Shahzaib Rindh is arguably the best martial arts prospect to emerge from the talent-filled province of Balochistan. At only 25 years, “King” Rindh has amassed accolades that include 8 state championships, 6 national championships, a fight in the prestigious ONE Super Series and a successful debut on April 1st 2023 for the world’s premier full contact striking league: Karate Combat.
Shahzaib’s successful debut at Karate Combat 38 in Miami broke new ground for Pakistani martial artists with a remarkable performance. Shahzaib dominated Gabo Diaz inside the fight pit for three rounds and solidified his place amongst the best fighters currently in Karate Combat. With very little opportunities to display his craft in Pakistan, fighting on American soil for a promotion of this caliber has acted as the perfect launching pad for the striking prodigy.
With a career-making win only a month prior, Shahzaib’s goal of showcasing his talent to the world has remained the same as he’s scheduled to fight again this Saturday for Karate Combat 39. Shahzaib has been matched up with French karteka Tommy Azouz for his second fight in less than two months.
While speaking to Shahzaib in an interview, I asked him what life was like prior to his first Karate Combat fight: “the last few years were very tough for me. After my ONE Super Series fight (in 2020), everything around me was going bad. I was in a bad situation, it was very tough for me. I thought maybe I can’t do it anymore. Sometimes I was thinking I have to quit this game because there weren’t any opportunities or support. I didn’t get any opportunities.”
Shahzaib’s fortunes changed thanks to Asim Zaidi and Laura Abril Zaidi from Goat Shed in Miami, Florida. With Asim as the head coach and Laura as the business mind behind the operation, Goat Shed has produced talent that competes in major organizations such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Gamebread Fighting Championship and more.
Pre-Fight Interview w/ Shahzaib Rindh🎙️https://t.co/3FtuN7rzxE 📌
Undoubtedly one of the best striking prospects to ever come out of the talent-filled province of #Balochistan, Shahzaib is now working towards his full potential by competing in @KarateCombat!#KarateCombat39 pic.twitter.com/5w4QXApxGm
— On the Mic (@on_themic) May 16, 2023
Shahzaib explained to me the significance of this encounter: “They gave me hope. They told me they’ll make me a star. They brought me here, gave me an opportunity that I was hoping for a long time. For a year we were in talks and making arrangements for my visa. She [Laura] did a lot of hard work for my visa. Coming to America, it was very difficult for me. I thought I wouldn’t survive here because no one from my family has been here. But I’ve found a very good family. They’ve supported me and they’re taking care of everything.”
Shahzaib’s run in Karate Combat is another positive indicator in the development of combat sports in Pakistan. With conventional wisdom dictating that Pakistani combat sports athletes miss their prime in terms of opportunities, the impact of Shahzaib’s performances at Karate Combat could break the cycle of wasted talent in Pakistan’s combat sports landscape.
I asked him how significant this was for him: “A lot of people in Balochistan have a lot of talent. They’re very good. There are some who are better than me. But they don’t get the opportunities. Their life gets wasted fighting in the same place. They fight in Pakistan their whole life and in the end they’re rickshaw drivers or security guards. I feel very lucky and I’m very happy that Allah gave me this opportunity.”
Shahzaib went from wanting an opportunity to competing in the world’s premier full contact striking league.
I asked him if he feels any pressure competing on such a massive platform: “I don’t feel any pressure. I feel blessed to be here. This is my opportunity, but it isn’t just for me. It’s for every Pakistani. If I win here, I will make a name for Pakistan: they’ll say Pakistani fighters are good. Before me, there wasn’t anyone representing Pakistan. I have to put up a good fight and be confident so they know that there are even more Pakistani fighters, and in the future, maybe more Pakistani fighters will get to compete in Karate Combat”.
I asked Shahzaib why he took another fight on such short notice to his last fight given the risk of physically burning out: “I’m here to fight. I want to fight every day. I told them if you give me a fight the next day, I will fight. I’m crazy. I’m excited. I want to fight every event. I’m already trying to get another fight in June. I want to fight every day. I’m just here to fight so I don’t want to waste my time.”
I asked Shahzaib what his goal was for Karate Combat 39 in his fight against Tommy Azouz on Saturday: “My goal is to knock him out. Show him the real power of Pakistan. I want to knock him out in the second round or the first round. I will push him till death.”
As Shahzaib goes into the biggest fight of his career, I asked him what message he has for the Pakistani combat sports community: “Be consistent, train hard and train smart. Promote your fights. Everything will come if you put in the hard work. Everything has a time. You won’t get what you want before your time. When your time comes, you’ll get what you want.”
With the lessons of his past serving as a constant reminder to work as hard as he can, Shahzaib “King” Rindh will look to improve to two wins under Karate Combat this Saturday in Miami, Florida.
Hi I’m Muhammad Soban Akhter from chakwal pakistan and now I’m 21 on 25 may i want to be a fighter but there’s are very few opportunity for me to fight in future nowdays our family is going down day by day because of our country problems. I play karate in shinkyukushin I’m blue belt now where i go there’s no other student but I’ll try to do it for myself so i fulfilled my desire of fighting and now I have to go dubai for my family to support him and I want to be a responsible son who take care of his family.I wish for SHAHZAIB to do a good fight and successful in future.May God Success you in future Love from Pakistan Chakwal SOBAN. ❤
And i want to tell anyone who see my comment I run upto 10km 50 plus pushups in one easy set 100 plus squats for legs in one set and do different style squats pullups stomach exercise i got my friends to hit me and make me strong but they not help me in those way which i want I just wanna tell I’ve have interest in karate and it’s my passion to be a good fighter in future but God now’s the best why I’m made for wish you luck SHAHZAIB and i keep support you its please to my eye’s that you got a big name for you your family and Pakistan zinda bad