Famed US boxing trainer tips Singapore's Ridhwan for the top
Famed American trainer Pimpleton backs Singaporean to make great strides in pro boxing
Local professional boxer Muhamad Ridhwan will step into the ring tonight, hoping to leave with the International Boxing Organization's (IBO) super featherweight intercontinental title.
The 29-year-old's 12-round fight with Namibia's Nataneal Sebastian will headline the 10-fight Roar of Singapore III event at the Suntec Convention Centre.
Among those in attendance willing Ridhwan to a victory, will be famed American boxing trainer Otis Pimpleton.
Pimpleton is one of three trainers at Las Vegas' Mayweather Gym, owned by boxing megastar Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The other two trainers at the by-invite-only gym are Mayweather Jr's father, Floyd Mayweather Sr, and his uncle Roger Mayweather.
Pimpleton flew into Singapore on Wednesday to throw his support behind Ridhwan, having trained him in Vegas for 21 days in August.
At the event's weigh-in yesterday, the 50-year-old told The New Paper he believes the Singaporean can even challenge for the super featherweight world title at one of the four major boxing sanctioning bodies in the near future.
Most definitely, a world title (shot) in the next three or four years is possible.Otis Pimpleton, a trainer at the Mayweather Gym, on Singapore’s Muhamad Ridhwan
Said Pimpleton: "Most definitely, a world title (shot) in the next three or four years is possible.
"And that's a long time, considering the rate they escalate (fighters in rankings) now.
"But, first things first, is winning the title tomorrow.
"Once we win the title, he can put something else on the table (as an achievement).
"I'd like (Ridhwan) to worry about one thing at a time. The more knowledge he gains, the further he'll go."
The IBO intercontinental title is second only to the body's world title.
Current IBO world champions include big names such as Britons Anthony Joshua (heavyweight) and Chris Eubank Jr (super middleweight), and Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin (middleweight).
Pimpleton knows what it takes for a fighter to mix it with the best in the world, with the likes of Eubank Jr and American Gervonta Davis, the current International Boxing Federation (IBF) world super featherweight champion, among those who train at the Mayweather Gym.
And he believes Ridhwan, having returned from his training camp in Vegas, has the tools and the right mindset to make great strides.
"What he gained, knowledge-wise, was tremendous," he said.
"He jumped up a couple of classes, I feel, as far as confidence in the ring goes, considering the calibre of boxers he sparred with.
"I got him to box more, as opposed to just standing there and going toe-to-toe, brawling and just moving his head.
"Also, now he's able to 'sit down' on his punches more, meaning he knows when he's hitting you hard.
"So when he hits you, he knows what he's hitting you with, it's not a mistake or slip.
"And he's learnt a lot, and still learning, about different ways to set opponents up."
Indeed, Ridhwan showed plenty of confidence when he faced off with Sebastian at yesterday's weigh-in.
Both fighters are undefeated - the main event's tagline is "someone's 0 has got to go" - but Ridhwan trash-talked his rival, demeaning the African's previous opponents and vowing to knock him out.
Ridhwan has won all eight of his fights, seven through knock-outs, while Sebastian has won nine fights, with five KOs.
The Singaporean told TNP: "Of course, my opponent is unbeaten, he's hungry and really wants to win. That will make it a great fight to watch.
"But I know this is my time, and I'm here to do a job - and that's to win.
"In fact, I don't just want to win, I want to entertain.
"I want to dominate, showcase my skills, and knock him out.
"I don't want to win (a decision on points) and allow people the chance to say I got a 'hometown' decision."
Ridhwan even predicted when the KO will happen.
"Within six rounds," he said with a grin.