THE countdown to Skye Nicolson’s professional debut has officially begun.
The 26-year-old featherweight signed with Matchroom Boxing last month, and is set for an immediate entrance into the professional circuit on March 6 at San Diego’s Pechanga Arena.
Nicolson had an impressive amateur ledger with a record of 137 wins and 15 losses, which included a Commonwealth Games gold medal on the Gold Coast, and an appearance at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Speaking from her training base in Bromley, Nicolson elaborated on the decision to sign with an international promoter, and how the landscape of women’s boxing is changing.
Signing with Matchroom
After weeks of speculation, Matchroom announced that Nicolson had signed a long-term promotional deal, which would see the Australian enter the professional circuit.
She joins fellow Australian Ebanie Bridges under the Matchroom banner, with the ‘Blonde Bomber’ having won seven of her eight professional fights, including a maiden world title challenge last year.
When probed on her motivation to join Matchroom’s expanding global roster, Nicolson revealed a conversation with Eddie Hearn, which convinced her to put pen to paper.
“I wasn’t really even interested in turning pro until I spoke to Eddie,” she explained.
“He’s very good at his job, and he’s a good salesman, and he made it very enticing and very hard not to consider. I think it was almost definite that I would go with Matchroom if I was going to go pro.
“They’re leading the way with women’s boxing globally, so it was a bit of a no brainer really.
“There was talks with No Limit and I love those guys, but for me it was the opportunities and the exposure that I just wouldn’t get anywhere else that I would get with Matchroom. That was the big part of my decision.”
How women’s boxing is changing
Nicolson has set her sights on being a trailblazer for women in boxing ahead of her first bout as a professional.
Despite being at the coalface of women’s boxing at a global scale, the former Olympian also predicts a bright future for the sport domestically, with a conveyor belt of talent on the way.
“Even in Australia, the talent that’s coming through in the young girls that I’ve seen over the last couple of years is just incredible,” she said.
“I think the future of women’s boxing in Australia is huge, so I’d love to be a trailblazer and really create a path and show those girls that they can do anything [when] they set their mind to it.
“They’ve definitely got the skills, it’s all there and all Australia really lacks is the depth. So the more girls that get involved, the better we’re going to be.”
The Queenslander feels a responsibility to be a positive role model, with plans to inspire future generations that are yet to make their mark.
“I think it’s a responsibility for every single successful athlete that’s getting attention, that’s in the media, that young girls are looking up to,” Nicolson added.
“It’s definitely a responsibility to be that good role model, to show them that if they apply themselves and they dedicate themselves to what they want to achieve, then they can achieve it.
“I feel like I’ve taken on that role since a pretty young age. Because obviously, I did start very young, and I started when women’s boxing was still in its really early stages.
“But I think it’s a great responsibility to have, a very rewarding one as well when you see those girls follow in your footsteps and do amazing things as well. You can kind of sit back and smile and know that you might have influenced that in some way.”
Making her professional debut and relocating abroad
The decision to sign with Matchroom gives Nicolson the platform to compete on high-profile cards.
Her debut will fall on the event headlined by a trilogy-bout between long-time rivals Juan Francisco Estrada and future Hall of Famer Roman Gonzalez.
Having never competed in America across her well-traveled career as an amateur, Nicolson is clearly excited about entering the lucrative stateside scene for the first time,
“Being on such a big card for my pro debut is exciting,” she explained.
“Obviously it’s going to be great exposure for me, to showcase my skills, a lot of people will be tuning in around the world. That side of it for me is very exciting.
“To be having my pro debut, I feel like it’s been a long time coming. I was getting a little bit stale, a little bit bored.
“The motivation and drive was kind of not there, so having this opportunity come up, it couldn’t have been better timing for me. I just felt like it was the time to make the jump and just get straight into it.”
Nicolson is currently in the United Kingdom for her training camp, getting the best preparation available ahead of her foray into the punch-for-pay format of the sport.
While she made it clear that Australia will always be her home, is appears as if she’ll be doing most of her training from various bases abroad.
“Australia’s always going to be home and I’m not over here permanently so I will be home,” she concluded.
“I just know that this is where I’m going to get my best training, this is where I’ll have quality sparring opportunities.
“But Australia will always be home. I’ll probably do three or four fights at a time, and then go home for a couple of months at a time.”
Photo: Getty Images
Words: Finn Morton/Follow Finn on Twitter