Not many Yemenis know him yet, but they will soon do:New international Yemeni boxer on the rise [Archives:2003/674/Last Page]

October 6 2003

Brian Mihtar is a name capturing more attention by the day throughout the USA and the world. The 24-year-old Detroit boxer of Yemeni-origin was able to show glimmers of becoming an international superstar in professional boxing in the junior middleweight division. “Naseem Hamed is my idol and example.” He said, saying that it may be too much of an ambition to reach the level of NAZ, but “why not try?”
In order to shed light on this young boxer's background, ambitions and hopes, Yemen Times carried out an exclusive interview with Mihtar, who won both his professional matches by knockout and who was happy to reach out for support from his Yemeni fans and supporters for future matches. The fan-club of Brian can be reached by emailing him at [email protected].

Q: Who is Brian Mihtar (Age, place of birth, family, religion, etc., brief biography)?
A: I was born as Abrahim Mihtar on August 18, 1979 in Detroit Michigan, U.S.A. I am 24 years old, 5'10″, 147 lbs (welterweight). I am a practicing Muslim, who is currently living in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A. I am from the Mihtar family which hails from the village of Meswara in the country of Yemen.

Q: As an American of Yemeni origin who is seen to have great potential in boxing, what are your feelings about Yemen, Naz, and your ambitions in representing your country?
A: Prince Naseem Hamed was the inspiration behind my entrance into the sport of boxing. I am very very proud to represent my heritage of Yemen and my religion of Islam.
Q: How did you start boxing? Who motivated you? Did you expect to become a pro boxer?
A: In December 1997, I went to watch Prince Naseem make his U.S. debut in New York City's Madison Square Garden. That inspired me to begin my boxing career. I first took up the sport as a hobby, but as I progressed and saw how talented I was, I decided to take it more seriously.

Q: Detroit is the most heavily populated Yemeni-American city, how did the other Yemenis in your city react to your achievement, any specific names you want to mention who had a role in this?
A: The Arabs, and especially, the Yemeni-American community, were heavily supportive and they continue to be as I grow in the sport. As far as thanking people, I would like to thank all my fans who have supported me from Hamtramck,, Detroit, Southfield, Dearborn, Michigan and as far away as Buffalo, New York.

Q: You seem to be at the beginning of a long way to become a superstar like Naz. Do you have ambitions and do you think you can be as good or even better?

A: My ultimate ambition is to one day become a world champion. My drive is the love for the sport. As far as Naseem, those are very big shoes to fill and I'm honored to be mentioned among him.

Q: Do you want/expect any assistance from the Yemeni Ministry of Youth and Sports? What type of support do you need
A: I would like to, one day soon, have an opportunity to come to Yemen and work with the Yemeni youth and maybe even set up an exhibition boxing event. I'm just waiting for an invitation, but I know it will come soon.

Q: Could you brief us about the matches you already had, and how it felt when you won them all
A: So far, I have had 2 professional fights and I have won both by knockout. My professional debut was here in my hometown, Detroit, Michigan was a first round knockout win. My last fight was globally televised on ESPN and I won that exciting fight via a dramatic third round knockout. I hope this fight will be replayed on Yemen TV soon.
Q: How about future matches?
A: I am tentatively set to fight on October 30th at the Cobo Hall in Detroit Michigan.

Q: How do American experts assess you in terms of quality and stiffness? Are you ranked in any way? Do they consider you unorthodox (like Naz) or text-book style boxer?
A: I am a relatively young fighter, but I received many high praises from my last performance which was globally televised on ESPN. I am an old-school, textbook-style fighter with power in both hands.

Q: When will Yemenis in Yemen be able to see you in your country?
A: Soon, insha'allah.

Q: Any word you want to deliver through Yemen Times to the readers,
government, and Naseem Hamed, who is also a frequent reader of the paper?
A: As an avid reader of Yemen Times, I want to tell the readers of Yemen Times, and the people of Yemen, and the world for the matter, this is only the beginning. You can expect to see more of me in the years to come representing my Yemeni heritage. To the government of Yemen, I am proud of the progression of democratic elections in Yemen and hope to see it prosper further in the generations to come. To Naz, thanks for inspiring me.

Q: Any final remarks?
A: God bless the people of Yemen, and let there be one day peace in the Middle East. Free Palestine!!