Ever since the venue and dates were announced for Social Knockout, the participants have been going ham in the build-up to the event which is also the world’s first cryptocurrency-only combat event.
Social Knockout will see some of the most famous faces in the Middle East throwing hands at one another in the ring this Friday. Dubai’s young businessman and influencer Rashed Saif Belhasa, popularly known as Money Kicks, is set to make his amateur boxing debut at the event. International YouTube star Adam Saleh will also be making his Middle East boxing debut.
While Rashed will take on Arab influencer Anas Elshayib, Saleh will go head-to-head against Walid Sharks, a content creator who rose to fame through his TikTok account.
Fans have witnessed insane trash talk and face-offs ahead of the fight. At one point, Saleh and Sharks were held off from busting each other’s heads during a face-off. Rashed and Anas, meanwhile, took their trash talk to social media platforms. In an unprecedented move, the young businessman threw flour at Anas and before we know it, shoes were flying across the venue during a recent face-off.
In a conversation with City Times, Rashed was upfront about his opponent ahead of the fight that will be held on July 30 at the Coca-Cola Arena. “This guy has been talking a lot. Anas is big in the Arabic market but on July 30, all his fans will know who the real king is,” Rashed pointed out.
The third fight is between YouTube channel N&A Production’s Amir Fotoohi and influencer Slim Albaher.
Coming back to Money Kicks, the influencer has been slogging away at the gym all day ahead of the fight. “It is not a joke, I changed my whole lifestyle and schedule. Now it is all about eating good, gym, sleep and repeat,” Rashed revealed.
‘Rashed is taking it seriously’
Former professional fighter Tam Khan, who is also Rashed’s trainer and promoter, confirmed the debutant’s hard work ahead of the fight. “He is pushing himself and taking it very seriously because it is all fun and being funny at the premiere, but now he has to put in the hard work for the main show,” Khan told City Times. “Rashed does not want to lose face; he is going to go viral so he has to make sure he trains hard.”
“Rashed is taking it seriously, we have got all eyes on him and he knows what is on the line.”
Rashed has been receiving a bit of negativity on social media platforms. But, according to Khan, there is no such thing as bad publicity. “If they are talking bad, it means you are relevant. If they stop talking, it means you are not important. So, good or bad, as long as they are interacting, it is good,” Khan said, adding that many people would want to buy tickets just to see him lose, but either way, Rashed is winning.
For Rashed, his haters are his biggest fans. “If you don’t get hate, you are not doing it right. When I get hate, I celebrate,” Rashed said, conveying his love to his haters for always motivating him.
But, why boxing? It is a sporting tradition that traces its history back to the Greek era, carried forward by many innovations in the sport that also gave birth to our all-time favourites, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. Now, it is the social media influencers who are stepping into the ring in the name of boxing, cue the exhibition fight between Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul.
“Boxing is hand-to-hand and is more action and excitement compared to MMA. It is a sport everyone has known since Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. It is an international mega sport and also an individual sport, unlike cricket or football,” said Khan.
“There are four punches: the jab, the cross, the uppercut and the hook. It is a bit simpler to get into but it is also the hardest sport. There’s more excitement, you get the knockouts, the blood and sweat. People like action. Unfortunately, in life, people like to see happiness, violence and action.”
We are seeing more and more people taking to boxing as their newfound career or activity. On social media celebrities, such as Rashed, taking up boxing as a career, Khan has this to say; “The sky is the limit. If he takes a liking to it, we have got good connections with some of the best boxers and we also have top-notch training facilities.”
With that being said, Rashed is not going to stop after his fight with Anas. “If I go a bit harder, I would get to fight the Paul brothers (Logan and Jake), you never know,” Rashed said. “This game is so crazy, anything can happen. But my dream opponent is KSI or Jake, one of them.”
Rashed has a great deal of respect for the Paul brothers. And, with Logan (Paul) in town, the two are often spotted together having a jolly time at Rashed’s training facility. “The Paul brothers are on a different level now, they changed the boxing game and I have love and respect for them,” he said. “They have been doing this for years so hopefully I can do something similar and inspire more influencers to get in the ring.”
Anas, meanwhile, for whom boxing is a favourite sport, wants his fans to keep their trust in him. When asked about his next, or dream opponent, Anas said, “I have no issues in fighting anyone.”
Organised by TK Fight Nights in collaboration with Dubai Sports Council, Social Knockout is set to take place on Friday, July 30 at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai.
Apart from all the influencer boxing, the venue will also be host to live performances from rappers Fat Joe and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. Indian singer and composer Guru Randhawa will also treat visitors and viewers to his greatest hits.
RAPID FIRE WITH RASHED
Your prediction about the fight?
KO. 2nd round.
Among the other contenders, who would you like to fight and why?
I think everyone has their own strength but I’m working towards something bigger in future and calling out some international influencers.
What is your mantra in the ring?
Just back my training.
Three words for Anas?
Don’t try me.
What is one thing you’re scared of, and why?
I am a little nervous of course. It is natural because it is my home town but nothing scares me. I’ve put in the work, I believe in myself and I will get in the ring like a lion.
How to watch/attend Social Knockout
Attending the world’s first-ever cryptocurrency-only live event is quite simple. All you have to do is purchase tokens from kokoswap.org and show the QR code which you will receive after your purchase. A minimum purchase of $50 is required for the standard experience. You can also purchase the PPV priced at $10 to live stream the event on www.tkfightnight.com