Izzadeen Malik El-Amin vows to take over boxing
Izzadeen Malik El-Amin (23) says he knew from a young age he wanted to be a boxer, and his focus on that goal led to him taking his eye off the education ball.
“I was never into smoking or drinking, I just spent my time chilling, but I didn’t fit in at school,” he said, with poor attendance and poor showings at his GCSEs.
After being excluded from school at 15, he lasted just one hour at college before finding his focus and drive in his twin loves – boxing and religion.
“My dad was never in my life, I can only remember meeting him a handful of times. People would tell me I was like him, which hurt me, or tell me at school I would be a failure. But I want to inspire other young people who maybe haven’t yet found their way, that it is okay to follow your dream.
Izzadeen’s hero Muhammad Ali found stellar success young, taking an Olympic gold medal at just 18 years old. While he has yet to reach such heights, he turned professional last year, at 22 years old, and has won his first five professional bouts, four of them in first round knock-outs, in Mexico and Columbia.
Now looking for a promoter and manager, the talented light light-welter and welterweight boxer is hoping his next professional bout will take place later this year here in the UK.
Izzadeen, who was brought up by his mum Shazia with two sisters and brother, lacking a genuine father figure, says many friends, family and educators dismissed his dream, but he was determined to follow it.
In his late teens he also decided to explore religion, even though he was not brought up in a particularly religious household, and found peace and a goal through Islam.
“I had been kind of lost. I always had my dream, but many people were quite vocal when they couldn’t see my dream or believe that I would get there. Religion definitely played a part for me, I mentally turned to God.
“I didn’t have a father growing up and didn’t do well at school, but I wasn’t going to become a statistic. I wanted to prove that I was going to be different. I was going to choose a different path and do something great in boxing and something greater than that.”
Boxing, he says, allowed him a safe space to work out his anger over his younger years and want to encourage others to follow their dream
“I would 100 per cent recommend boxing, boxing and religion have made me who I am.”
And, he says, his journey to develop in sport and as a person continues.