KEIGHLEY boxer Ibrahim Nadim admits having British sporting legend Ricky Hatton in his corner is invaluable.

The Mancunian is Nadim’s coach, and he has spoken in the past about how highly he rates the 22-year-old.

The feeling is mutual too, and ahead of his fourth professional bout this Saturday in Hull, unbeaten Nadim said: “Obviously as a youngster I looked up to Ricky.

“He was one of the most popular boxers in England, both for his personality and the fact he didn’t mind taking a hit in the ring.

“His experience has been vital to me, because he’s been there and done it at the very top.

“He knows how I’m feeling before a fight, and he knows how I am afterwards too.

“I just think all of that makes him better than most coaches in the business.”

As for Saturday night’s fight at the Bonus Arena, it hasn’t quite gone to plan for Nadim.

He explained: “I couldn’t really get the fighter I wanted, as the first two choices both pulled out.

“So I’ve ended up with a rematch against the guy I fought in my second pro bout, Stefan Nicolae.

“There’s no title on the line on Saturday, but it’s a good chance to show I’ve improved from that first fight with him, where I was bit daft and got caught by a few shots I should have avoided.”

This Bonus Arena bout is arguably the least glamorous of the four venues Nadim has fought professionally in, the others being York Hall, in Bethnal Green, as well as at Manchester Arena and Wembley Arena.

And Nadim said: “Those first three were big fights.

“Even though York Hall isn’t as big as the other two, I was still on the undercard of a British title fight there.

“All three of them were promoted by Matchroom too, and obviously their chairman is Eddie Hearn, who is one of the biggest names in boxing.”

Nadim’s fight at Wembley Arena back in February saw his best win to date, against the then 5-5 Jonny Phillips.

The Keighley boxer recalled: “The win over Jonny showed what I could do.

“I was rushing things a bit in my first two bouts, still adjusting from fighting at amateur level, and it was just about adapting to a six-rounder, which I did well against Jonny.

“This fight against Stefan on Saturday isn’t exactly what I was after, but I feel I can step up to better opposition afterwards, and hopefully I can show that with a convincing win.”

With this weekend being just Nadim’s second bout since last March, he said: “I’d prefer to be fighting at least five times a year.

“But with the pandemic making that pretty much impossible, I’ve had time to learn and improve in the gym, things like that.

“I’d like another fight in November or December, and then hopefully some in the New Year too, giving me that five or six in a year.”