British Asian Athletes in Martial Arts and Combat Sports
Updated: Feb 22
Looking at films like Bohmeian Rhapsody, Bend it like Beckham, Tiger, Ali, etc. It seems like an interesting oppurtunity for British Asian represenation to do biopics on British Asians in sport, music and entertainment industry. The Nike Free style ad notoriously missed out many British people of the Asian community whilst including many athletes and musicians from White or Black backgrounds. Humza Productions made a parody to highlight the under represented ethnic groups who feel left out/ignored by British media representation such as All Asians (West Asians, South Asian, and Far East Asians), North Africans and East Africans (Don't Forget us Somalis). Either way we decided to make a list of British Asians regardless of their success, who have put themselves into the ring be it Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, Wrestling or some other form of martial arts/combat sports. We believe they deserve some recognition here. When we say Asian we mean ALL ASIANS so British Asians of South Asian, West Asian, East Asian, South East Asian and Central Asian will all qualify. There was several more British Asians in Boxing we decided to do a separate article for Boxers.
British Afghan MMA fighter Abdul Mohamed comes first in this. Nicknamed the Lion of Panjshir, Mohamed is a powerhouse grappler known for overwhelming his opponents with wrestling and dominant top position control. He picked up a unanimous-decision victory over Ross Pearson at Cage Gladiators 9 this past weekend. The victory is believed to have secured the UFC deal, sources close to the fighter said. During his career, Mohamed has competed against the likes of former Cage Rage champion and EliteXC fighter Paul Daley, whom he fought to a draw, and grappling sensation Vitor Ribeiro, to whom he lost via submission. He holds victories over the likes of Jean Silva, Ross Pointon and Robbie Olivier
British Bangladeshi Aftab Miah who, according to his profile on the fitness business website "Dynamic Hot Yoga", is a professional MMA fight since 2013 and a professional Muay Thai fighter since 2015. He has fought in 100 bouts across multiple levels including amateur, semi-pro, professional, BJJ, MMA and K1, whilst also maintaining a fitness business with fellow British Bangladeshi Afsol Miah who is a semi-pro footballer, boxer and MMA fighter himself. While we couldn't find much on Afsol. Aftab himself has been training in martial arts since the age of 25 in 2009, guided by Kenny Moyston Brighton Kenshiro Muay Thai Gym, he also owns his own training centre called the PTHUB. We can find videos of Aftabs fights on YouTube. One of Aftab Miah's fights, he fought against Matteo Coppanianco and won by technical knockout when Matteo couldn't continue after the ten count. The two did have a rematch but it the fight was cut short when the crowd became disorderly. Lets hope the two rivals can clash again without interruptions next time. He also has a young brother named Ashraf Miah who is also a keen MMA fighter too. Despite Covid-19 the setbacks from the Pandemic, Aftab Miah looks forward to return to the ring and fight again.
Ali "Lion Heart" Jacko
Standing at 5'10" and weighing in at around 130lbs is a British Bangladeshi world champion Kickboxer, from East End of London. Born Abdul Ali but known as the Lion Heart Ali Jacko in the ring. In recent years he has shown interest in film producing (currently working on Jack Stall Dead with Martial Arts actor Silvio Simac being involved in the film) and rock music. He became famous for being one of the first British Asian kickboxing world champions and even started to promote Kickboxing in the UK after he retired. He in fact became motivated to become a martial artist after a chance meeting with Muhammad Ali (The GREATEST) despite having SVT, a heart condition (Lion Heart indeed). He is also friends with Salman Khan (Bollywood actor) and helped with the music and production of his film Sultan. Whilst it is hard to find records of his career due to lack of interest in UK Kickboxing, here is a video of his kickboxing showreel, the footage is old and not as good as it would be today.
