Edinburgh boxer Reehan Ali part of Royal Navy championships team
HE'S more used to bobbing and weaving upon the high seas in his job helping patrol the world's oceans.
But now an Edinburgh born fighter hopes to he can make waves of an all-together different kind, when he laces up his gloves in the ring.
Reehan Ali, 23, is among the eight-man Royal Navy team looking to fight their way to national championships over the next couple of months.
The team, which has just been announced, will compete for what has been described as the “strongest Royal Navy team in 30 years” in the UK Armed Forces Championships later this month in Hampshire.
The marine engineer, who has previously competed in Scottish Championship qualifiers, has already been crowned the Royal Navy champion, Scottish Eastern District Champion and Southern Counties Champion this year.
But he’s not pretending it will be plain sailing. Reehan said: “I’m really looking forward to the championships – we’ve been working really hard this season and are all up for the challenge.
“It has been hard work and a lot of time and effort has been put in to getting us to the required standard. The main thing is to keep enjoying it and trying to constantly get better. “
Along with his seven team-mates, Reehan has a good chance of becoming the overall combined services champion. If he wins, he would qualify for the National Elite Championships in London, where there is a possibility of being selected for the national squad.
Chief Petty Officer Chris Smith said: “Reehan is essentially the newcomer on the team, but is a real talent. He will be one to watch for the future.”
The navy has been a hotbed for sporting talent for over a hundred years and boxing teams can be found in nearly every unit. Many boxers use the armed forces competitions as a springboard to competing at a professional level.
If the navy win this year’s championships they would take the title away from the army, who have won it three decades running.
CPO Smith said: “The Royal Navy boxing team has an excellent chance of winning the championships this year – the army win it every year. This season there is a great buzz in the RN camp and we really believe we can do it.
“I took over a successful team from last season and this time around have been implementing a lot of strength and conditioning training which includes standard boxing training as well as swim circuits.
“We’re having a really good season and we’ve gone from strengths to strength. Last year was a close contest at the combined service championships and we’re going to make the army work for their points. The RAF are also entering three competitors so it is really competitive this year.
“We’ve been out round the country travelling to spar with different clubs and boxers including the Scottish Commonwealth boxing team and the Royal Marines boxing teams, which were particular highlights.”
The preliminary fights will take place on Monday, with the finals held on Thursday.
The National Elite Championships pre-quarters will be held on April 7, while the finals are on April 22.