Articles, Dentistry

Boxing clever

Your hometown is London, so what brings you to Manchester?

Effectively Amir Khan and his team; with their help I got my professional license with the British Boxing Board of Control. The training facilities here in their gym in Bolton and the introduction with Oliver Harrison – who used to train Amir and currently trains his younger brother Haroon Khan – are great. Their help and assistance was really the catalyst for the move.

I was about to embark on my dental implantology MSc in Manchester but after thinking real hard, I decided I couldn’t balance that with general practice and boxing, so I’ve put that on the back burner for now and plan to return to it at a later date.

I didn’t want to look back from my armchair when I’m 50 years old and think ‘what if’, so I’m going to give boxing my best and see what happens with that.

What inspired you to take up a career in dentistry?

I always had a scientific mind when I was a child and I’m a very hands-on person. I had an interest in the medicine in terms of helping and caring for others, so I was always destined to be in the medical field. I did work experience in a dental practice when I was at school, and it highlighted that dentistry tied everything together for me in terms of science, aesthetics, relieving people from pain, the craft of engineering and manufacturing a restoration, and the working hours. It all tied together and made me realise that dentistry was for me. From there I geared my studies and interests towards that.

I’m so happy I chose this profession because I do really love it and also I probably wouldn’t have the flexibility to pursue boxing if I was working in medicine.

Why did you take up boxing?

I’ve loved boxing since the first time I laced a pair of gloves when I was eight years old. Lots of people see boxing as brutal and barbaric whereas I see it more as a physical chess match with lots of strategy and ring intelligence involved. There’s the cerebral aspect – that many people undermine – and then there’s definitely the physical aspect. It’s probably the most difficult sport in the world in terms of the fitness, discipline, hard work and dedication that’s involved.

I’ve always been sporty and extrovert and enjoyed staying in shape and thankfully I’ve now got this opportunity.

Arthif fights in the welterweight category, which is 147lbs (10 stone 7lbs).

At the start of his professional career he will fight matches of four rounds, as he progresses in the sport these will increase to six or eight until he is able to fight at title level. Then he will have to compete in fights of 10 to 12 rounds and he will need to customise his training for that.

 

Which passion came first?

When I was young I never envisaged having this opportunity, I always thought I’d be someone who kept boxing as a side activity to a normal working life in the dental surgery. I think it was later on when I was doing well in the gym that I realised something could materialise from it.

Describe a typical day

I wake up and have a nice, healthy, nutritious breakfast, then I head off to the gym at around 9.30am and do two to three hours of work with my coaches – we work on different areas on different days.

Once that’s done I go home to freshen up and get ready for an afternoon clinic treating patients.

Once I’ve finished my clinic I come home, rest up, have a meal and relax before going out for either a run or a swim before getting a good night’s sleep ready for another day.

How do you make each career work around the other?

I have had to put certain aspects of my dentistry on hold, such as the dental implantology MSc.

In terms of working in practice, I’ve had to reduce my full-time hours to part-time, so I do three to four days a week and balance it with half days and train at the gym in that extra time.

Thankfully dentistry can be a flexible profession and it has worked out quite easily in that respect.

Are you currently in training for a specific fight?

At the moment we’re looking at a couple of dates. There’s the possibly of a fight at the end of May in Dubai and also one in June in Manchester. I’m focusing on my training, dedicating myself to working hard in the gym and letting management sort and organise other things, including my first professional fight.

The only thing Arthif doesn’t like about boxing is the diet. He loves bread and has a really sweet tooth so has to be very disciplined with what he eats!

 

Where are you currently practising?

In a practice in Bolton during the week, a practice in Manchester on the weekends and fortnightly at a practice in London, which gives me a great excuse to keep in touch my friends and family back home.

What areas of dentistry are of particular interest?

I really love cosmetic dentistry. I did a Gradia course in Belgium and that really increased my insight and skill into direct work with composites – blending the various shades of enamel and dentine, looking at the refraction of light, and creating that optimum morphology.

