Boxing mentor and businessman, Asif Vali, talks for the first time about working with major boxing figures such as Amir Khan and Tyson Fury.
Vali, who was born and raised in Bolton, England, first took notice of boxing when he watched legends like Prince Naseem and Mike Tyson on the telly.
Based on their small height and size, Vali decided, as a small himself respectively, that he would try boxing and learn the discipline of it.
“When I was a young lad I started watching fighters like Mike Tyson and Naz and it was just amazing of how they coordinated with that sport,” said Vali.
“Being a little guy myself, I was able to use their tactics and fight off any bullies whenever I was in school. They wouldn’t touch me again after that.”
Though he never managed to pursue a career in boxing, he went onto managing instead.
His first major role of management material was back in 2000 when he was a coordinator for Bolton Ladz and Girls Club.
There he met youngster and later-to-be Olympian and world champion, Amir Khan and immediately became part of his camp.
The 46-year-old stood by Khan throughout his success including the winning of the Silver medal at the Olympics, winning world championships and earning huge amounts of money as a team.
He stated: “I certainly felt we did enough to increase Amir’s name and made him into a British boxing sensation. I think Amir’s career has gone very well and he’s a lot of up and downs which every fighter goes through.
“When I left in 2013, he still did very well but there were some small mistakes that he made which was taking fights that were not necessary and it cost him injuries.
After leaving the Khan camp, Vali went to work with many other tremendous fighters including newcomers that are working their way up the ladder.
Young athlete Osman Aslam (9-0) has been a promising athlete for Bolton and since he has been with Vali for nearly two and half years, he has been given his first title shot to challenge next month.
Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and world title challenger Hughie Fury have also been under the management of Asif Vali since the beginning of 2014.
“I’ve got a lot of experience in terms of signing the right fighters and working with the major promoters in the boxing field,” he said.
“I still don’t have a TV deal but it don’t bother me because I build fighters up from nothing and then we give them a name.”
In terms of his thoughts on Hughie Fury’s upcoming world title bout against Joseph Parker, Vali stated: “He’s a tremendous athlete and a tremendous boxer. A lot of people underestimate Hughie and to me he is going to be a big star in boxing.
“He’s under the radar and I’m glad that he is but Hughie eats Joseph Parker all day long. I can put him in with [Deontay] Wilder now and even with [Anthony] Joshua too.”