Sofiane Oumiha puts the pros on notice while still running a stellar amateur career
Standout amateur Sofiane Oumiha offered a look into the future when he stopped previously unbeaten Nicolas Blanco in six-rounds of a scheduled 10-round professional contest at the Chapiteau de l’Espace Fontvieille, Fontvieille, Monaco, on Saturday.
Oumiha, who has won silver at the 2016 Olympics, three gold medals at World Championships (2017, 21′ and 23′) and a cache of other international medals, had three professional fights last year but has been switching between the professional and amateur codes since.
“A good fight, I was gradually going up with the power in the fight, I felt good,” Oumiha (4-0, 3 knockouts) told The Ring through Karim Bouzidi of Versus Sports Management. “I would have preferred a better opponent but this is what we had to fight and we fought him.
“I’m critical of myself, I want to perform better and be better all the time. I’m happy I have the win, the knockout but I know I have a lot of room for improvement, in technique, being in position etc.”
The popular 28-year-old Frenchman may look to fight in an amateur tournament next month but is already pencilled in for his next professional outing in Conakry, Guinea on December 16.
“The main purpose of this event is ‘Fight for Africa’, it’s a project the father [Lansana Diallo] of Ibrahima [Diallo] pushed 10-years ago when he was still a boxer and is pleased to see his son is going to fight,” revealed Bouzidi.
“It is to show boxers in Africa it’s possible to have a career in Africa and people try to do something for them, whether it’s organizing an event and earn money. Sofiane is French/Moroccan, so he is at ease to show the path and the development.”
And Oumiha wants to be tested in this event: “(For) the fight in Guinea I expect to have better opposition, in terms of ranking of opponent and toughness of the fight.”
Competing as an amateur and professional at the same time can be a complicated process. The two sports very different. However, Oumiha is unconcerned.
“I have the password!,” he said laughing. “I have boxed a long time already, I have that in me, I feel the rhythm. In the beginning it was hard to switch between amateur and pro but since I won the last World Championship, I have unlocked something in my mind.”
Some question morally if a boxer should switch between codes and it is frowned up on in some circles but Oumiha doesn’t see a problem.
“If a boxer feels fine to go back, then it’s OK,” he said. “The fighter trains everyday, what makes the difference between amateur and pro? Just the format, not the intensity they put in training.”
With regards his amateur career, Paris 2024 is too big a carrot for him not to go after.
“In the amateur field, I have won everything other than the Olympic gold, this is the only medal I have missed,” he said explaining his motivation. “I like to compete, when I decide something I go for it, I take time to decide but when I decide, I go for it. I went to the [Olympic] qualifier and I did qualify, and I decided to go to the Olympics in Paris.
“Whether I succeed or not, I will do my best to make it. If ever it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work but I will have done everything possible until the end. After I have won that one, I will turn the page.”
Oumiha, who boasts wins over the likes of Teofimo Lopez, Andy Cruz, Joe Cordina and Lazaro Alvarez in the amateur ranks, will complete his transition to the professional game after his swansong at his home Olympics.
“I expect to fight all the big [name] guys in the junior lightweight or lightweight division,” he said. “Those boxers will remember me. I want to go quickly. I am coming, I will make a little stop in Paris and then I’m coming.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].