LAC LA BICHE - A life-long dream is becoming a reality for one boxer with roots in the Lac La Biche area.
Muhammad “Hummy” Moghrabi fell in love with the sport at the age of 11. He is debuting in his first professional boxing match later this month in Toronto, after years of fighting as an amateur in the Alberta Boxing league.
“Not everybody has this dream but Hummy has this dream. He has a dream of doing great things and achieving his goals. He set everything aside, put his life almost on hold for one year and we went really, really hard,” said John Mendonca, Moghrabi’s coach.
The 27-year-old will be competing in the 175-lbs light-heavyweight category against a fighter out of Mexico City during the Oct. 15 match. The event will also see a handful of other boxers defend their titles, win a shot at a title, or enter the arena for the very first time.
For Moghrabi, the goal has always been to apply his skills and stay dedicated to achieving his dream— even if that meant moving to the Edmonton area to join the Alliance Boxing club with coach Mendonca.
“I moved to Edmonton almost three years ago in search of success in boxing, basically with the plan of figuring this out whichever way I had to. Finding a home with Alliance Boxing has helped me get there and has been the game changer for me,” he said.
“I'm hoping to make this my career, my goal and the dream is to fight-for-pay.”
In recent years, Moghrabi has been competing and seeing success as an amateur with Alberta Boxing. Last Spring, he won gold in the Alberta Golden Gloves Tournament and competed in over 10 fight cards across the province in 2022 alone.
But after the COVID pandemic shuttered much of the amateur competitions, it was time to make the switch and level up, said Moghrabi.
“Unfortunately, for the third year in a row, the national amateur tournament was cancelled due to COVID… so we’ve all agreed that it's time to turn to the professional side of boxing and take it to the next step.”
Coach Mendonca, who has spent over 30 years coaching champions and claiming boxing titles in his own right, says Moghrabi was on track to become the national amateur champion.
But the move to professional boxing in the midst of the challenges the young boxer faced is showing great promise, said Mendonca.
“He’s one of the most dedicated kids that I’ve seen. When he came to me he had a couple of losses that he had to go and avenge” and performed, said Mendonca
The event will also see the Edmonton club’s bantam-weight national champion Mikenna 'Mighty Mik' Tansley defend her national title.
Preparing for the professional season has seen Moghrabi train multiple times a day, six-days-a-week. The training includes running upwards of 30 km a week, one-on-one sessions with his coach and “getting back to the basics,” the boxer explained.
Mendonca, who has prepared Moghrabi for over 40 fights, says the professional fight will also include preparing for longer rounds.
“When you turn pro it's four-minute rounds, there are no helmets and the gloves are smaller. He’s a really good kid, that’s in really good shape,” the coach said.
With the dedication, and experience fighting in different weight classes over the years, the lifestyle that boxing has been able to provide has been like no other, said Moghrabi.
“It’s a very humbling sport. I’ve faced a lot of challenges as a youth in the sport being heavy and facing taller and larger opponents. But as time progressed, I refused to quit and always came back and tried harder,” which he has used to his advantage to grow during his 15 years of boxing.
With the Oct. 15 debut, goals and upcoming fights with Alliance Boxing Club throughout the year, Moghrabi says he is achieving his goals one step at a time.
“I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. I obviously have to do this first one and get it done. But our team is always willing to make adjustments as they arise.”
Most importantly, acknowledging and paying homage to his original coach Ken Scullion from the Lac La Biche Boxing Club where he grew to love the sport and got his start is a part of recognizing his journey so far, said Moghrabi .
“I would like to thank all the coaches and the people along the way in becoming a professional. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Ken Scullion,” he says, admiring the well-known local figure who has shaped the boxing scene in the community.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here at all and I honestly moved to Edmonton to receive more of a competitive edge on the sport.”