Tomi Tatham has had some dark days.
A frustrating 12 months led the promising Bentham light-heavyweight to think about quitting the sport he loves.
The 25-year-old’s first career loss to Lee Duncan in November 2013 was followed by the news he would need major surgery on his right hand.
The former Skerton ABC fighter, 5-1 as a professional, returns at Liverpool’s Olympia this Saturday, December 6 but admits at times it seemed easier to walk away from boxing.
“A lot of times I’ve just woken up and said ‘I can’t do this anymore’,” said Tatham.
“It’s been killing me. I’m still living at home with my parents but if I’d chosen a different path I could have a job, a house, be settled, have it all really.
“I saw something on Instagram or Twitter though and it said ‘don’t give up something you can’t go a day without thinking about’.
“I was mad at myself and the world but after a week away from the gym to clear my head I was straight back in.
“That settled it for me.
“I only questioned it briefly. It’s who I am.
“People always ask about my boxing, I’m known as Tomi the boxer. I want that back.
“It’s a massive part of me and I wouldn’t change any of it.”
It has been a tough year mentally, physically and financially with Tatham’s previous trade as a plasterer going by the wayside due to his injury.
Now working as a personal trainer and running fitness classes the fighter known as TNT because of his explosive power is ready to go again.
“It’s been one of the worst times of the life,” said Tatham,
“I wanted to come back from the loss and rectify it straight away but then I found I was injured.
“And waiting for the operation I was in agony with my hand.
“I’ve been skint because I wasn’t getting paid.
“I’ve lost all my sponsors pretty much so it’s been tough money wise and mentally too.
“Karl’s (Ince, trainer) always wanted me in the gym to keep learning but I can’t fuel my car if I’m not working.
“But I’m hungry and can’t wait to get back in there.”
Tatham admits his hand is not fully healed but needs a positive outcome on Saturday to kickstart his promising career.
“My hand still hurts now, my fingers feel arthritic,” he said. “I’ve got a bone graft with screws in but the doctor’s said I can’t damage it and the pain in my fingers will go.
“On a cold morning I can hardly open up my hand but this is something I’ve got to do.
“I can rest it over Christmas.
“I need this fight to be get back focused and to clear my head.”
‘I didn’t believe I could lose - it was a real eye opener’
Tomi Tatham admits his first loss, a points defeat to Lee Duncan in November 2013, was a real shock to the system.
He said: “I didn’t know how to take the loss. I didn’t believe I could be beaten.
“You’ve got to have that mentality.
“It’s not arrogant I have to have 100 per cent belief in myself.
“I believed for him to beat me he’d have to knock me out but the frustration set in when I couldn’t land my punches.
“It was a bit of an eye opener.
“I knew I had the one-punch knockout power but brute strength isn’t everything when you get to this level. You need to start using a bit of boxing.
“I said it last year but this 12 months will have to be my building blocks.
“Hopefully in a year I’ll be saying we’re looking at this and I’m mandatory for that.”
Tatham is hoping to have approaching 100 fans at the VIP Promotions show at the Liverpool Olympia.
The show is headlined by Carl Dilks’ battle with Wayne Adeniyi for the Central Area Cruiserweight title.
The 11-fight card, including Tatham’s four-round contest, will be headlined live and free online at vipboxing.tv.