Bilal Ansari aka Amir Jordan a British Pakistani from Dewsbury, Yorkshire. He is one of the few rare examples of a Pakistani in WWE next to his Pakistani American counter-part Mustafa Ali. The Pakistan born athlete has been given the nickname the Bhangra Bad Boy and is known for his dancing and his signature move, the Swanton Bomb. Speaking to ExaminerLive from his home, Bilal said his love of wrestling began watching VHS cassettes of matches with his grandparents as a child in the mid 90s.
"I was hooked from then. From then it was a constant fight for the TV remote and whether I could watch wrestling or not. We didn't have Sky Sports or anything so I couldn't watch WWE, but then we got a computer and I could seek out any wrestler on Youtube."
The life-changing moment came after just five months working with Progress Wrestling, a London based promoter. Bilal quit his job and went to a training camp in Canada run by former WWE star Mark Storm.
Ashraf Imran Miah
Not much os known about the British Bangladeshi MMA fighter Ashraf Miah but he is the brother of Aftab Miah as mentioned above. He describes himself as a K1/Kickboxer and an MMA fighter, fighting out of the Brighton Team Kenshiro. We were able to find some videos of his fights.. Lets hope the Miah brothers break out in the Mixed Martial Art and K1 Muay Thai kickboxing scene for the mainstream.
Ashraf "Pocket Rocket" Uddin
Another British Bangladeshi named Ashraf who also has a penchant for Kickboxing. Much like his friend, Ruqsana Begum (a fellow British Bangladeshi Muay Thai fighter) Ash Uddin got into Muay Thai during his college years This one is however Ashraf "Pocket Rocket" Uddin who was once the UK Flyweight Muay Thai champ as well as the WKN English/WKA European champ. He is a trainer and coach of Muay Thai with London Shootfighters and represented KO Gym, London during his time as a Martial Artist. Ash Uddin has a YouTube channel centred around his interest in Muay Thai called Ash Pocket Rocket. He also has an interest in Parkour which he does talk about in one of his videos on YouTube.
Belal "The Bengal Tiger" Miah
Another British Bangledeshi MMA fighter who also has the surname Miah. Though he is not a relative of the Miah brothers mentioned above. Belal got into sports when he was 16 getting into boxing and football initially. However he made the move into kickboxing, jujutsu and even dabbled a bit in Olympic styled wrestling as seen on his YouTube channel. Whilst he doesn't seem to be as active as he was before. He certainly boasts an impressive physique out of an action film. Who knows what the Bengal Tiger is doing these days but it would be great, to see if he intend to step back into the ring for another bout one day.
Chinu Xxx/ Chinu Singh
The Indian born British Wrestler Chinju Singh or Chinu Xxx is a British Freestyle wrestler. He represented the UK in the Commonwealth games earning Bronze medal form his victory over the likes of Claude Mbianga from Cameroon, Hollis Mkanga from Kenya and Zaman Anwar from Pakistan. We don't know much about him since then but he appears to still be active as a freestyle wrestler but it's better than nothing and no we don't know where the Xxx part of his name comes from and we are not willing to looking what searching Xxx online will lead us to.
Dalbir Singh Shergill
Lets travel back to the 1970s/80s to a time when Dalbir Singh was known as the British Heavyweight wrestling champion Tiger Singh. (Because Tiger seems to be every other Asian's favourite nickname). He performed as an interanational wrestler for the Yorkshire continent in German 1974. Dalbir Singh was known to have competed against the likes of Ripper Raven, Skull Murphy, Bruiser Muir, Giant Haystack, William Regal and also his long time rival Ray Steele. He also was became friends with the likes of British Bulldog, Hulk Hogan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Born to an English Mother Susan Movahedi and an Iranian Father Issa Movahedi, British Iranian former MMA fighter turned referee, Daniel Movahedi actually spent his early years in Iran from the age of 5 to 11. When he returned to the UK he get interested in MMA and currently works as a Personal trainer in Lower Sydenham Gym. He also received a nasty scar from crashing through a glass door and into a empty swimming pool. ouch. While he hasn't been the most successful British Asian fighter here, we still give respect to those who step into the ring. He currently appears to be working as a referee in the UFC and MMA matches.
