Nicola Hopewell: The Birthday Girl Moves To 2-0
There are many ways to celebrate a birthday, not many of us would choose to have a fight the day before the big event. The day before her 29th birthday Worksop’s unbeaten Nicola Hopewell had her 2nd professional fight when she took on Tasha Boyes in Aberdeen this past Friday.
The fight with Boyes has been a long-time in the making, multiple postponements throughout this pandemic hit year, but finally, the two shared a ring together:
“It was supposed to first happen in April then the 1st and 15th August and then it finally happened on Friday.”
Fighters have to peak and adjust their training accordingly, seeing a fight fall through with days to spare as was the case in August poses all sorts of problems:
“When the April date got cancelled that wasn’t too bad because we had gone into lockdown so that was expected. The one on the 1st got cancelled because the main event fell through so the entire event got pulled. So I had a few days off, then I was back in camp again so overall I had a 12 week camp for this fight. It was frustrating because you start to peak and then the fight gets cancelled you have to let your body recover. Then you get straight back into it and then it gets cancelled again and then you have to go through it all again.”
Fighters have to cut weight to fight to varying degrees and with the recent fight having several scheduled dates it was hard for Nicola to maintain her fighting weight:
“For the scheduled fight on the 1st I was on weight really good then obviously I had a few days off when that got cancelled, so then my weight went back up again. Then it happened again on the 15th August, so I have been on a strict diet where I can’t eat what I want because at super-flyweight I only have about 1kg to play with.”
Like many Nicola had to adapt to the lockdown restrictions for her training:
“I kept going on my bike and going for runs, so I stayed fit that way. But then my coach started doing online fitness classes so I then started doing them. I was doing a session every day with the gym but obviously at home so I was quite lucky with that.”
The fight with Boyes finally took place on Friday night, with Nicola winning by 1st round stoppage due to her opponent pulling out through an arm injury sustained while warming up before the fight. While the win is obviously good for Nicola the manner of the win was still one of some frustration especially after so long out of the ring:
“It ended a lot sooner than I thought it would. I had watched her a few weeks ago in Italy. That fight went 6 rounds and I thought her Italian opponent looked quite strong so in my mind I thought it would go the full 6 rounds. She was complaining of an arm injury but I am not sure it was a full injury because I threw about four body shots and she just doubled in two. I watched the fight back and I catch her with a left hook and right to the body and that’s when she went down. When she stood up she was holding her side and said her arm was hurting her so I think it was a bit of both.”
Boyes immediately asked for a rematch which looks likely to happen at some point in the near future;
“I was doing a post-fight interview and when they asked what’s next for you, she shouted rematch and I just turned around and said I said yes that’s fine. I’ll definitely do a rematch with her.”
The injury to her opponent may or may not delay an immediate rematch, but Nicola plans on staying busy and with more shows being planned she will return to action sooner rather than later:
“They are wanting to do two shows a month. There was the one on Friday, I know there is another on the 19th and then they are going to start on the October ones. I think they want a female fight on every card so hopefully, it won’t be too long before I am out there again. It won’t be the next one but maybe October or November.”
Anyone who watched the excellent Matchroom online footage of the behind the scenes of the recent Fight Camp shows will know of the restrictions involved in putting on a boxing show at the moment. Nicola and the rest of the fighters had to experience it themselves in Aberdeen:
“There was only us in the hotel, so once you were there all the facilities were for you. We did the weigh-ins there, I thought it was very well organised how they did it. Each boxer was giving their own changing and warming up room.”
The experience of watching boxing without a crowd does have an adverse effect on the viewing of the sport, but the fighters have to adapt to the strange, eerie even atmosphere:
“I’ve never boxed behind closed doors before and I thought it was going to be strange, but once I was there it was alright. It’s just so quiet because I am used to an audience and you can hear people shouting and you can usually identify certain voices, like family members.”
Despite how the fight on Friday ended, a win is a win and with no physical damage from the bout, Nicola will be ready to go again once the call arrives. The fight didn’t last long but the winner showed enough in the short time it lasted to demonstrate her talent and is very much a fighter to keep an eye on.
Nicola would like to thank her coach Cris Boyle from Boyle’s Boxing Club in Worksop and her sponsors KC Sofa’s Worksop & the Worksop and South Anston Post Office for their continued support.