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Nebil Ibrahim talks 2024 Olympics: “The Bulgarian from Cuba – he’s my nemesis”



Nebil Ibrahim interview

Nebil Ibrahim. Photo via Instagram (@teamswedenboxing)

Yesterday it became clear that boxer Nebil Ibrahim will represent Sweden in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

The young Swede is one of 18 boxers to compete in the prestigious tournament’s flyweight weight class, where some of the most skilled and fastest boxers in the world compete.

In an exclusive and open-hearted interview with Frontkick, the 23-year-old from Uppsala opened up on the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, tough opponents and what to do when you reached your goals.

“There’s been a long way here. I have had this goal since I was 12 years old. That’s when my plan started. My goal was to participate at Tokyo in 2020 and win a gold medal in 2024,” Ibrahim says. “I missed Tokyo, I just wasn’t on the right level and Covid also made me miss the chance.”

Preparing to peak in 2024

The young fighter had a role model in Swedish boxer Adam Chartoi, who made it to the previous Olympics. From him, Nebil has learned the importance of solid planning to be able to qualify and compete in the prestigious tournament, where the little things can turn out to be pivotal.

“Between 2021 and 2023 I just collected as much experience to get to the right level. I just fought everywhere I could, went to camps, got knowledge and talked to the right people. In all sports, especially in boxing, you win if you learn. I took my losses as lessons and made the proper adjustments.”

In 2023 he was finally on the right level and made it through the tough Olympic qualifications. Now he will need to be in the best shape in his life come July.

“I need to keep preparing physically and mentally to get used to fighting at the highest level on a regular basis.”

“The Bulgarian from Cuba – he’s my nemesis”

Nebil Ibrahim carefully followed the qualifications for the Olympics and has a pretty good view of his opponents.

The semifinals and finals will be staged at the iconic Roland Garros Stadium, a dream arena for any sportsman.

Is there a fighter you don’t want to face until the final?

“It’s the classic one that everyone knows about, the Bulgarian from Cuba, Javier Ibanez, he’s my nemesis,” Ibrahim laughs. “I usually face him when I’m going for a big prize, in every quarter finals he’s in my way. Our two last fights were very tight. I follow him closely and I’m out to get him!”

There is not a single one of the 17 flyweights who’s an easy matchup, but Nebil sees five standout fighters that will be extra stiff competition.

“The guy from Uzbekistan is the toughest on paper but the American, the Brazilian and the Kazan, they are all good fighters. I mean, if you make it to the Olympics you are a good fighter, but those five are the hardest.”

The Nebil Ibrahim masterplan ends in 2024

Nebil Ibrahim got into boxing at age seven and basically has been training his whole life. Over the years he developed into a tactical and smart boxer, known for his great footwork and strong lead hand. His ability to adapt to his opponents has proven to be one of his best weapons, and is one of the keys of reaching the finals in the Olympics.

“You have to fight smart so you get a clear win without getting cuts or gas out ahead of your next fight.”

What will you do when you win the Olympics?

“That’s a hard question! There would be so many opportunities, but it will make my life better, that’s for sure. Then if I will turn pro or go for another run at the Olympics, I just don’t know yet,” Ibrahim says.

“My master plan kind of ends after 2024. Some people think it sounds hopeless, but they misunderstand me. There’s so much exciting stuff that can happen in the future. I just don’t want anything written in stone!”

Read more: Bernardo Sopai talks UFC debut: “Some things are good to happen early”

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