Exclusive: Meet Jordanian boxer Bader Samreen who fights to inspire his country

Bader Samreen (left) has won his first three fights in professional boxing.
Bader Samreen (left) has won his first three fights in professional boxing.

If I become successful, the whole of Jordan is going to have a chance, the 21-year-old boxer says



by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Thu 25 Nov 2021, 2:34 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Nov 2021, 2:51 PM

When Bader Samreen enters the ring in Dubai on Friday, his rhythmic footwork and jaw-dropping exchange of punches with his opponent –Digari Mahesh of India – will be beamed live across continents.

Friday’s bout at D4G Fight Night in Dubai will be another chapter for the undefeated Jordanian who continues to chase his world championship dream.

But the 21-year-old Samreen is not fighting for personal glory alone. His is not just a fight to become the first Jordanian world champion in the history of professional boxing.

“This is also one thing I do,” Samreen, who credits YouTube and video games for his impressive English, says with an infectious smile.

“I don't just do boxing for myself. I do this to change the life of my family and also the life of the young people in my country that want to have a dream.”

When Samreen was 12, he was dragged into a boxing club by his brother Hesham, an amateur boxer with the Jordanian national team who also fought in the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers last year.

“I went with him that day and to this day I just continued because once I put the gloves on, I feel like I belong here. I feel this is the sport where I can show my skills.”

But Samreen saw many a Jordanian boxer’s dreams of turning pro end in tears.

“It (boxing) doesn't get a lot of support in Jordan, unlike taekwondo or football. That's why a lot of boxers in Jordan end up leaving the sport and doing regular jobs for $400-$500 a month,” he says.

“But I always had this dream to not give up. Now if they see that one guy, one of 12 million from Jordan went and got the chance to be a pro boxer, they're gonna be like, ‘okay if he had the chance, I'm gonna have a chance too’. You know they're going to look up to me and keep on training hard.

“And if I become successful, the whole of Jordan is going to have a chance.”

Bader Samreen during a press conference in Dubai. (Supplied photo)
Bader Samreen during a press conference in Dubai. (Supplied photo)

The lightweight boxer who has been training in Dubai since the start of this year, would not have come this far without the support of his family.

“Look, my family is a different kind of family. But, of course, my mom was not happy because it's a violent sport. Like I sometimes I used to go home with a black eye, broken nose, a broken rib or whatever. And she would be very worried,” he says.

“But she saw that I loved it and that it was my passion and that was the only thing that I can focus on 100%. Then my dad, you know, once I told him that I want to be a world champion. He said, ‘okay, go I'm with you. I'm your backbone’.

“But other family members used to tell my father that I’m wasting my time. He didn't know what to answer. He would just tell them, ‘okay, he has a dream and let him do whatever he thinks is right’.

Now the tide has turned after Samreen’s dream start to his professional career (three straight wins, including two knockouts), having won four national championships, one Arab championship gold and a bronze at the Youth World Championship as an amateur.

“Yes, people in my extended family, they have realised now that ‘okay, this kid is another level. This kid could actually be a world champion one day’. So now they have started to support me!”

The list of boxers from who Samreen has borrowed style and technique is long and includes icons like Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather, but the Jordanian says he will take one small step at a time on his road to the world championship.

“I’m 21, you know, I'm not in a rush,” he says.

“So by 24 if I'm not going to be a world champion, I'm definitely going to be a world championship contender.”

D4G Fight Night

Friday, Motospace, Dubai

First bell: 17:50 UAE Time

Promoter

Ahmed A Seddiqi for D4G Promotions

Live

ESPN+ in the USA, ESPN Knockout in Latin America, IFL TV for the rest of the world

Line-up

Ohara Davies (Great Britain) vs Nicholas Mwangi (Kenya)

Badou Jack (Sweden) vs Samuel Crossed (US)

Rocky Fielding (Great Britain) vs Emmanuel Danso (Ghana)

Muhammad Waseem (Pakistan) vs Rober Barrera (Colombia)

Bader Samreen (Jordan) vs Digari Mahesh (India)


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