Hardeep "Havoc" Rai
British Indian MMA fighter Hardeep Rai holds a record of 11 wins 2 losses in his amateur career and 3 wins 1 losses in his professional career as an MMA fighter. He acknowledges that fans from both the UK and India want to see him wave their respective flags. The 21-year-old competed 13 times as an amateur over two years, and he plans to develop his professional career in a similar manner. “ A lot of young guys jump the gun,” Rai told SevereMMA.
“They try and get to the top as quick as they can. You don’t really see that in a sport like boxing, the young fighters work their way up gradually.”
“I grew a lot because of those fights, and so many young guys rush into pro MMA with 5 or 6 amateur fights. I’m taking things slowly and developing. There is no rush to think about where I am on the card or title fights, time is on my side. He has a purpled belt in Brazillian Jujutsu and he is proud of British Indian Sikh heritage.
Harleen "Fighting Machine" Kaur
British Indian martial artist Harleen Kaur looks to the olympic dream of representing Team GB in Taekwondo. But the Leeds born martial artist started her martial arts career at 14 years old, having earned her 2nd dan black belt in Karate. She had won gold in many national championships in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, she earned gold in WMKF (British Kickboxing) and was selected to represent Team England, winning Silver medals in 2015 and 2016 consecutively. In May 2016, she became the youngest recipient of the Sportswoman of the Year for the Natwest Asian Woman Achievement Awards. Since 2016, she spends her summer doing charity work in India, leading sessions, visiting schools and teaching self defence classes. Her achievements have been covered by BBC, Daily Mail, Sky Sports and many US, Canadian and Indian broadcasters. The latest from her in 2017 and 2018 respectively is her shortlisting for the Youth Sports Trust Sportsperson Award at the BEDSA awards in 2017. The following year, 2018 she was given special recognition award by the Yorkshire Asian Business Association. As of now Kaur as moved onto WTF Taekwondo where she holds a 1st degree Black Belt and has her sights set on representing Team GB for the next Olympic Games.
From Sheffield, Yorkshire we have the British Pakistani Muay Thai kickboxer Imran Khan (no not the Dutch Singer with that song from all the school fights videos). He started Muay Thai at the age of 11 whilst also growing up to help out in his family's car business. During his early years he achieved 2x time World Champion, 3x time European Champion and 3x time British Champion and Junior champion by the time he was 13. Definitely an early bloomer. He fought for the World Professional Kickboxing Council (WPKC) belt in Sheffield, and the Golden Belt World Title in Bangkok both of which he won. He may have retired at this point but it's still worthy mention of how even British Asian kids have potential early and into adulthood.
Jatinder Singh Rakhra
Speaking of early bloomers, British Indian Jatinder Singh Rakhra started off his training as a wrestler as early as 4 years old? he competed in British and English championships at 5. Who knew they had competitors that young. At 15, Jit qualified for the Cadet European Championships finishing 12th and later moved to Manchester to train with the national performance programme, medalling for GBR in Poland, Romania, India, Spain, France, Russia, Austria, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, and Belgium. He also practices Kushti, traditional Indian wrestling where he attained two world famous titles in the Jammu & Kashmir region. He is currently working as a wrestling coach in the UK.
Coming out of Knightsbridge, London is the British Indian wrestler Jinny Sandhu. Jinny was a fan girl of wrestling ever sine she was 9 years old looking up tot he likes of Jushin Liger, Lita and Trish Stratus. She would start off her training with progress wrestling and become the first female graduate of Progress's Projo. She had competed in the Progress Wrestling, the independent circuit, Revolution Pro Wrestling, Westside Extreme Wrestling before breaking into WWE being one fo the few British Asians to do so as well as one of the few South Asian women to do so.
