Muslim boxer refuses “six-figure sponsorship deal” from alcohol firm

Professional boxer and firefighter, Suz Member.

A professional Muslim boxer has turned down a “life changing” sponsorship deal with an alcohol firm because it goes against the Shariah.

Suz Member, 35, said he also turned down the sponsorship package as he did not want to encourage underage drinking.

Member, who has fought in seven professional bouts and also works as a Greater Manchester firefighter, is a practising Muslim and said he would have been a “hypocrite” to accept the offer.

The welterweight is the first British-born Indian to fight professionally and has earned a high-profile in Africa in recent months after becoming the first Briton to take part in a professional bout in Zambia.

His subsequent charity work in the country has seen him become a role model in central Africa, leading to the offer from the international drinks firm.

But Suz, who is based at Atherton fire station, says he has no regrets about turning down the life-changing offer.

He said: “A lot people thought I was crazy to turn down such a lucrative offer but it was a no-brainer for me.

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“Although the money could’ve secured my own boxing future for a long time, it wouldn’t have been right for me to take it, considering my religious beliefs and the mentoring work I do.

“These are the deals that some sportsmen wait a long time for, and can launch their career. But what would that say about me, personally, if one minute I was mentoring young people on the importance of clean living, and the next I took a deal like this?”

Member lost a fight against Tadas Stulginskas in London earlier this month and is now preparing for his next bout against an unnamed opponent at Chester’s Northgate Arena in April.

The fighter is now looking for alternative funding to meet the costs of his intense weekly training schedule as he bids to keep his career on track.

He said: “I wouldn’t say that my career is in jeopardy because of it, but unless new sponsors come there may come a point down the line where some serious choices may have to be made.”

In an exclusive interview with 5Pillarz, deputy editor Dilly Hussain will be talking with Suz Member about his life as a firefighter, a professional boxer, and the role Islam plays in his life.

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