So far, Saudi Arabia’s foray into boxing has resulted in fantastic cards, imaginative matchmaking and promotional matrimony.

Still, despite the seemingly never-ending list of announcements, the most surreal to emerge from the past 12 months may still be that the man behind the entire movement, Turki Alalshikh, had personally asked that Portsmouth’s talented lightweight, Mark Chamberlain, appear on the undercard of March’s fight between Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou.

The request resulted in the unbeaten puncher being plucked from the East End’s York Hall and dropped directly into a boxing theme park where he found himself brushing shoulders with some of the world’s best known fighters.

Chamberlain didn’t blink.

The 25-year-old patiently told and retold the story about the unexpected late night phone call he received inviting him to box on the show. He carried himself like a fighter who deserved to be there before doing his real talking in the ring, where he took apart British rival Gavin Gwynne in four rounds. 

Chamberlain, 15-0 (11 KOs), will be back in Saudi Arabia on May 18th when he fights Nigeria’s Joshua Oluwaseun Wahad, 23-1 (16 KOs), on the undercard of the undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. 

But he will play a different role this time. Chamberlain now shoulders the weight of expectation whilst Wahab is the unknown, heavy-handed newcomer.

“I try not to let pressure or anything get the better of me. You’ve probably seen with fighters before that they fold under pressure. I try not to let any of that get on top of me. I try to not let any of that get to me and just stay cool, calm and collected,” Chamberlain told BoxingScene.

“You just have to be yourself in these scenarios. Obviously some people do put things on for cameras but I’m not really a believer in that. You’ve just got to be yourself.”

The bright lights of the Saudi mega-cards attract hundreds of media personalities, the overwhelming majority of whom would never have seen Chamberlain throw a punch before he touched the pads at the event’s open workout. If they were expecting to watch a novelty act simply fill some time before the serious fighters took over, they got a massive surprise. 

Even those who have followed the 25-year-old’s development from the beginning can’t help but be impressed by just how comfortable he looked on such a big stage and the way he quickly found his timing and range against a reigning European champion.

Having spent four long, media-filled days introducing himself to the world before the fight, it took Chamberlain less than four rounds to make his mark as a fighter. The southpaw’s combination of accurate counter punching and legitimate, world class power forced Gwynne’s corner to throw in the towel for their badly marked fighter.

“Everything went to plan. I couldn’t have wanted it to go any better really,” Chamberlain said. “I train hard for every fight but I was very up for it and I believe that I would have got the stoppage whatever happened. It was a good fight. 

“I was quite shocked about - I don’t wanna say ‘easy’ - how well it all went.”

Chamberlain maintained his businesslike demeanour after the fight. There were no wild post fight celebrations - in front of the cameras, anyway - and no fanciful call-outs of the world’s best lightweights. Chamberlain said his thank yous, posed for his photographs and disappeared.

A couple of weeks later, Chamberlain received another phone-call offering him the chance to return to Saudi Arabia. There were no extravagant demands. He once again said ‘yes’ and got straight back in the gym. 

“Not much has changed since [beating Gwynne]. I might’ve beaten a good name but I guess that’s just down to me as a person really. Maybe things have changed but I haven’t really taken it into consideration. I don’t get too involved in that side of things,” he said.

“It’s just been back to business as usual. There’s been a big fight mentioned for September but at the moment it’s just talk. I’ve just got to keep winning. I’ve got a job to do first and we’ll look at that later on."

“He [Wahab] Is strong. He’s more dangerous than Gavin but I believe there are levels to boxing and I believe I’m levels above him.

“I just have to keep winning. They haven’t actually said it but there’s no reason at all why I can’t carry on getting on [these shows] if I just keep on doing what I’m doing.”