British Iranian wrestler and MMA fighter nicknamed as the Prince of Persia. Kamal Shalorus was born in Khalkhal, Iran to British Iranian parents before moving back to the UK where he was raised. Kamal once wrestled for the UK olympics and competed in grappling tournaments where he beat the likes of Norways Joachim Hansen. Aside form Wrestling, Kamal also competed in MMA after he took up Brazilian Jujutsu having victories over the likes of Will Kerr, Dave Jansen, Bart Palaszewski, Eduard Folayang and Ariel Sexton. As of 2021, he is still active in both Wrestling and MMA despite having a spotty win, lose, draw record.
Kash "the Flash" Gill
Fighting out of Birmingham, England is Kashmir the Flash Gill, standing at an impressive 6'3" and weighing 165 lbs. British Indian Heavy weight kickboxer. One of the few British Sikh sportsmen of his time and four time kickboxing champion. He first discovered his passion for martial arts when he was 14 learning full contact karate and Muay Thai as his main styles. He was one of the first few British Asian kickboxing champions of his time alongside British Bangladeshi Ali Jacko and British Iraqi Riyadh Al-Azzawi. He won his first world champion belt at the age of 21 and would go on to win the World Kickboxing championship 4 times.
Kulwinderjeet "Kully" Bedi
Growing up, Kulwinderjeet Bedi aka Kully was different to the other boys his age. He wasn't into Football, Cricket or superhero. But he was a fan of Bruce Lee. Naturally his father encouraged him to take up karate at the age of 7 and then later added Pau Gar Kung-Fu under his belt when he was 16. He has also trained in Muay Thai and was regularly competing in kickboxing and martial art matches. Kully was still a supposedly fat teenager despite his training but he slowly changed it around when he began eating better and hitting the weights. Unfortunately Kully was once caught in a car accident which left him unable to compete in kickboxing due to a metal plate being put over his fractured skull. But he keeps on going now training others in fitness and martial arts the same way he did for himself.
Maaz Bin Saud
Next up is one of the UK's youngest Martial arts champions, British Asian kickboxer Maaz Bin Saud won the the British Asian Junior SportsPersonality award back when he was 10 years old in 2011. Fighting out of Liverpool, representing the Mushin-Kai kickboxing club, Maaz became the youngest Kickboxing World champion for England. When he was invited to the British Asian awards he responded with: “I love kick-boxing and it can’t get any better than being up for an award for my passion. Huge stars like Amir Khan and Isa Guha have been nominated and won; to just be alongside them is a huge honour. He alongside the likes of Riaz Amin and Muhammad Abubakr Farooq join the ranks of some of the UK's youngest British Asian martial artists to represent England in international competition.
Another British Asian wrestler, this time a Luchador fighting out of Essex, England and standing at 6'1", weighing in at around 189lbs, we have Marduk Malik. The Money Maker, The Heavy Hitter, The Punjabi Freak. Lets hope that's the last of his nicknames. But he does look suspiciously similar to Avatar's Combustion Man. Marduk Malik is part of the UK based Luchador wrestling promoters Lucha Britannia. Theres not much we can find on Marduk Malik atm it seems he best known by his wrestling identity but his personal life stay private. What we do know is his stage name originates from Marduk, a Babylonian god of justice, compassion, healing, regeneration, magic, fairness and is associated with Storms. Sometimes Marduk referred to king of the gods. Fittingly Malik means King in Arabic.
British Turk Matthew Ahmet was born in the London Borough of Camden. He became a practitioner of Shaolin Kung Fu and would go on to become the UK's First British born and raised Shaolin Monk. He was always interested in Martial Arts but at the age of 11 he was inspired to take up Shaolin Kung Fu after watching a theatre performance. In regards to his journey to become a Shaolin Monk Matthew Ahmet explains: "When I was 16 I wasn’t really happy with school. This idea to go to China had stuck with me all throughout my education and I thought then was the time to follow it through. So I ended up flying out to China where I spent about four years training. It was very intense, waking up at 5.30am, running up mountains, crawling back down on my hands and knees, doing headstands on concrete for hours on end. I progressed quickly and ten years after I saw the show I was chosen to be the first and only non-Chinese Shaolin warrior in that same show." He would famously be part of the crew "Team Shaolin" for Britain's Got Talent.
