“This is a dream which just came true”, said newly crowned WBO intercontinental middleweight champion Hamid Rahimi moments after stopping Said Mbelwa from Tanzania in the seventh round of the “Fight 4 Peace” on Tuesday night in front of a sold out crowd of 3,000 enthusiastic fans at the “Loya Jirga” in Kabul. It was the first professional boxing fight ever to take place in Afghanistan.
Rahimi dominated the fight from the opening bell although he was obviously nervous because of the pressure of fighting in his home country for the first time in his life. Still the Hamburg based Afghan managed to establish his jab and connect with the cleaner shots.
On the other hand, Said Mbelwa could not keep his promise to knock out Rahimi in four. The fighter from Tanzania was the rougher and tougher fighter using some dirty tactics to distract his opponent. Referee Holger Wiemann from Germany warned Mbelwa for low blows and even deducted a point from him in the seventh for repeated rabbit punches.
Rahimi was always in control showing some nice combinations and good counter punching alhtough none of his attacks seemed to really hurt Mbelwa. The end came in the seventh round when Mbelwa was forced to retire due to a shoulder injury and referee Wiemann waved it off at 1:17.
“I can’t even find the words to say how proud and happy I am”, said Rahimi who started celebrating with hundreds of VIP fans and high ranked politicians in the ring immediately after the final bell. “This is a big day for myself and a very important day for Afghanistan, too. We managed to set a sign for peace and freedom and we showed the people – not only in my country but all over the world – that peace is worth fighting for. I want to tell everybody to keep on fighting for your dreams and goals. Together we can achieve big things and make the impossible happen. I thank my team and all the people who believed in me for their huge support. This event may be over but the fight for peace will go on. I want to encourage everybody to stand up and join us on our mission.”