PUTRAJAYA: Boxer Mohd Ariff Aiman Mohd Farid is just 17 but he has set his sights on participating in the SEA Games next year in Cambodia.
The national development programme trainee from Johor showed why his talent should be noticed after beating Sarawak’s Rafieq Murshidi 5-0 in the men’s welterweight (Under-60-63kg) final of the Malaysia Games (Sukma) on Saturday.
He got off to a nervous start but once he warmed up, he was unstoppable with his punches en route to winning his bout.
Ariff said his father cum coach Farid Abdul Rahman was his inspiration.
“I’ve been doing this since I was nine under the tutelage of my father, who is also Johor’s boxing coach,” said Ariff.
“When I first took up the sport, there was some fear. My father taught me that early jitters were normal but one should overcome it with confidence, and that will take us places.
“I believe I’ve the potential to represent Malaysia at my age. I joined the development squad when I was 15. It is my hope to be in the SEA Games and prove my worth in the sport.”
He also follows the progress of his idol Vasiliy Lomachenko from Ukraine.
“I hope to be like him when it comes to hand speed, the accuracy of punches, fitness and footwork,” he said.
Former lightweight and featherweight boxer Lomachenko is one of the greats in amateur boxing, holding a record of 396 wins and one loss.
Now a professional boxer, he won gold in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics and consecutive golds at the 2009 and 2011 world championships.
Not only Lomachenko but Ariff is also a fan of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Inter-Continental Championship and Asian-level World Boxing Association (WBA) cruiserweight title holder Farkhan Haron.
“He is an inspiration to us in Johor. Even during Sukma, he was there to guide us. He always told us to treat every fight like it is your last bout.”