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Nina Bradley on the inspiration for her comeback

Nina Bradley
Nina Bradley tells David Wainwright why she is returning to the sport

NEWARK’S Commonwealth super-lightweight champion Nina Bradley struggled to cope with the first loss of her professional career, a 10th round stoppage loss to Terri Harper in March. “I was down and shut myself away, even though there was no shame in losing the way I did,” Bradley tells Boxing News. “I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in boxing. I wasn’t going to come back, I’ve got a little boy to think about, but we’ve got big reasons to return now.”

The 31-year-old is scheduled to return at Grantham Meres Leisure Centre on September 21 on the Carl Greaves Promotions ‘The Rising Stars’ show. Bradley will dedicate her comeback to her niece, Grace Brocklesby, who passed away in tragic circumstances earlier this year.

“Grace had battled with anorexia and depression for the last few years of her life,” Bradley explains. “Even though it appeared that she was doing a lot better prior to the accident in June. I feel like I let her down a little bit, as I shut myself away after losing to Terri and didn’t see much of her.

“I wish she’d known how loved she was by us all. This is what we need to bring light to, people can have a smile on their face, but they can be going through the hardest time of their life and that’s my reason for coming back into the ring. If people need to talk, I’m here. Please get in touch with me. I’ll be all ears and I don’t think there’s enough of it.”

Nina also explained how her sister and Grace’s mum, Thea, is trying to raise £15,000 so they can build a lasting tribute.

“We’re raising money to fund a memorial garden for all her family and friends to visit and share the communal love for Grace. We want to it to be a resting place that we can enjoy, that has been specially designed by her family and friends. We also want it to be a place that others who have been suffering with mental health problems can go to, reflect and enjoy the natural beauty.”

Terri Harper has been a source of unexpected support for Nina, her old boxing rival. “Me and Terri are friends,” Bradley says. “She’s been an absolute angel. She’s always in touch, asking if I need anything. Telling me when I’m in camp to do some training with her. There was never any bad blood there, even when we fought. She beat me fair and square. She’s a better boxer. I was there for her [IBO] title fight cheering her on, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

Fans will also see a new kit design and entrance music for Nina’s comeback. “I loved my old kit but I’ll be getting that framed and up on the wall somewhere. My new kit will have Grace on the back with some angel wings. I’ll be coming out to Amazing Grace with a twist, I think. We’re not sure how we’re going to do it though.

“But every time I walk out, that’s what I’m walking out for. She’s given me the fight to come back and to ‘stop moping about’ because I lost one fight. Sometimes I struggle in the morning or sleep at night. Could I have done more to help her? I’ve got to carry on, but my way to carry on is to fight,” Bradley said.

Nina’s manager, promoter and trainer Carl Greaves gets a special mention, “I can’t thank Carl enough for all his support. I’ve got the fire back in the belly and he’s got me focused on what I need to do moving forward,” she added.

While not wishing to look too far ahead beyond Grantham, Nina is keen to be positive when looking forward.

“We’re looking at defending my Commonwealth title. I believe there are a couple of England-based potential challengers who would like to fight me for that. I’ve got a warm-up fight first, I’ll see how I feel at the weight and push on from there. Hopefully with the right backing I’d like to finish with a world title fight. Win or lose I’ll be hanging my gloves up and doing it properly this time,” she said.

For further information on, or to make a donation to the Grace Memorial Garden, please go to www.gofundme.com/f/grace-memorial-garden

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