Salford based boxer Arthif Daniel is currently preparing for his next professional bout at Victoria Warehouse on February 18th. However, he is not your average fighter; unlike most boxers he has to combine his busy training schedule with his day job... as a dentist.
The media seem to enjoy the clichéd view of boxers and romanticise about tough upbringings and limited opportunities. Arthif Daniel's back-story doesn't quite fit that mould (sorry about the pun).
Since he first started to box at the age of eight, Arthif has dreamt of becoming a professional fighter. Although he elected to dedicate his younger years to study and fulfil his passion to become a dentist, he never fell out of love with the sport. Even whilst studying at King's College University London, he used boxing as way of keeping fit and gave lessons to fellow students. It wasn't until after becoming a qualified dentist that he realised he had unfinished business in the ring...
"After graduating, I was excited to finally commence my boxing career" he recalls. And it soon became clear that Arthif had what it takes to become a professional boxer.
"I am very close friends with Danny Williams, a legend in British boxing and one time conqueror of Iron Mike Tyson" Arthif explains "I used to train with him in London and he helped me a lot with my boxing. He made me realise my potential and introduced me to several figures in the professional ranks to make my dream a reality. Amir Khan and his team were also hugely instrumental."
Instead of shying away from his academic credentials and hiding behind the bravado that most fighters adopt, Arthif elected to reference his doctorate directly in his nickname, Dr Hitman. To complete his boxing moniker, he took inspiration from his boxing hero Thomas 'Hitman' Hearns.
He follows in a fine tradition of pugilistic academics: the legendary Ukrainian Klitschko brothers have both attained PhD qualifications (Dr. Iron Fist and Dr. Steel Hammer) and Mexican superstar Marco Antonio Barrera studied Law at university.
So when he mentioned that he was turning pro, what kind of response did he get?
"A lot of people were very surprised and they could not quite fathom the concept, since it was admittedly against all stereotypes of a professional boxer" he says "But when people actually saw me box, they then began to appreciate that I actually could offer something to the sport."
And is it difficult to combine the two differing professions?
"It is difficult" he explains "But as Floyd Mayweather has famously dubbed his phrase: 'hard work and dedication; the two keys to success'. I am also very fortunate that my amazing wife, who is also a practising dentist in Ordsall, is a great cook who tailors my meals to my diet. The hardest part of keeping within my boxing weight limit is that I am a man who loves desserts."
Arthif has spent time training in Las Vegas with Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, of the Floyd Mayweather Boxing Gym, and trained alongside Floyd Mayweather Jnr himself. He recently caught up with Floyd in New York at the Badou Jack and James Degale world title bout. Floyd even took time to record a special message of endorsement for Dr Hitman's upcoming fight.
"I have known Floyd since 2012 and I have been blessed being able to train with him and the Money Team every year over in Las Vegas since" says Arthif "I have learned so much from him and I am truly indebted to him for all his help, advice and prayers."
And his ultimate ambition as a boxer?
"My ultimate goal is to work hard and dedicate myself to the sport of boxing and see what happens" he decides "My saying is: 'do your best and let God do the rest'..."
It's well worth keeping an eye on Arthif on Twitter. He gives a real insight and unique view from behind the scenes of professional boxing. @drhitmandaniel
The upcoming bout on 18th February at Victoria Warehouse sees Dr Hitman step up for his first six round fight. Tickets are £35 general admission and £60 ringside. For tickets click here
Update: 19th February Dr Hitman Scores Impressive Points Win at Victoria Warehouse - click here