KEIGHLEY boxer Ibrahim Nadim finally climbs back into the ring this weekend after a near 16-month absence.

It has been a tough time for 25-year-old Nadim (9-1) since his surprise defeat to Tinko Banabakov in March 2023, with his hand so badly injured last year that at one point it would not even fit inside a boxing glove.

A shoulder he damaged during sparring earlier this year set him back even further, but the Ricky Hatton-trained prospect is finally fit and raring to go again, as he takes on the experienced Cristian Narvaez (17-77-7) in a lightweight bout at the De Vere Whites Hotel in Bolton this Saturday.

Nadim told the Keighley News: “I’m absolutely buzzing to be back after over a year away, it’s been ages.

“I’d had that hand problem for a while and just carried on fighting, but it got so bad last year that I couldn’t even put it inside a boxing glove.

“The surgeons operated on it after that and the recovery process took about seven to eight months.

“I did have a return fight scheduled earlier this year, but then I damaged my shoulder in sparring, so I had to recover from that, which has now led to this fight against Cristian.”

Talking about what he wants from Saturday’s comeback fight, Nadim said: “It got to the point where I couldn’t even punch with that injured hand, so I had to get it sorted.

“I’m confident it’s back to full strength now, though obviously it’s different with heavy gloves on in a fight, so we’ll see how it goes on Saturday night.

“Cristian is the ideal opponent for me, because he’s only been stopped twice in his whole career, so it should be an opportunity to get six rounds in.

“Getting the stoppage would be a bonus of course, but chances are Saturday guarantees me six full rounds of boxing.

“I was always going to get back in the ring at some point, those injuries weren’t going to stop me, but I need time in the ring while I’m getting back, so fighting Cristian should give me that.”

Ibrahim Nadim should be celebrating victory again on Saturday night.Ibrahim Nadim should be celebrating victory again on Saturday night. (Image: ringwalkmedia12.)

Nicaraguan Narvaez has lost his last 14 bouts, so it should be a routine win for Nadim on Saturday.

It means he has allowed himself to think of what comes next, with the Keighley native saying: “After Cristian, I’m hoping to get back in the mix with fights that are 50-50 on paper.

“Saturday night is just to get me back in the ring again and see how the injuries I’ve suffered hold up during a bout.

“But soon enough, I want to get the chance to fight for a title.”

Someone who knows all about title bouts is former world champion Ricky Hatton, whose partnership with Nadim continues to work well for the Keighley native.

Nadim said: “Ricky’s still training me at his gym down in Hyde.

“I’m used to the travel because before I turned professional, I used to box for Bury Amateur Boxing Club, which is only 15 or 20 minutes away from Hyde anyway.

“I still make that journey from Keighley to Greater Manchester and back and it works for me.”