Like any kid picking up a sport for the first time, Amer Abdallah had dreams of winning the world championship in kickboxing.
Not everyone gets an opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream, let alone get a second chance at making it come true. Consider Abdallah blessed as he once again is in position to make some history.
The 38-year-old will try to become the first Western New Yorker to win a world kickboxing championship in his hometown as Abdallah will face Englishman Daniel Hughes (23-3) for the vacant World Kickboxing Association cruiserweight title in the main event of a 14-fight card that begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Kenan Center in Lockport.
Abdallah brings a 16-0 record into the fight, which hopefully will go off without any issues.
The last time Abdallah was scheduled to fight for the championship was in November, but his opponent – then champion Gareth Richards of South Wales – didn’t make the trip. Abdallah, whose company Lace ‘em Up Promotions organized the card, said the World Kickboxing Association stripped Richards of the crown shortly afterwards, setting the stage for Saturday.
The lengths it has taken Abdallah, who turned professional in 2000, to reach this point is the main reason he doesn’t want to leave anything to chance in the ring. He wants to put Hughes down hard and fast.
“There’s a lot riding on this fight,” said Abdallah, who is ranked No. 2 in his weight class and now lives and trains in Las Vegas but still considers Lockport his hometown. “I’m not interested in letting someone decide if I won the round … I want to end this early. This has to be the exclamation point of my career.”
Abdallah, who has received advice from Team Mesi during his career, will be accompanied to the ring by former No. 1 contender and unbeaten Ring 44 Buffalo Boxing Hall of Famer Joe Mesi.
Only general admission tickets ($25) remain for the event, which includes 11 amateur bouts. They can be purchased at Kenan Arena.