Mohammed Al Azzawi
British Iraqi Martial Artist much like his brother Riyadh Al Azzawi. The two brothers were the among the UK's earliest Asian Arab athletes on scene. He has been an athlete for over 15 years now and is currently working as a Personal trainer and fitness instructor in South Kensington, specialising in Mixed Martial Arts training, Cross training, boxercise and nutrition.
Despite the name Mostapha Al-Turk is not Turkish. In fact he is British Lebanese. Born on Beirut, Lebanon ton upper class family. Mostapha initially followed his Doctor father in the footsteps of medicine, having worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry before becoming a Mixed Martial Artist. Standing at an imposing 6'2" and weighing in at around 235 lbs. Mostapha looked like a heavy hitter. Despite his poor start in MMA, he did go on to represent London Shoot fighters in Cage Rage and UFC, eventually earning the title of Cage Rage British Heavyweight champ. His main style is wrestling and Brazilian jujutsu, he even attained a gold medal in 2005 Stockholm.
Muhammad Abubakr Farooq
Another kick ass kid fighter. Muhammad Abubakr Farooq is a British Pakistani Karate and Muay Thai champ. Being another one of the UK's youngest martial arts champions he managed to win medals attaining gold in nunchucks, silver in fighting and bronze in self defence at the age of 8. Now at 10 years old he is competing in Muay Thai and kickboxing. The future looks bright for this young British Asian warrior.
Nad "Smiler" Narimani
From Bristol, representing Team Alpha Male, Black Belt in Brazilian Jujutsu trained by Pedro Bessa, we have British Iranian Nad Narimani. The man who is always one step ahead of the game. With a record of 12 wins, 4 losses and single draw. Nad Narimani started off his professional career in Cage Warriors Fighting Championships before joining the UFC, he has notable victories over the likes of Jeremy Petley, Daniel Raqueijo, Paddy Pimblett, Khalid Taha and Anderson dos Santos.
Natalie "The Kilapino" Gonzales Hill
Meet our first British Oriental athlete on this article. The Far Eastern community of the UK is relatively smaller and gets less recognition than other groups. But that doesn't discourage British Filipina Natalie Gonzales Hills aka the Kilapino. She started her martial arts when she did karate at the age of 8 and had a simpler life as a child. But things got hard for her in her teens, getting involved in the wrong crowd, over partying, drinking, an abusive relationship and whilst doing charity work she and her 4 co-workers were racistly attacked by a mob of 20 or more attackers. Since then Natalie decided enough was enough and took up martial arts again. It transformed her, training every week, changing her diet and drinking habits. She slowly move into a career for MMA and now lives up to the Killerpina name.
Born in 1953, British Pakistani Nisar Smiler is one of the earliest British Asian Karatekas in North England. He started his karate training when he was 3 years old and now is the patriarch of a Karate family where his wife, two sons and daughter all compete in the UK in Karate. Having been trained by the legendary Gogen Yamaguchi. Smiler would go on to become a 50 time gold medalist and 2x world champion in the sport. In 2010, he was inducted into the Karate hall of fame and he spends his free time helping out in Karate clubs across Yorkshire.
Nor "Phoenix" Diana
An intersting inclusion to this, Nor "Phoenix" Diana is a Malaysian female wrestler. While she is not native to the UK, she has been staying here with her aunty while training. While training in the UK she got media attention for being the first female wrestler to enter the ring wearing a Khimar/Hijab. She first got interested in wrestling from playing WWE games on her PSP, unaware at the time that real wrestling matches actually happen. When she found that out, she knew this was her calling in life and was determined to become a wrestler with dreams to enter the USA and get signed onto WWE. So we support her all the way as an honorary British Malaysian Wrestler. The time will come when this Phoenix will rise.
