An intense controversial grudge fight, and a meaningful debut win for a youngster – It sure was a special night for Singapore’s boxers.

In an event dominated by the Indonesian champions, 2 Singaporean boxers stole the limelight, as Mohd Nor Rizan and Syafiq Bin Abdul Samad, both emerged victorious in their respective fights at the Dragon Fire World Boxing Championship under the bright lights of the Marina Bay Sands on Nov 9.

For the 33-year-old Rizan, it was sweet revenge as he overcame Wang Xinhua, who won their previous meeting in May, by close scores of 39-37, 36-38, and 36-40.

More impressively, Syafiq, 19, in his professional debut, beat England’s James Goyder with a technical knockout in just the first round of his bout no less.

Syafiq cornering his opponent, Englishman James Goyder. The bout went in favour of the Singaporean, who won via a technical knock-out.

To make the win even more special, he dedicated the win to his fellow trainee, Shahril Salim, who was in a coma and is currently fighting for his life after collapsing in a training session.

Both were originally slated to make their professional debuts together that night in the ring, and so Syafiq couldn’t help but pay some tribute to his friend during the post-bout interview.

“This victory, I want to dedicate it a friend who couldn’t achieve his dream tonight,” said Syafiq, who is also nicknamed the ‘Slasher’. “We had already planned (to) fight together in this competition. We were fighting and training together, and stuff happened.”

He told UrbanWire, “For my first pro boxing fight, I think I did pretty good. It was nothing fancy, it was basic stuff and as they say, basics always work. It means a lot to me. I’m not only fighting for myself; I’m also fighting for my friend, who’s fighting for his life.”

The 19 year-old Syafiq Bin Abdul Samad waving to the crowd as he celebrates his first professional win.

Rizan’s fight was no ordinary one either.

Spurred on by a vocal home crowd, he stormed through his opening 2 rounds, as he overwhelmed Wang with a flurry of hits. However, fatigue soon caught up to him, and his opponent made a comeback in the 3rd and 4th rounds.

Rizan said: “Usually, I go all out in the first round, which I should have taken it easy to get my body warmed up. I did it too fast, and I should have paced myself a little bit more to get myself going.”

“He threw a lot of punches… but his performance overall [was better than me] tonight. At the end of the fight, I was expecting him to win.”

Singapore’s Mohd Rizan throwing a right hook at his opponent, Wang XinHua.

So when it was announced that he was the victor, Rizan was in disbelief. He disagreed with the decision, and showing good sportsmanship, gestured for his opponent to be the victor, with Wang doing the same.

Eventually, he reluctantly accepted the ruling, and left the ring without giving the post-match interview.

Speaking after the match, the 33-year-old fitness trainer said: “It was all part of sportsmanship. At the end of the day, both of us agreed that we were winners in the ring.”

In the main event of the night, Indonesian boxer Chris John successfully defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight title for the 17th time.The 33-year-old broke Thailand’s Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo’s unbeaten record by a unanimous decision (117-111, 119-109, 119-109).

Indonesian Chris John launches a left-handed jab against his opponent Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo from Thailand.

Speaking to the UrbanWire, he said: “My records haven’t been broken, I’ve defended my title, and I feel great. My opponent was tough, but I just followed my trainer’s instruction and our strategy, it worked.”

Similarly, his compatriot, Daud Yordan, also defended his International Boxing Organisation (IBO) Featherweight belt, when he defeated Choijiljavyn Tseveenpurev with a score of 117-111, 119-110, and 118-110.

All photos courtesy of Asyraf Rasid (Klix Photography).