For indirect restorations, I like Emax for anterior and zirconia for posterior work. I really enjoy restoring, rebuilding and making a great aesthetic result for patients. I’m also interested in short-term orthodontics, I think that’s really given an extra dimension to my dentistry in terms of treating patients rather than referring them on, giving them a pleasing result in a quicker time.

Who do you look up to in dentistry?

It’d have to be academics from Guy’s King’s and St Thomas’ dental institute. I really admire Professor Stephen Dunne and other specialists within his faculty. They’ve been my biggest inspirations; combining academia, sound knowledge and good dexterity and skills.

Did you know?

The week before a big fight boxers start tapering their training down and instead of sparring or doing any hard training they allow the body to recover instead. The idea is that by this point they will be at their fittest and must ensure their performance peaks on fight night, rather than beforehand.

They will switch to things like sprints and explosive exercises in order to keep sharp for the fight.

They will also minimise their carb intake to ensure they make the correct weight for the fight and will eat a predominantly protein diet.

 

Who are your boxing heroes?

From the past: Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Tommy Hitman Hearns, among others.

Currently: Amir Khan and, ultimately, Floyd Mayweather. I think Floyd is incredible in what he’s achieved and how he goes by his famous ethos of hard work and dedication. He is a living athlete, he will train and dedicate himself for every fight as if it is his first. He’s so intelligent, the way he breaks down each opponent, physically and mentally, is genius. He makes boxing look like what it is: an art.

Amir has been at the top of British boxing for 10 years now and conquered the other side of the Atlantic at a very young age, following his capture of the Olympic silver medal in 2004 at just 17. He has worked incredibly hard to get to where he is, including overcoming adversity early in his career and changing it around completely by winning two world titles. After all his hard work, he has managed to get into a position of a super fight with the best, Floyd Mayweather, and that doesn’t just come about itself!

What I also really like about these two great sportsmen is their charitable hearts and in giving back to the community. Both are often involved in charity and humanitarian efforts – especially Amir who recently set up The Amir Khan Foundation. He is also often helping kids in Bolton and Greater Manchester to get off the streets and be involved in the sport of boxing in order to instill discipline.

What are your other passions, how do you relax?

I’m a movie man, there’s nothing better than sitting down with my wife and watching a good film. I like action films, thrillers, comedy, even the odd rom com – just anything but horror! 

I’ve not been to the cinema in a little while as we have a newborn baby (Grace is only five weeks old) but the last film I went to see was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and we recently watched The Italian Job at home. My all time favourite film has to be Gladiator.

Where do you see your future?

That’s the million-dollar question. I want to give boxing my all; I’ve come this far so it would be a shame to be half-hearted about it. I want to see how I go in boxing over the next couple of years, the big question is whether I can perform well under the lights of a big fight so that’s my next goal, at the moment its just a waiting game to see what happens.

I love dentistry, I’d never leave it. Once I’ve called it a day with boxing I want to return to do my masters degree and continue working in practice. I’d also love to give back by doing some teaching within the profession too.

Arthif finds that his knowledge of sports science and the musculoskeletal system, alongside his regular exercise, has definitely helped him with his posture in the dental practice, making him aware of it and hopefully preventing any back problems in the future.

 

If you had to choose between dentistry and boxing…?

No! I couldn’t make that choice at all! That’s why I’m so thankful that I haven’t had to make that choice. Even if boxing went really well, I’d never leave dentistry, I enjoy it that much.

What three things do you love about dentistry?

  • Getting people out of pain
  • Improving a patient’s health, function and aesthetics
  • Improving a patient’s confidence.

What three things do you love about boxing?

  • The physical and mental discipline that’s required
  • The ring intelligence
  • The adrenaline factor.

Arthif Daniel BDS (Lond) BSc (Hons) [Sports & Exercise Science] London & Manchester qualified in 2008 and is a former honorary clinical teacher at King’s College London Dental Institute.

He is also a professional licensed boxer with the British Boxing Board of Control.

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