Standing at 6'2", weighing in at 233 lbs and wearing a turban on his head. We have the British Gujurati wrestler Prince Mohammed Ameen. Prince Ameen was a recent guest on Desert Island Graps with Tom Campbell and discussed racism in British Wrestling. Ameen explained he doesn't experience racism in wrestling any longer but noted he was subjected to it in the past. Ameen stated: "When I first started, bear in mind this is early 2000s, so 2001, 2002, if you were a wrestler which wasn't white you would be referred to as Ted. It doesn't matter what your name was, you would be referred to as Ted. I presume, I don't know the exact origin, but I presume it's because Ted is like a teddy bear and you're a brown colour. That's kind of just a norm, I mean people used to say that without even realising the connotations of it. They're just, 'Oh that's Ted, oh how's it going Ted?' And me being as ignorant as I was, would acknowledge people when they said, 'Oh Ted, how's it going?' I'd be like 'Oh, I'm good thanks.' I had no idea what it meant at the time."
Qasim "the Dream" Beg
Formerly Qasim Nisar, the Birmingham born British Pakistani kickboxer was born to family of Mughal heritage. He grew up studying Karate, but took up Muay Thai kickboxing as he got older. He has an amateur record of 22 wins and professional record of 27 wins. No losses or draws in either. Giving him an overall record of 49 wins. Having been trained by Neil Kelly, he went on to win 4 professional world title, the first one in 2014, 2 world titles in 2019 and his latest one in 2020. He currently is the holder of the ICO Belt, OKF Belt and the WRSA belt For Charity, he attempted to raise funds for Cancer research UK, where he would take on 50 opponents in 5 hours at USKA Gym Montgomery Street Sparkbrook.
British Indian Wrestler, Rav Sharma is an aspiring British Asian Wrestler who is hoping to achieve WWE training status. This video was made by Dr Creative Productions with the kind help of Sugars Gym Leicester. We genuinely have struggled to find more information on the man but we wish him good luck on his aspirations on becoming the next British Asian WWE star next to Amir Jordan and Jinny Sandhu.
Born and raised in the heart of East London aka Banglatown (the Hub of British Bangladeshis in London). The third generation British Bangladeshi Eskrimador and Karateka Riaz Amin became Britains Youngest WEKAF Champion. Though he got his recognition at the age of 15. Riaz started martial arts at the age of five in Shotokan Karate with Alton Brown and Joe Anderson of Toyakwai. It wasn’t long before he was entering local, national and international competitions. During this first spell, he won various gold medals such as The English Open, Southern Regional Championships, Maltese 4 Nations Open Competition and just missed out on a medal position in the Funakoshi World Championships. Riaz achieved his first Dan Black belt at the age of eleven. At the age 13, Riaz started Eskrima at the FMA Academy under Master Shamim Haque and Abjol Miah. At the age of 14, Riaz entered his first full contact event at the British WEKAF Tournament and became the Cadets British Champion in Single Stick Fighting that day. He was also crowned cadet’s fighter of the day in December 2012.
British Iraqi Kickboxer, Riyadh Al-Azzawi initially started his career in Iraq, winning a gold medal back when he was 15 years old. After his victories in the Arab championship, Riyadh would relocated to London where he would continue his kickboxing career and make his new home. Having an undefeated career of 51 victories, Riyadh Al Azzawi has beaten the likes of Tomasz Boroweic, Brian Connor and Tanislac Tomashevkii. His list of accomplishments include the Iraq Champion World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO), Arab Champion World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO), British Champion World Kickboxing Network (WKN), European Champion World Kickboxing Association (WKA) and World Kickboxing Network (WKN), World Champion World Kickboxing Network (WKN), International Sport Karate and Kickboxing Association (ISKA) and the Kickboxing Grand Prix (KGP). He certainly earned the name " The Golden Champion".
