“My name is Musaify, but people call me Mus/Moose because my fight name is Mighty Moose. It’s kind of inspired by the superhero Mighty Mouse.
I started boxing when I was 18. I was actually skating competitively at first, but when I saw my brother boxing and winning competitions, it inspired me to give the sport a try.
It was more of a hi-bye hobby back then, but I remember wanting to coach because I enjoyed being taught by my brother and (Olympic boxer) Syed Kadir at Kadir Boxing School. After some time, I decided to take the sport more seriously and tried my hand at competing.
My first fight was terrible; I trained for so many months but I still lost. I disappeared from the scene after my debut at the 2011 Nationals because I needed to focus more on work, but I eventually returned because I was hooked. When I came back, I focused more on coaching.
As a coach, my focus has always been more on stance and footwork. If you have no proper stance, your weight will not be properly distributed throughout your body when you punch, and that’s why some people lose their balance. I’m very anal when it comes to these things.
It’s an eyesore when people box wrongly. I like to explain a technique properly, even if I have to repeat myself 100 times, so that a person will understand boxing better. The terminologies might sound dry to them, but it’s better than letting them continue blindly.
If people come to my class, I want them to leave the gym thinking, ‘I learnt something new today.’ That’s the culture here at Legends Fight Sport where I currently work as a full-time coach. It’s not just about letting people punch bags so that they’ll feel tired.
Before I started working here, (pro boxer and Legends co-founder) Ridhwan helped me out a lot. When I left my old gym, I didn’t have a place to conduct personal training with my clients, but Ridhwan let me use his gym.
After doing a few sessions there, I tried my luck and asked if he needed a new coach, and it just so happened that one of his coaches was ending his internship soon. So here I am today. It’s been a fun ride so far.
I think I’ll stop boxing competitively when I feel the time is right. Eventually, the younger ones will rise up, especially in the fast-paced amateur scene. And to be completely honest, coaching and competing at the same time is hard; you have to manage your time very well.
Boxing is all about repetitions and perfecting your technique. You have to put in the hours, which is tough when you coach full-time. You have lesser time to train, sleep and recover. So if you want to compete, you should just focus on being an athlete.
Of everyone I’ve coached, I think I’m proudest of Umarul. We both came from the same gym, and I’ve seen him progressed from zero to hero over the years. He lost his first three fights and finally won his last match at The Ring Fighting Championship. He was so happy about it.
I’m sure there were people who thought he’d lose again, but not me. I myself lost my first couple of fights and only started winning after my third fight. I had to project myself into his situation and encourage him not to give up.
While I do set boundaries with friends who want me to coach them, I understand that emotions play a huge role in boxing. When people lose, they’ll be emotionally affected, and you have to be there for them. Otherwise, they’ll feel disheartened and drop everything.
If you stop boxing after training for two to three years because you keep losing, then it’s a bit of a waste, isn’t it? If you tell your mind that you can’t do it, then you really can’t do it. But you’ll only really fail if you stop trying.
When a boxer I train succeeds, it’s good in reinforcing my credibility as a coach, of course, but that’s not really my priority. Even today, if a pro or amateur boxer wants me to train him or her, I’d do it.
I won’t even ask for anything in return. At the end of the day, I just want to see our local boys and girls put in the hard work and win. When they win, I win too.” – Musaify, 32
Interview by: Arman Shah