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Ziyad ‘Zizo’ Almaayouf: Saudi Arabia boxer targets world domination

Born in America to a Saudi father and Egyptian mother, Zizo’s early upbringing saw him move between the two Arab nations.

A budding tennis player, it was during a warm-up on the running track while living in Saudi Arabia that he first laid eyes on the sport he would grow to love.

“I saw a boxing coach training people on the mitts. He walked up to me and asked me to give it a try,” Zizo says.

“But as one of nine siblings, my mum and dad didn’t want one of the younger ones to go round punching the others.”

His father insisted if he really wanted to box, Zizo should give it his all and outlined a regimented sleeping, training and diet plan.

Zizo moved to Los Angeles to study in 2019 but his plans to seriously pursue boxing suffered a setback as Covid lockdown forced the closure of amateur gyms.

He was then taken to the pro gym of former two-weight world champion turned elite coach Buddy McGirt – a fighter Zizo idolised.

Being a fanboy earned him no special treatment, as Zizo was introduced the harsh realities of boxing pretty quickly.

“I was sparring pros and was getting my behind handed to me on a silver platter ever single session,” he says.

“But I learned so much from the experience – like throwing the perfect body shot, which I had no idea of before.”

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Written by Joseph

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