Nicola Hopewell: A New Beginning
Sometimes you have a feeling. In a sport that is dominated by illusions, it is often difficult to separate the truth from the anything but.
There is probably a false narrative around Nicola Hopewell, the BIBA connections that hides plenty. Maybe everything. The more than respectable amateur record is ignored, forgotten even, distorted by a land that rightly or wrongly, carries a certain stigma and many limitations. Hopewell could be a serious talent that has somewhat being going under the radar. That might be about to change.
Hopewell is in the final stages of her application to be licensed by the British Board of Control. The move almost certainly should have come sooner, but the lateness in the move hasn’t come beyond the point of repair.
At 30, the super-flyweight hopeful will belatedly make her move in a world where she should have been all along. By the half way point of the year, Hopewell will hopefully be up and running and looking ahead instead of thinking she was on the outside looking in.
Unbeaten in 6 fights under the BIBA umbrella, the potential was obvious. But there was always something restrictive about her time with the other side of boxing. But the Worksop fighter has had her eyes opened to a brave new and far more accepted boxing world.
The plaudits have always been there, more so, as her online presence gradually increased. We only saw glimpses of her talent, but enough to know Hopewell had outgrown her previous boxing residence.
But in many ways, Hopewell has now given herself the opportunity to grow. The working environment has changed and Hopewell seems happier. But crucially, she feels as though she is improving and getting better with each passing day. Despite being relatively active last year, there was a feeling of stagnation and frustration. Hopewell wanted more. She deserved better.
When Hopewell told me she didn’t want any regrets when her career is over, and having a desire to share a card with her friend Ebanie Bridges, it always like looked a case of when and not if the temptation to leave for pastures new would be too tempting to resist.
There was much interest in acquiring her signature, Hopewell had options. That interest is likely to grow when her new career starts to develop over the course of this year. With women’s boxing currently in a boom period that shows no sign of slowing down, the search for new talent will likely land at Hopewell’s door. The dream to share a card with her Australian friend, is more than achievable.
Definitive news of her application is imminent and her boxing hiatus since October will be over. In many ways, Hopewell will then look to make up for lost time.
But Hopewell hasn’t been inactive outside of the ring. The time away has been spent wisely, fine-tuning the skills and making the subtle, but ever so crucial adjustments to her game. When she returns, Hopewell will be better.
Hopewell will have to start again, but she does so with a solid foundation and a confidence that she is more than up to the task. There is power and speed in her hands, the dancing days gave her speed of foot and impressive balance. Hopewell seemingly has the required tools to take her far in her sport of choice. It might be a new beginning, but it could be an exciting one and a rewarding one.