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Time to change your trainers as Salam switches

PUBLISHED: 14:36 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 08:56 21 July 2010

By Phil Ravitz TONY Salam will step back in a ring for the first time since his professional record had a massive dent put in it by Courtney Fry, when he fights on the Maloney promotion at Goresbrook Leisure Centre, Dagenham, on October 17. Salam was surp

By Phil Ravitz

TONY Salam will step back in a ring for the first time since his professional record had a massive dent put in it by Courtney Fry, when he fights on the Maloney promotion at Goresbrook Leisure Centre, Dagenham, on October 17.

Salam was surprisingly knocked out in six rounds by the previously inactive Fry, at York Hall, having won all his previous seven pro contests, including beating former Commonwealth title holder Ovill Mackenzie.

The October 17 date promises to be a massive night for Hackney boxing.

Not only will Stoke Newington's Salam be attempting to put his career back on track, but Clapton's Ian Napa will top the bill bidding for the European bantamweight title.

British title-holder at bantam, Napa challenges the Belgian Carmello Bellone, who has won 24 of his 27 contests and currently holds the European crown.

In addition, the professional debut of another Clapton based boxer - heavyweight Larry Olabambino has been pencilled in for the undercard.

Neither Salam or Olabambino's opponents are known, but whoever Salam fights, he will be eager to impress as he's under a new trainer for the first time.

He has become part of Babatunde Ajayi's burgeoning stable that also includes the unbeaten Haggerston boxer Grant Skehill and another undefeated and useful fighter in Akaash Bhatia, from Harrow.

Ajayi, once part of Johnny Eames' training establishment in east London, now trains all his stable at the Peacock Gym in Canning Town.

The young trainer says of his latest recruit:"I have only been training Tony a short time, but he is making rapid strides with his fitness. He has had fitness problems in the past, but has really buckled down and has lost half-a-stone since he joined me.''

Also Ajayi is advising the Nigerian born Salam to move down from the light-heavyweight division to the super-middleweight ranks where he beliefs his new charge will be more comfortable.

Salam had an outstanding amateur career, while with the St Pancras based Kronk club. He won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and was ABA champion four years ago in the light-heavyweight class, both under his birth name of Mohammed Abusalam.


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