A teenage Bolton boxer who missed out on a national amateur title last year is determined to make it second-time lucky this year.

Ibrahim Kola, from Deane Road, Bolton, progressed all the way to the final of the England Boxing National Amateur Championships in 2021 but lost out to Ellis Trowbridge in the 49kg division.

This year, though, the 19-year-old is confident he can go one better and become a flyweight national champion.

He heads to the capital over the weekend of April 9-10 to box at the University of East London Sportsdock for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of this year’s tournament, with a place at finals day on April 23 his goal.

And is after training with the England camp, where he was named number two in the country, his morale is higher than ever.

Kola said: “I’ve learnt a lot from the GB assessment camps and with all the training my goal is to be ranked number one.

“When I lost at the finals at my last fight, I was a little disappointed, but you quickly get out of it and back into the next one.

“I’m excited to get in the ring again, I’ve been training non-stop so I know I’m ready and I just can’t wait for it.”

Kola, who trains at Metro Boxing Gym, credits coach Tommy Battel for his pathway to the finals.

And even with Ramadan falling in the build-up, Kola, who will be fasting, remains focused on success with the support of Battel and his family, including dad Sakil.

He added: “I’ve made it to this stage with the support of my family, especially my dad.

“And I wouldn’t be able to perform and train without my coach Tommy as he’s been a massive support since day one.

“I won’t stop fasting before the fights, it actually helps me fast.

“It’ll be easier, and I’ve got God on my side while I train – you can’t get better than that.

“I’m just going to give it my all so hopefully the trophy is coming back to Bolton to put in my Grandad’s room.”

Kola is aiming for personal glory but also hopes he can set an example for young men in Bolton, believing the sport can be a force for good.

He admits boxing kept him from a life of crime.

The teeanger added: “I want to help get kids off the streets and maybe into boxing or whatever they might be interested in.

“Bad habits like drugs and other crime are something on the rise in Bolton and I would love it if the kids getting into that would maybe find something else like boxing.

“It’s helped me become who I am today and I’m so thankful and a big shout to everyone that’s followed my journey so far.”

Find him on Instagram @ibby_kola1