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17 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Paul Upham

Nader Hamdan will be back and he wants Shannan Taylor

"Lionheart" Nader Hamdan
"Lionheart" Nader Hamdan

By Paul Upham: There is no sadder sight than a boxer fighting when he is not at his physical best. For Australian middleweight Nader Hamdan, the last two years of his career has seen him constantly battling pain in his left shoulder. As he endured three losses in his last five fights, Hamdan didn't realise how badly injured his shoulder really was.

"I just thought the tendon was torn or something minor," Hamdan explained at the time. When he sat down with the doctor, he was told that the shoulder could never be repaired 100% and he would not fight again. His thousands of left jabs over the years had worn the joint down and the bone was damaged. "I just looked at him thinking he must be joking," he said.

"Lionheart" Hamdan found a specialist alternative and elected to have the shoulder stapled last September. After endless rehabilitation the 32 year-old has amazed doctors with his recovery and his hope of a return to big time boxing is not just a dream anymore, it is a reality.

"It's feeling really good," Hamdan 38-4 (17) told SecondsOut this week. "When I first got out of the operation, I couldn't even lift my arm straight up in front of me. But I'm happy with it now and I'm starting to do some work with it. I'm hoping that I'll be ready to fight around June or July."

After training and fighting without any significant breaks since his professional debut in August 1997, Hamdan has enjoyed his time away from boxing.

"It has refreshed me," he said. "I want to come back, win and be successful and get the big money fights. I have been off since last June and I have put on a whole lot of weight. But I have really, really enjoyed my time away from boxing with my family. I let myself go after training non-stop for so many years."

The former WBC No.2 at junior middleweight is now running a taxi business and feels that everything in his life is in perfect position for him to make one final run at world championship glory.

"I was taking fights only for the money when I was injured," he said. "I needed to take those fights to take care of the mortgage and my family. The pain didn't matter. I just did what I had to do and I gave it my best shot. I'm healing and I think the biggest challenge to me now is to get back into fighting shape."

Hamdan lost to leading middleweights Sam Soliman, Canadian Otis Grant and current IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham in between 2003 and 2005.

"I'm not making any excuses," he said. "I lost to Otis Grant and he is a great fighter and he is a for sure world champion. I know that Otis Grant will destroy Markus Beyer when they fight. He will toy with him, play with him and win easily. Arthur Abraham is the IBF champion and Sam Soliman has proved how good he is against Winky Wright. They are my three real losses and they are great fighters. I have no problem with the guys I lost fair and square too. I would love a rematch with Arthur Abraham. I gave a good fight and the promoters said they'd love to have me back in Germany."

In his last fight in June 2005, Hamdan lost a close twelve round points decision to Stjepan Bozic in Croatia when his shoulder was hanging by a thread.

"I definitely want a rematch with Bozic," said Hamdan. "But that don't seem to be interested now that I'll be fit again."

Coming back to boxing, Hamdan is not going to take any shortcuts. He wants to fight the best straight away.

"The big local fight for me is with Shannan Taylor," he said. "I've been calling him out for a while. He is world rated at middleweight and is fighting Arthur Abraham in Germany. He has always said he is waiting for a world title shot first before he fights me. I dare him to face me in my first fight back!"

Taylor faces a difficult task in upsetting unbeaten IBF champion Abraham on Saturday night in Germany.

"I hope that he does win and I wish him all the best, but I would surprised if he wins," said Hamdan. "I would be surprised if he is standing up after four rounds. Unless he plays peek-a-boo and fights just to survive. Otherwise he is going to get knocked out in four. But win or lose this weekend, I want to fight Shannan Taylor next. There is a lot of interest in that fight here in Australia. He is the name that my fans always ask me about. I want the big fights.

"The young guys can go and sort each other out. Leave me alone. Just so no one gets any ideas, I want Shannan Taylor in my first fight back. I have sparred Shannan and I am very confident that I can beat him. I have made it clear to his promoter Tony Caradonna. It will answer a lot of questions for me. It will tell me where I am at. I don't want to play around any more. I don't have the time. I'll fight the winner and loser of Anthony Mundine vs. Danny Green. I have sparred both of them and I know what I have to do to beat them. I just need the chance to fight some of these guys when I am not injured."

Hamdan will increase his workload in the gym as he plots his return to boxing. But he has no doubt what fight will be the best outcome for him and his fans.

"Jeff Fenech has promised me at show on Fox Sports as the main event and I see no better fight for the fans than Shannan Taylor versus Nader Hamdan," he said.

Paul Upham
Contributing Editor

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