ABDULLAH CHANDIO - AN EMERGING KICKBOXER
It is always a pleasure to talk to our emerging stars who are working hard to shine the name of Pakistan. Abdullah Chandio talks to us about his win against India which took place in Dubai last month, his exceptional track record of being undefeated to date and much more. Read on ...
Hello Abdullah, congrats on winning against India last month, how did it feel knocking down our arch-rivals?
I feel great about winning my debut professional fight in Dubai at BKK Sports, and that too against India. This fight was an incredible challenge for me as I had to go up two weight divisions to compete at 75 kg and that too against a more experienced opponent who had a world championship under his belt.
He had a 70+ fight record with just six losses, and I had a 15-win streak in comparison. I had all the odds against me, and ‘Alhamdulillah’ I still managed a knockout victory
This victory was in the hands of Allah and gave it to me, which I have dedicated to the flood victims of Pakistan. Even whilst I was out in Dubai (through the Pakistani Association of Dubai and Pakistanis in Dubai) I and my team did whatever we could to volunteer to support the flood victims of Pakistan by packing essential items from the UAE which were being shipped to flood-affected areas of Pakistan.
Brief us a bit about your childhood, were you always inclined towards shining the name of Pakistan in kickboxing? Or you wanted to pursue some other career?
I lost my father when I was five-years-old and was raised by my uncle. Both my father and my uncle were national and international champions; they had acclaimed international fame for their performance and reputation in Combat Sports.
My family always reminisced about my father’s loving memory, and I grew up hearing about my father’s legacy, it was etched into my genes to continue the family legacy. My brother and cousins are also very well-known fighters in the kickboxing, K1 and MMA scene in Pakistan. My interest has always been in pure Kickboxing, and although I have trained in MMA, my interests were never in pursuing a career (at least initially) in MMA, but rather in striking and K1 Kickboxing.
How do you manage your stress before your fights? Do you feel pressured to bring the cup home or do you go with the flow?
Before the fight, BKK flew me out to Dubai for a specialised training camp, where I was trained by a British Multiple Muay Thai and Kick-boxing Champion (Jason Woodham) who prepared me for this fight. As this was the first time in history that such an event was taking place at such a high level, there was a lot at stake, but ‘Alhamdulillah’ I am used to handling pressure and my corner team of K7 was with me, along with the support of Abdul Rahiman, Midhun and Azeem ‘bhai’, who made sure I had nothing to worry about, so all I had to do was to focus on my training, diet, recovery and (ultimately) my fight.
Have you ever lost any flight to date? How do you manage to keep your sportsman-spirit alive?
In my amateur and professional career of K1 Kickboxing, I am undefeated
which comes down to my team at K7 (Jamil ‘chacha’ and Rizwan ‘bhai’) and my Dubai team (Ayub Khan and Amjad Nazeer).
My mentors and coaches teach all of us to maintain sportsmanship, as this is a sport. I aim to promote peace through sports, which this event has done efficiently. After the fight, we met with the Indian team and bonded well with them.
Apart from knocking down your opponents, how do you like to spend your free time and clear your mind?
I’m an avid swimmer and play football and cricket with my friends during my off days. I lead a pretty active lifestyle, which supports my growth in my chosen field of Combat Sports.
Kickboxing is a dangerous sport and it’s expensive to travel to different countries without the support of the government hence the opportunities start lacking; do you feel our government is playing its part in making this sector boom?
You are right, kickboxing can be a dangerous sport. It’s funny, the Pakistani Federation actually tried their best to make sure I couldn’t attend (even claiming that I wouldn’t make it to the airport without their permission) but Azeem ‘bhai’ at BKK Sports overcame all of these issues and got my flights and visas sorted, and I was in Dubai a few days after signing with BKK Sports.
It’s a sad state of affairs when the Federation tries to prevent you from growing just because they cannot directly benefit from your participation; had BKK Sports not gone out of their way to bring me to Dubai, then Pakistan would have never gotten this victory. The government needs to implement check and balances on such federations to ensure that other such opportunities also don’t go to waste, like how mine could have been!
What are your future plans in terms of kickboxing?
I’m currently the only Pakistani Kickboxer competing on the international circuit actively right now; I intend to grow my skill sets and develop as a fighter and look forward to bringing home more medals and trophies and raising my country's flag high on a global platform, like my uncle, siblings, cousins, and father has done, ‘Inshallah’!
INTERVIEW: MARYAM ZUBERI
PHOTOS & COORDINATION: COURTESY BKK SPORTS