Boxing: Bami finally gets chance to box way out of shadow

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Ted Bami is one of Britain's ignored fighters but tonight his anonymous existence could end when he fights for the vacant European light welterweight title at York Hall, Bethnal Green, in east London.

Bami, 28, arrived in London from the Congo when he was 11 and after a brief amateur career turned professional eight years ago, but he has failed miserably to establish a reputation and a following.

However, he has lost just twice in 22 fights and his last 12 opponents have all been from overseas which suggests, quite correctly, that nobody really wants to fight him. His two defeats were in Britain when he lost to foreign opponents as the underdog.

Tonight he meets the Italian veteran Giuseppe Lauri for the title vacated by new world champion Junior Witter and once again Bami, who runs a hairdressers in Brixton, south London, will not start as favourite.

"I've known all my career that I would only get my chance if I stepped in as a replacement at late notice and that is what has happened here. I took this fight at two weeks but I've been training for it all my life," Bami said.

His trainer, James Cooke, the former British super-middleweight champion, said: "He has a very good chance because he can take people out with either hand. Nobody's done him any favours but he's stuck at it. He just needs to rise to the occasion - and this fight is giving him that occasion. He's been with me since he was 19 and I had to tell him the rules of boxing and that people sometimes have to wait a long time for their chance. But he's been patient and he's ready for it."

There are other fighters, like Bami, who have impressive records and are feared and avoided by some higher-profile, but oddly fragile, British champions. But Bami's case is rather extreme.

Provided Bami can get to Lauri early there is every chance that he will follow Witter and the former triple world champion Ricky Hatton and beat the Italian. And should that happen, there is even the remote chance that one day Bami could even find himself in the opposite corner to either Witter or Hatton.