Skye Nicolson: “I really want to make a statement early and show the world that I am here and that I mean business.”
It was an Olympic dream she had craved and chased for much of her young life. It ended in tears and was decided by a wafer-thin margin. But Skye Nicolson vowed to go again, a dream too important and precious to let go of, Tokyo was gone, but Paris was still ahead. But since the last time I spoke to the Australian, things have changed. The Olympic flame is still burning, but for the immediate future, Skye will soon enter a brand new world.
Like many, Skye has now turned professional, but with the rules changing, subject to qualification, she will still be allowed to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics. But the chase for the gold medal will be put temporarily on ice while her professional journey begins in America in early March.
Over Zoom after another long day of training had just ended at around 8pm, Skye told FightPost how much she is enjoying her new life:
“I’m loving it, honestly, it’s been so good. I’m almost at the end of my third week in camp, I’ve been like a sponge trying to take it all in, and learn and adapt. I just feel like I’m boxing better and better in each session which has been quite rewarding feeling the changes and seeing the new stuff work.”
There is something calm and reassuring about Skye. On the surface, her manner is more akin to a chess player rather than a professional boxer, although her impressive back catalogue of over 100 fights, leaves you in no doubt that once the gloves are on, a switch is flicked. Make no mistake, she is a fighter at heart. Skye has achieved plenty and undoubtedly will achieve much more in the unpaid ranks, but the new beginning has rekindled a fire that had dimmed somewhat in recent times:
“I was feeling a little stale and I felt I wasn’t getting any better. I saw an opportunity for something new and that excited me and I thought why not. The option is still there to go to the Olympics it wasn’t like I had to let go of that Olympic dream.”
Skye is now aligned with Matchroom Boxing, joining an already flourishing stable of female fighters. Eddie Hearn a salesman from another time, is ever-expanding his already impressive arsenal of fighters, and has clearly seen something in Skye that convinced him to make his move towards the end of last year:
“Eddie reached out me to me last September and we kind of went back and forth for a while. Eddie was doing the whole sales pitch saying why going professional was the better option and that now was the time. And in the end, he persuaded me.“
Any initial reluctance from Skye was quickly washed away by the persuasive talents of Hearn. A dream was sold, and Skye was soon convinced in what Hearn could bring to the table:
“It was the opportunity and what Eddie could envision for me and my career and what I could I do as a female boxer from Australia to become a global sensation. I loved his belief in me and his vision, Eddie said he could see me being a multi-weight world champion. Eddie saw the potential and for me, that was quite exciting and something new. It all started to make sense like it was meant to happen, the path I was meant to take.”
Until Skye received the approach from Hearn, Skye was very much focussed on her Olympic aspirations, with little thoughts about turning professional:
“I had thought about it a little bit but not to the extent that I want to do it. It’s never been like I really want to turn professional my boxing had always been about amateur boxing, representing Australia and winning medals for my country. But now I am boxing for a living, boxing for myself and building my own brand and creating my own legacy.”
The Olympics are still very much in her thoughts, the elusive gold medal chase will continue, but for now, Skye will be totally dedicated to her professional journey. With a planned three fights before May, and the next year pretty much mapped out, Skye has given up opportunities to compete in this year’s Commonwealth Games and the rescheduled world championships to focus primarily on establishing herself as a professional:
“I don’t really want to be dipping in and out between amateur and professional because I do understand it is different. We have quite a busy schedule planned for me as a professional, up to six or seven fights in the first year, so I’ve decided to dedicate the next 18 months to two years to professional boxing and then look at Paris for 2024.”
Skye has given up plenty, family and friends left behind on the other side of the world, life in comparative solitude. The training base is in England, a place she now calls home, living alone, a spartan existence maybe, but it serves a purpose. But this is no lonely fighter, she has everything she needs at hand, and travelling is nothing new for someone who has travelled the globe in her quest for medals. There is an impressive single-minded attitude from someone who seemingly has all the attributes to reach the very top:
“I am on my own now and I am actually loving it. I love having no distractions, I just eat sleep and train. I am away from all my family and friends, it’s just boxing, boxing and more boxing. I am getting fitter and better at boxing and that’s it.”
You don’t have to be in her company for long to see what is in front of you, Skye just has the look of someone who is destined for big things and it is easy to see why Hearn reached out. It is very easy to see what the promoter sees. There is no need for false bravado or trash talk, Skye is just a fighter on a mission, and one that is in total control of her destiny. The featherweight prospect will head to America in March with big expectations of herself:
“I really want to make a statement early and show the world that I am here and that I mean business,” Skye says without a hint of arrogance. Despite the rising popularity of women’s boxing, the sport needs new stars to emerge to take it to the next level. Skye Nicolson appears to be one such fighter.