World champion boxer Tasif Khan may have multiple superflyweight titles under his belt but he’s a degree above the rest in other ways too.

Asian Life met the schoolteacher turned elite sportsman who is in a class of his own.

As a child growing up in the rough-and-tumble area of Girlington, Bradford, Tasif was a bundle of energy who loved playing all sports.

The 35-year-old said: “My older brother was into fitness and would take me with him to the local youth club.

“I would play a lot of sports like football and table tennis and I enjoyed it a lot.

“There was one small room there and I would see the boxers training and it seemed so much more challenging than what I was doing. As I have always been competitive I wanted to join in.”

The Bradford Police Youth Club facilities were not to be sniffed at as former Carlton Bolling pupil Junior Witter, who won the World Boxing Council title in 2006, also trained there.

Boxing started off as a hobby for Tasif but soon became an obsession.

“My parents were very keen that we continue with our education. They were very supportive with the boxing but their number one priority was always education. So I always put my schooling first, then my religion and thirdly came the boxing.”

This meant he had to complete all his homework, go to mosque and then, if there was any time left, he would take part in training.

“The positive side of that was that there was no time to hang around street corners and get into any trouble. I was never bored.”

He started fighting as an amateur at the age of just 10 and honed his fancy footwork and moves along the way.

“I remember being told: ‘Kid, you’re fast.’ My speed and footwork were always one of my key assets.

“It was never a case of practise, practise, practise and then go out and fight, I was learning as I was taking part in boxing tournaments.”

At 15 he started winning national amateur titles and was chosen to represent England.

“This is when I decided this is what I wanted to do professionally but again, I wanted to have my education too.”

He passed four A-levels- including maths and physics- and went off to Liverpool to study Sports Development and Physical Education.

“I loved my time in Liverpool, I learned a lot of important life skills and of course I did a lot of boxing. The amateur gyms were great and I had a brilliant trainer who is now the Australian national team coach.”

After his degree he completed a PGCE and worked as a primary school PE teacher in Bradford.

But his obsession was still boxing so, in 2009, with the blessings from his family and the support of some sponsors, he turned professional.

“I was getting a little depressed that I couldn’t do boxing full-time but it had financial implications so I needed to be sure I could support myself.”

He needn’t have worried.

He won his first title professional title in 2015- the International Masters- in York Hall, Bethnal Green, where a host of famous fights have taken place.

“It was a dream come true and opened a lot of doors for me.”

In February 2016 he took two titles in one night in an epic match at the Cedar Court Hotel.

“All fights are special but this one was very close to my heart for a few reasons. Firstly it was the same title that my role model Ricky Hatton has won and I always admired him and his career. And secondly the bout was held in Bradford and it meant a lot to fight in my home city.”

His last fight in February saw him take another world title and he is preparing for another bout later this year.

There were some obstacles along the way- he broke his foot playing a game of football in 2011 and was out for two and half years before suffering another career-halting injury on his hand.

But this has not blotted his copybook too much- in a total of 19 fights he has only lost one.

“And that one was very early in my career,” he laughed.

As well as the boxing he is involved in charity work and last year travelled to Pakistan to take part in a fundraising boxing tournament alongside Amir Khan.

Tasif also does his own charity work with orphans in Pakistan.

“My father said that the blessings of orphans help you go a long way so I have always kept that close to me and also it makes me realise how lucky I am to have my parents.”

He has set up boxing academy and regularly goes into schools to deliver talks and inspire youngsters.

“I love this city and want to put it on the map in a positive light and so many people supported me along the way, it would be a shame if I didn’t do the same and help others too.”

For more details about Tasif’s academy go to