Nicknamed the Bombay Dream or Bollywood Dream. British Indian wrestler from Hertford, England, RJ Singh looks to be one of the next big thing in the ring. While his day job is actually a school teacher, educating kids in Enfield, North London. At night he suits up to school fools in the glorious wrestling ring as RJ Singh. Yes it may seem like a very huge juxtaposition. But whilst RJ is content with his job with children, He says: "I am a quite firm teacher, but not too strict. I love teaching - it was and is my first passion. He is a completely different character in the ring. Loving the opportunity to play the heel. His grappling alter ego RJ Singh is allegedly considered one of Britain's top pro-wrestling stars and a nasty piece of work in the flagship FWA promotion. When asked about his character he tells the daily star: "Wrestling allows me to say and do things I would never dream of doing in real life! It's the dark side of my personality."
Ronnie "Iron" Mann
British Thai MMA fighter Ronnie Mann was born in Bangkok, Thailand being growing up in Cheltenham, England. The Kid Ninja grew up idolising the likes of Marco Ruas and Royce Gracie. At age 11 he took up Muay Thai and then began training in Brazilian Jujutsu at age 13. Earning the Shark Fights Featherweight champion belt after defeating Doug Evans, he has competed in Cage Rage, Sengoku Raiden Championships, Bellator Fighting Championship and Cage Warriors. He has notable victories over the likes of Shigeki Osawa, Doug Evans, Adam Schindler and Kenny Foster. The 5'6" British Thai competitor lives up to his Iron nickname.
British Bangladeshi kickboxer The Warrior Princess, as she calls herself became the first British Asian Muslim and Bangladeshi woman to become a kickboxing champion. She also advocate the Nike sport hijab (something Humza Production predicted) Born in East London, has had an interest in combat since she was around 5 years old and was inspired the likes of Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee. At the age of 18, Ruqsana took up Muay Thai kickboxing during her college years, she would go on to become the captain of the British Muay Thai team and even carry the Olympic torch through her native East London area. Makes you wonder how the Nike Free Style ad didn't include her? In February 2017, she featured in a 30-second Adidas advert which tells the stories of 15 women athletes and builds on the brand's marketing around defying convention titled 'Unleash Your Creativity'. So at least Adidas notices our British Asian athletes. She also started to promote sports hijab after she saw Bahraini sprinter Ruqaya Al-Ghasra struggle with her Hijab. As of 2018, Ruqsana as left kickboxing for sole pugilism boxing. But we included her in this article as Muay Thai was the start of her athletic career.
Salah "The Beast" Khalifa
Next up, here we have British Arab Muay Thai kickboxer Salah Khalifa. With some his personal favourite Muay Thai fighters being Charlie Peters, Jose Valera and Yodsanklai Fairtex. Salah knew that Muay Thai was the martial art for him. He appears to be a Muay Thai purist or at least claims to have no interest into moving to MMA or UFC. Known for his favourite technique being elbow blows, Salah is truly a beast you do not want to cross.
Whilst a vast majority of the UK's Asian athletes are Asian men from England by the looks of it. Manchester born Edinburgh raised Samera Ashraf is a Scottish Pakistani Karateka whose journey into the sport sounds like it was adapted from Bend it like Beckham. Samera Ashraf joins the likes of Ruqsana Begum, Harleen Kaur and Natalie Gonzales Hills as one of the few British Asian women in competitive Martial Arts. When she was finally able to pay for her own Karate lessons, she had her brother and mother support her whilst keeping the practice a secret from her busy father out of fear she would be banned from participating. Despite the secret and her brother losing interest, Samera continued to train and insisted to her mother that this is what she wanted to do, eventually competing and winning an award for excellence in sport for the Scottish Asian Woman Awards.
