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Terry Nickolas and the unique path to professional glory

Terry Nickolas and the unique path to professional glory

TERRY Nickolas isn’t your typical Australian boxer.

On the back of an impressive Commonwealth Games campaign, which included two wins and a place in the quarter finals, the humble Adeladian had plans on qualifying for the Olympics before swiftly transitioning to the paid ranks.

As fate would have it, the 26-year-old missed out on Olympic selection, instead aligning with one of the biggest names in Australian boxing, being unbeaten lightweight and world rated Australian George Kambosos.

But it’s the nature of their relationship that has turned heads, with Nickolas relocating to Sydney after penning a long-term promotional deal with Kambosos’ recently formed business venture, Ferocious Promotions, including a managerial pact with with George’s father, Jim Kambosos.

“It just happened the way it did, I wasn’t sticking around,” he told Aus-Boxing.

“I was just focussing on the Olympic trials. It was always my goal, to represent Australia at another major event. Things worked out the way they did and now I’m here in Sydney.

“It’s hard to get sparring in Adelaide, the quality rounds and stuff like that. I was always travelling, doing camps in Sydney. It’s gone back-and-forth for a long time, even though I really enjoyed it.”

Having established a base in Sydney, Nickolas will continue honing his craft under the guidance of respected tactician Mick Akkawy, who mentors the likes of former world title challenger Bilal Akkawy and Danny Keating.

Despite the infancy of their relationship, Nickolas believes the results are already evident in his training.

“I know I want to give it 100 percent, nothing less,” he explained.

“To be the best fighter I could be, I need to be around more fighters, with a full-time coach and stuff like that. I had to make that move, I had a great team back home but the competitiveness wasn’t there.

“George’s father gave him a great recommendation, and I’ve had a close relationship with them both, since the amateurs really. I’ve been friends with George for eight years now, it’s a close relationship.

“Jim made some calls, we had a meeting and Mick was keen to take me on. I still had to train with him and see if we gel. It’s very much early days, but to be honest, I’m loving every minute.

“When the time came, Jim did what he had to do. That’s one of the reasons why I moved here, looking at George’s career pathway. He’s a couple fights off a world title. I have so much trust in them, both George, Jim and Mick.

“They both have been in the game for a long time, they wouldn’t of recommended each other if they weren’t suitable.”

Nickolas plans to hit the ground running as a professional, penciling in his first professional fight in the fifth instalment of Will Tomlinson’s WILDFIGHTER, headlined by a cruiserweight collision between Jason Whateley and Ben Kelleher on March 28th.

With his first official training camp well underway, Nickolas sees parallels in the mutual mindset shared with his stablemate and promoter Kambosos, having previously trained in Miami with Javiel Centeno.

“He makes sure that I’m training for every fight like its a world title,” he explained.

“It’s about not leaving any stone unturned, and just making sure I’m focused on one fight at a time.

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“I went out last year with George to Miami, I really learnt a lot in the gym. To be there, it was unbelievable and really big learning curve. You learn a lot in those gyms, being around professional fighters, I can’t wait to go back.”

Given the distance from Nickolas’ family and friends in Adelaide, the decision to fight on a Melbourne-based show proved a natural fit.

“Melbourne is a lot closer to Adelaide, all family and friends will try and come over,” he said.

“I remember watching Will growing up — he was awesome to watch — a tough and skilful fighter. I did look up to him, even when I was competing as an amateur.

“I’m honoured to fight on Will’s card for my debut. We’ve been in contact before and it was always in the works. I’m pumped to put on a show.”

As for his debut opponent, Nickolas has chosen an unenviable task, meeting crafty southpaw Ebrahim Jamasi, best known for a razor-thin decision loss to regional titleholder Terry Tzouramanis.

“We’re willing to fight the best, and we want to be the best,” he concluded.

“We’re not messing around and have gone straight to a six rounder. Jim and George trust my ability and they’ve made that decision.

“I can box and I can bag. I really think I can put on a good show on March 28, you’ll see the best of me. Even though it’s one step at a time, we have some big goals.”

Tickets for the latest instalment of WILDFIGHTER, headlined by Jason Whateley and Ben Kelleher, can be purchased here.

Photo: Getty Images

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