By Nick Halling
Get ready for one of the surprise ring returns of 2014. Ian Napa, 35-year-old former British and European bantamweight boss, is seriously considering making a comeback, having been out of the game since July 2011.
Napa has had a cataract in his eye surgically repaired and has been cleared to box by his surgeon. However, the eye test needs to be sent to the Boxing Board for their approval. Assuming the Board is satisfied medically, Napa plans to spend a few months at a training camp in South Africa to get his weight back to around the bantamweight limit.
“He’s been training non-stop recently, and I actually told him he’s working harder now than when he used to box,” said his coach, Brian Lawrence. “He’s been doing some sparring with active pros, and to be honest, he’s just been playing with them. He’s obviously been thinking to himself that he can still do it, and if he decides he wants to come back, it’s not for me or anyone else to say he can’t. I’ll definitely support him.”
Napa has been training some of Lawrence’s fighters and has clearly got quite a bit of weight to shift, but according to Lawrence, the desire and focus are definitely there. “I think he’s seen someone like Stuart Hall get a shot at the (IBF super bantamweight) world title, and he’s thought to himself, if Stuart can get a shot, why cant I?
“If he can get himself down to bantam, maybe super bantam at a stretch, then who knows. He’s got the talent, that’s always been there. Whether he’s going to be able to apply himself fully, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Nick Halling is a commentator for Sky Sports.