When you’ve a back story like AJ Faizy’s, the boxing ring doesn’t hold much fear.
With his father murdered by the Taliban, AJ fled war-torn Afghanistan as a 14-year-old and found himself in care in the UK.
Far from the new start he was hoping for though, the young refugee was soon without a family again after the foster payments ceased when he turned 18.
Homeless, and desperately in need of direction, Faizy’s luck finally turned. Taken in by his boxing coach Barry Higginson, the adopted Brit is now a promising pro with dreams of winning the Lonsdale Belt.
Next out at the Oldham Sports Centre on March 8, on the undercard of Jon Kays’ English super-featherweight title defence against Lee Glover, AJ is looking to remain unbeaten after winning his October 2013 debut by KO.
“I joined the boxing gym when I was in foster care,” explained Lancashire-based Faizy. “But when the payments were stopped to my foster carer I was told to leave. I called my trainer who picked me up and I’ve been living with his family since. It was a very bad time in Afghanistan, but I’m happy now.
“I’ve dedicated myself to boxing; I eat and sleep it. I’m a pressure fighter; I like to come forward and fight. I’m not a great technical boxer, I just come to fight. With everything that’s happened in the past, boxing takes away all the stress.
“I’d love to fight for the British title sometime. The Lonsdale Belt is the most prestigious. My trainer has told me all about it and I’d like to get a shot at that rather than a world title!”
Higginson and Faizy have a special bond. Barry, who previously trained son Graeme to a 2010 English lightweight title challenge, talks glowingly about his young charge and is hoping Northwest boxing fans get behind the fledgling fighter and inspire him to title glory.
“He had nowhere to go and was just sat on a wall with six bags around him when I picked him up,” recalled Barry. “He’s a right good lad; really pleasant and appreciative. He’s at college, a volunteer at Age UK, and I just wish I had another 10 boxers like him.
“He’s also got the right mind-set for boxing, he’s a very tough kid. Boxing-wise there’s still a lot to learn but he’s got a big heart, he can bang and he’s in your face all the time. It would be fantastic if the fans adopted him, he’s exciting and there’s so much to him.”
Promoter Steve Wood said: “Boxing sometimes gets a bad press, but AJ’s story is a great example of the good that can come from the sport. He’s a terrific lad and an exciting little fighter. There are still some tickets available and I hope people come along to the show to support him and the other fighters on the show. If people can’t make it they can watch free on our live stream at VIPBOXING.TV.”
VIP Promotions presents Jon Kays defending his English super-featherweight title against Lee Glover at the Oldham Sports Centre on March 8. Appearing on a top undercard will be Middleton’s Warren Tansey, Alex Rutter and Matthew Ryan; Heywood’s Mark Thompson; Oldham’s Marvin Greaves and Ashley Mayall; Derbyshire’s Jack Massey; Lancashire’s AJ Faizy, and Liverpool’s Anthony Smith. Manchester’s Dale Coyne will make his debut.
Tickets, priced at £30 (General) and £60 (Ringside), are available from all boxers or at vipbe.co.uk
The show will be streamed live and free on VIPBOXING.TV
Keep updated on VIP Promotions’ news by visiting vipboxing.com or follow on Twitter @vipboxing