We interview new Algeria Desert Hawks boxer Fehim Chabane from France who tells us how proud he is to be representing the country of his ancestors in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).
The Welterweight (69kg) boxer has already made an impact in the Desert Hawk team and got his first win in the WSB against Uzbek boxer Nodirbek Kosimov of the USA Knockouts in week 3.
Fehim you represent the Algeria Desert Hawks but are in fact French…
Yes that’s right. I was born in France but I have Algerian roots. My dad was born in Algeria and my mum, though born in France is also an Algerian.
Would you say that your links with the country are strong though?
Yes. I go there very often on holiday and my grand-parents still live there. In fact I have dual citizenship.
What does it mean to you to be representing the Algerian Franchise in the WSB ?
Algeria is the country of my ancestors and of my father. So it is a real honour for me, my dad and my grand-parents who are still here.
The Lightweight Oualid Belaoura is in the same situation as you…
Yes, it’s exactly the same as with me. His parents live in France but both have Algerian roots.
You are new to the Desert Hawks. Did you already know any of the team before joining?
I know Abdelkader Chadi, who used to box for Paris United before and who trains with me at INSEP (National Sports Institute) near Paris. Other than that not really, but I’ve been made to feel very welcome.
In what ways is the WSB different from AOB competitions?
Almost everything is different: the format of course but also the rhythm of the bouts, the atmosphere, the gloves…in any event I much prefer the WSB.
Regarding the rhythm, do you feel much more tired after five rounds than after three?
That depends on the opponent really. Personally I prefer five rounds, I’m trained for it. When we train for three rounds we focus on intensity. Across five however, that is impossible.
So the tactical approach is different?
Yes, you have to be more patient and look for the most effective shots. Five rounds is a long time! Maybe not for you guys watching, but I assure that for those of us in the ring it’s a long time! (laughs).
How have you adapted your training for WSB?
I found out in September that the Franchise wanted me in their line-up. So I went to work to prepare for fighting across five rounds straight away. The change wasn’t too drastic though. Basically we just doubled the preparation we do for three rounds. My father is also my coach and even though I am the first WSB boxer he has trained, he has already coached several pros.
What is your main goal going forward ?
I’m only 23 so I’m still at a fairly early stage in my career. But I really hope to be one of the 40 boxers that qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games via the WSB. I guess every boxer in the competition hopes for the same thing.