BENTHAM boxer Tomi Tatham insists he will come back better and stronger as he continues his long road to recovery from a broken wrist sustained in a fall while running nearly a year ago.
Unaware as to the extent of his injuries, the 25-year-old powerhouse went on to fight and lost his unbeaten record when he was ousted on points by Sheffield-born hitman Lee Duncan at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens in November.
Continued use exacerbated the problem and prolonged his time away from the ring but now the light-heavyweight has revealed he hopes to make his return in a bout in Manchester in October.
“I am easing my way back into it, tapping on the bags and seeing how it goes,” said Tatham, who returned to sparring this week for the first time in nearly six months.
“I am due to have a check up in a month and if it’s still hurting I might have to have another operation but I’m staying positive and training through the pain because I just want to get back to it.
“I’ve been away long enough. It’s killing me watching my mates fight. Essentially I’ve got to be using my wrist 100 per cent and have confidence to throw a punch without being scared before getting back in the ring.”
While disappointed at the lengthy lay-off, Tatham insists there are many positives to be taken and expects to return stronger.
“My left arm has made a hell of an improvement because I’ve had 15 weeks just using it so that’s become a lot more efficient and powerful,” he said.
“It’s going to be a slow process but if I do it right I’m hoping I’ll be better in the ring because I’ll be able to use my left more.
“I’ve been watching my sparring a lot more instead of thinking: ‘Go in, go hard’. Also I’ve been watching people’s movements and studying boxing instead of just seeing it as an all-out war.
“I was hungry before I started off but having boxing taken away from me has left a bitter taste in my mouth so I’m hoping when I get back in I will be new and improved and a better all-round fighter.”
Recalling the weeks after the fall, Tatham, whose defeat to Duncan was preceded by five wins in his first professional season, added: “I was doing bag work but every punch was absolute agony. I’m quite a tough guy and I pride myself on that so I thought just work through it.
“I went to the doctors and they felt my hand and said it’s not broken so I thought I was just being soft.
“My coach kept saying: ‘Why you are wincing?’ and I was saying ‘I’m fine I’m fine’
“My pride basically took over and because I was training for an opponent I didn’t want anyone thinking I was soft or scared so I took the fight and trained for a month prior with a triple fracture to my wrist.”
After the fight Tatham visited a private clinic who confirmed the bad news before he underwent an operation in late April.
“I kept going thinking it was a sprain but it wouldn’t sort out so I saw a private doctor and he was basically shaking his head saying you’ve done a lot of damage here,” he said.
“Essentially if I had been diagnosed properly first time if would have been six weeks in cast rather than six months out.
“It is massively frustrating but it’s taught me a lesson to listen to your body and not be stubborn.
“It’s fine to be like that in the ring but you’ve got to get things looked at and I’ve learnt the hard way.”