every type of fight. I need to wait until tonight because once you get punched it’s a different ball game.”
The Pakistan-born Scot admits a much-hyped duel with McGregor had been bubbling away for quite some time. “As soon as I won the British title last September, people kept mentioning ‘Lee McGregor, Lee McGregor’,” Farooq explained. “I think a month later he won the Commonwealth so this fight has been talked about for over a year and it’s here now, bigger than ever.
“I know Lee wanted it at the beginning of this year, so did I to be honest, but now it’s on an even bigger stage and it’s the right fight at the right time for me. I don’t know what the future holds but whatever it is, I’m ready for whatever comes in front of me. If you don’t have nerves, you’re not going to perform because you’re going to get too slack. I’m going to be nervous – every fighter going into a ring is – but that’s part of the night.
“With it being broadcast live on iFL TV, which is a youtube channel, (it’s also live on the BBC Scotland channel) the rest of my family in Pakistan should be able to watch it. I know with BBC you can only watch it in the UK, but they could also watch it on ESPN if they broadcast in Pakistan.
“I think my added experience will be a big part of this fight. I’ve had six or seven title fights already and have had a few tough fights. I know I make them look easy but there have been a few tough ones so I think that will come into play.”