A joyous Kabul crowd invaded the ring to celebrate a local victory in Afghanistan’s first professional men’s boxing match, after Hamid Rahimi beat Tanzanian Said Mbelwa in seven rounds. It may not have been the “Thriller in Manila”, but the bout billed as the “Fight 4 Peace” marks another sporting landmark for the war-torn nation after the resounding success of the Afghan Premier League football tournament. Amid tight security, around 2,000 fans including dignitaries such as the head of the intelligence service packed the Loya Jirga, and hundreds of thousands were expected to watch live television coverage. The crowd cheered every blow as Rahimi, who grew up in Germany, dominated the early exchanges, while his 23-year-old opponent looked to frustrate the home favourite by dancing round the ring before a shoulder injury got the better of him 17 seconds into the seventh. “I thank you all for coming — you gave me power, this belt belongs to Afghanistan. It is yours,” Rahimi told the crowd after receiving the WBO intercontinental middleweight belt.