Also known as She Samuels. Here we have our British Iranian wrestler Shaaheen Hosseinpour. Standing at 6'1" and weighing 236 lbs. Hosseinpour started off his wrestling career as part of a tag team duo called the Kartel alongside his friend Terry Frazier. He would break into the wrestling scene in 2014 debuting in the Insane Champion Wrestling. As of 2021, he is singed onto WWE NXT UK.
Shah "No Pain" Hussain
British Pakistani Jujutsu MMA fighter under the training of Ze Marcello. Hussain has had an extensive career in Mixed Martial Arts, fighting out of Crossface MMA. He has fought world wide for at least 15 years and has done many seminars in both the UK and in Pakistan. In fact he worked with US soldier turned MMA fighter Bashir "Somchai" Ahmed in Pakistan to promote the practice of MMA. You might remember Bashir Ahmed from our Pakistani Tekken character article. Shah Hussain got interested in Martial Arts after watching Bloodsport starring none other than Jean Claude Van Damme before he began watching the UFC.
Shajidul "Superman" Haque
British Bangladeshi MMA fighter Shah Haque aka Superman, represents Ace MMA fighting out of South Shields, Newcastle. The pintsize powerhouse has spent the majority of his tenure as a pro-MMA fighter with Cage Warriors and has also fought for several other promotions throughout Europe including Made 4 The Cage and BAMMA in addition to Fight Nights Global. Though out his run in MMA he defeated Danny Welsh via majority decision. defeated Oliver Battell via unanimous decision, defeated submission specialist Kris Edwards via split decision, defeated Mark Connor via unanimous decision, defeated another submission specialist in Martin McDonough via unanimous decision, defeated Damien Rooney via unanimous decision, defeated Ronnie Mann via unanimous decision, defeated Danny Missin via TKO in the first round at Made 4 the Cage 20 Meltdown. He defeated Sam Creasey at Cage Warriors Unplugged via unanimous decision to earn the eighth decision victory of his professional career. Haque defeated Fredrico Gutzwiller via TKO in round two at Made 4 the cage 28 to pick up his second knockout win as a professional.
Shamsul "Black Magic" Haque
The brother of Superman Shah Haque, we have Shamsul "Black Magic" Haque. Much like his brother, Shamsul fights for ACE MMA out of South shields, Newcastle. He trains in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jujutsu much like his brother too. Initially interested in Football and middle distance running, Shamsul would move onto free style kickboxing and Muay Thai after getting bored and was introduced to martial arts by Feruz Hussain. Hussain would go on to introduce him to grappling where Haque started to make moves into MMA. When asked about his MMA and it feeling addictive Shamsul stated that: "MMA is definitely an addictive sport. For me its so addictive because of the versatility of it, its the only sport that has such a vast amount of sports put into one e.g. a boxer just needs to be able to box, a footballer just needs to be able to play football to succeed but an MMA fighter must be able to be wrestle, grapple and strike to have any chance of success."
Rapper Sparkaman (real name possibly Zakir Rehman?) is a British Bangladeshi rapper and Muay Thai kickboxer. Despite being incredibly private about his personal life, including his real name. He has mentioned several times in some of his raps about his interest in kickboxing or martial arts and even went to Thailand for a Muay Thai training camp which he films this experience in his Music Video Shine. You can possibly find one of his fights on YouTube here. Despite his habit of going under the radar in regards to his music, he recently opened up about overcoming anxiety as you can watch his interview here and talks quite a bit about how he sometimes chooses to prioritise martial arts over music regardless of which gives him more clout and recognition.
Sunny "The Hitman" Hira
Three time world champion kickboxer Sunny "the Hitman" Hira. Straight out of Birmingham and being coached by none other Kash the Flash Gill a fellow Birmingham Asain kickboxing Champ. Sunny's future in the sport is looking bright. No pun intended. The 28-year-old already has a host of glorious victories under his belt, 17 years of training, a second degree black belt and a several years as a kickboxing instructor. Hira is the second world champion to join forces with the East Street gym following Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion Braulio Estima as well as Coventry’s own MMA instructor, Dave Thomas.