Tatham hopes title triumph can kickstart breakthrough year

Tomi Tatham training at Karl Ince's gym. Picture: Karen Priestley.
Tomi Tatham training at Karl Ince's gym. Picture: Karen Priestley.

A Bentham boxer is hoping Saturday night will see him lift the first of many professional titles.

Light-heavyweight Tomi Tatham faces Eric Mokonzo for the International Challenge belt on the big VIP Promotions bill at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse.

Known as TNT, the heavy-handed 26-year-old believes victory can be the start of a breakthrough 2016 having rebuilt over the last 12 months after a series of injuries halted his progress.

Tatham, 10-1 in the paid ranks, said: “When I got the phone call off Steve (Wood, manager) saying I’d got a title fight I went for a run and I was shouting ‘and the new’ around the streets of Bentham.

“It just gave me a kick up the backside and a really big boost.

“This is the year to get where I want to be. After Saturday night we can start looking at bigger titles.

“I’m under no illusion this isn’t a big title but for me this is everything.

“It’s my first title, it’s my baby, it’s a stepping stone to the bigger titles.”

Mokonzo, 2-1, sprung a shock last time out with a knockout victory over the previously undefeated Jermaine Asare in Newport.

Tatham said: “Anyone that’s come forward against me has got knocked out.

“I need someone who comes to fight. A lot of my opponents have been on the back foot and when you’ve tagged them they’ve tried to survive.

“Whatever happens I just want the win. If I do it in style or get the rounds it doesn’t matter it’s just about the W.”

The fight will see the part-time personal trainer have to make the 12st7lb light-heavyweight limit for the first time in his career, something that will stand him in good stead for any future title contests.

Tatham said: “I don’t think I’ve been 12st7lb since I was 12 to be honest!

“It’s just making sure I feel good. I’ve been matched at 12st12lb so it’s five pounds off what I usually do and I’m ripped to shreds anyway.

“It we can make it right I’ll be flying though.”

His preparations have been helped by a tough training camp which has included work with a new strength and conditioning coach.

Tatham said: “It’s the hardest training I’ve ever done and if I said I felt good I’d by lying.

“I feel shattered, I’m eating less but I know come fight night I’ll be the fittest, strongest and best I’ve ever been.

“I’m doing new stuff. I’m working with a strength and conditioning coach Josh Lancaster and I feel like my balance, everything has improved.

“If my base is solid I can punch harder.

“I’ve been doing more one-on-one work with Karl (Ince, trainer) to be more correct and more accurate as well. I’ve done a lot more sparring too.”

Tatham hopes to have more than 100 fans in attendance for a show that’s live online at vipboxing.tv and freeview channel That’s Manchester.