A background across varying combat sports has allowed Victor Nagbe to build a solid foundation for a career in boxing.
The successful kickboxing convert now plans to emulate the path blazed by former welterweight titleholder Jeff Horn in an attempt to pursue the biggest fights available in his latest pursuit.
“I’m from Queensland originally, where I used to see Jeff Horn when I started doing martial arts,” he told Aus-Boxing.
“After four fights, Jeff fought for the Australian title and now years later, everyone wants to fight him. He’s a rough fighter, he’s like Marcos Maidana.
“Jeff has impressed me and he’s someone I’d like to fight one day. I’ve got to keep being myself, and keep giving one hundred percent before that can happen.”
Nagbe, 25, made an impressive start to his boxing career, outpointing unbeaten local rival Jyl Wright in March to signal his intent to quickly rise through the light middleweight division.
With all success comes learning curves, which Nagbe (now 1-0) experienced first-hand in his professional debut.
“I feel like I could’ve done more in the first fight,” he explained.
“It was a weird fight, it wasn’t pretty to watch because my opponent didn’t come to fight. I’m an entertainer, but there’s a lot of room to improve.
“Me and my team thought he was going to come forward and I was expecting that kind of fight. If someone comes to fight, it shouldn’t be how it was. He came to survive, and there was nothing coming at me.
“After that first round, we knew this. We worked on a plan where he was going to fight, even though we waited for it, he didn’t want to come forward. Because he was awkward, we tried to mentally break him down.
“If you watch the fight, you can see him break down. He was scared to throw punches.”
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The Ballarat-based and Liberia-born prospect knows that he has to develop his skillset in order to compete at the highest level.
Despite his limited punch-for-pay experience in the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, Nagbe has expressed his willingness to face Australia’s best talent.
Before this can happen, Nagbe must dispose of talented Frenchman Sonny Abid, who he challenges on June 1st as part of the WILDFIGHTER ‘RND 2’ event at The Timber Yard.
“It feels like in the boxing game, people see a lot of mistakes in me,” he explained.
“They see that I miss a lot, but what they don’t understand that it’s hard to get someone who doesn’t want to get hit.
“I don’t know anything about my next opponent, but I only worry bout myself and sharpen my weapons.
“After this fight, I want another undefeated fighter. I want to fight the best in my state or even the best in Australia. I don’t want any bums. Give me a top ten fighter in Australia.
“My foundation is like baby steps, I’m doing the stairs that are in front of me, but I want the whole staircase. Every fight is about facing number one. They don’t want to fight but that’s okay, I’ll work my way up.
“In twelve months they’ll have to fight me. If I work hard, I’ll move up in the ratings even if they don’t want to fight me. If there is someone else who thinks they’re the best, they’ll need to fight me.”
If the right opportunities present themselves, Nagbe is open to cutting weight and moving down a division to welterweight to increase the likelihood of an Australian title challenge.
“I’m looking to go down, maybe to 67 kilograms if there’s something for me,” he said.
”I’m looking for the Australian title, but me and my promoter Will Tomlinson are looking internationally as well. If the Australian champion won’t fight me, I’ll go through Africa or somewhere else.
”I’m going for the Australian title by the end of the year. Once I get myself a rating and something people want, they’re going to have to fight me. ”