A KEIGHLEY-based boxer took one more step towards stardom in his fledgling career after winning a prestigious national title.

Muhammed Ibrahim Nadim, 20, beat John O'Meara, of Dale Youth in West London, to win the 52-56kg category final at the England Boxing National Amateur Championship 2019 Finals Day held at Manchester Central last Saturday.

Nadim grabbed the victory on a split decision following a close contest of three rounds each lasting three minutes. But southpaw O'Meara raised his hand thinking he was the winner after the final bell tolled.

The final round produced everything and was just as even as the first two had been. Cagey for large parts, both fighters quickly stepped up their efforts late on, with Nadim delivering a number of right hands, while O'Meara, who works as a roofer, hit a beautiful Southpaw shot at the end. Nadim landed shots until both men traded blows in an explosive last 20 seconds of the fight. But it was the Keighley fighter who took the spoils, at the event which was also broadcast live on the BBC.

The first round was a cagey affair, which commentator Richie Woodall, a former WBC super-middleweight champion himself, dubbed a 'game of physical chess'. It appeared that neither boxer wanted to overcommit and make any early mistakes.

But Nadim, wearing red trunks, started the second round the better of the two. It was more competitive in these three minutes, as Nadim landed a series of shots in the corner and O'Meara also got a number of left hands in too.

The third round was just as even as the first two, with Nadim landing shots until both men traded blows in an explosive last 20 seconds of the fight.

Speaking after his victory, Nadim, who wants to become a personal trainer when he leaves college, says the crowd during the fight kept him going and he said all his pre-fight preparation work was rewarded.

He said: "It's a great feeling to win, I'm buzzing.

"This is what I worked hard for and it finally paid off. It's been tough, my dad's been training me and Mick (Jelley) has been pushing me hard.

"It was a great atmosphere, that's what kept me going. I want to go for GB trials next."

His trainer, Mick Jelley, who guided the early careers of fighters of Amir Khan and Scott Quigg, had said leading up to the fight that it was the pinnacle of amateur boxing to win an ABC title.

Jelley said: "It was on a split decision. It was a really good fight.

"His opponent brought a lot of fans, Ibrahim had 50 odd people watching him.

"It was an exciting fight. His footwork was really good. It was fantastic.

"I have been doing this for 55 years and only had three national champions."

Nadim shows his dedication and commitment to the sport by travelling from his home in Keighley to train at his club, Bury ABC, in Greater Manchester. He has been training with the club for the last nine years.

Nadim reached the final after winning three fights at the finals qualifying event, a pre-quarter-final beating Scot Melvin, of Eastside Boxing Club, on a split decision.

He went on to beat John Harker on a unanimous decision in the quarter-final and beat Connor Adaway, of Incense ABC, on another unanimous decision in the semi-final to reach the Manchester showpiece.

Nadim is the cousin of Keighley boxer Muhammad Ali who was given a two-year ban in February last year after testing positive for the anabolic steroid Trenbolone.

The Olympic flyweight failed a drugs test in Morocco in April 2017 and was suspended in May, which means he will be eligible to compete again next month.