Ziyad ‘Zizo’ al-Maayouf has made history as the first person from Saudi Arabia to win a professional boxing match, after knocking out Alfredo Alatorre in the first round on Saturday.
The 22-year-old drew a huge reaction from the crowd at King Abdullah Sports City when he defeated Alatorre, who was also making his professional debut.
“What an honor it is to be here in front of my home people, in front of this crowd,” he said in a post-fight interview.
“It’s been years and years of hard work that people don’t see behind the scenes, but it all leads to a few minutes,” he went on to say. “And what better thing to do in a few minutes than that?”
Al-Maayouf spoke to Al Arabiya English during a press conference on Wednesday about how he has ambitions to become the most successful athlete in the Kingdom’s history.
Training under Buddy McGirt in Los Angeles, al-Maayouf also undertook an eight-week training camp in Liverpool, UK, with Callum Smith, who also appears on the Rage on the Red Sea fight card facing Mathieu Bauderlique at light heavyweight.
He described it as the toughest camp that he has ever been through, partly due to being in unfamiliar surroundings in the UK, and partly because of the hard sparring that took place there.
The Rage on the Red Sea is a historic night for Saudi Arabia, as it also hosted the first-ever women’s boxing match in the Kingdom, which saw Ramla Ali defeat Crystal Garcia Nova in just over one minute.