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British boxer Kid Galahad shows support for Qatar after winning title bout Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

British boxer Kid Galahad shows support for Qatar after winning title bout

The featherweight boxer was born in Doha to Yemeni parents [Instagram/kidgalahad90]

Date of publication: 17 July, 2017

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A British boxer has shown support for the Gulf state of Qatar, which is under blockade by four Arab countries, as he resoundingly won a title match.

A British boxer has shown support for the Gulf state of Qatar, which is embroiled in a row with four Arab countries, as he resoundingly won a title match this weekend.

Abdul Barry Awad - known by his fighting moniker "Kid Galahad" - entered the ring on Saturday draped in a Qatar scarf and with his team carrying flags of the emirate and a banner of Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani before beating his opponent to take home the IBF Inter-Continental featherweight title.

"I want to thank God for the opportunity for giving me today and second of all I want to thank my Qatari people and Sheikh Tamim," Awad said in a post fight interview.

Awad's brother told The New Arab that the boxer, who was born in Doha to Yemeni parents, moved with his grandparents at the age of four to the northern English city of Liverpool.

"We all support Qatar during this crisis and have always supported the country, we still have lots of family there," he said.

While he was a teenager he moved again to Sheffield, where he met British boxing star Prince Naseem Hamed, who also comes from a Yemeni background.

It was he who inspired Awad to take up the combat sport.

Qatar's ambassador to Britain met with Awad on Monday in London to congratulate him on his victory over Mexico's Jose Cayatano.   

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Doha on 5 June, and closed the Gulf state's only land border.

Qatar was also denied access to the four countries' airspace and ordered their citizens back from the emirate.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt accuse Qatar of ties to Iran and of funding Islamist extremist groups. Doha has denied the accusations.

Since the start of the diplomatic and economic sanctions, several sports stars and fans have publically defended Qatar, which is set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez, who now plays for Qatari club al-Sadd, last month called for an end to worst crisis to hit the region since the establishment of the GCC in 1981.

"I would like to call for an end to the crisis in the Arab world and the end of the blockade against Qatar. I hope there will be a solution soon so people can live in peace and enjoy football together," Hernandez said in a video statement posted on Sadd's Twitter page.

Also last month two supporters of Tunisia's football team Club Africain were briefly detained for raising a banner at a match, decrying attempts by the Arab states to isolate Qatar

The banner, which read: "Shame on you rulers! You besiege Qatar while leaving Israel in peace" - reportedly drew raucous applause from spectators.

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