Bonnyville native Rob Nichols is the new Canadian Cruiserweight champion.
The 35-year-old Nichols went the distance with Frank “The Hammer” White on Dec. 11 in Calgary and came out with the unanimous decision.
“He brought the fight and he is the champion for that reason, but it turned out to be my night and I got the win,” said Nichols, who was given the edge with all three judges scoring the fight 97-93.
“I don’t like leaving it in the hands of the judges but I am pretty sure I was the aggressor the entire fight.”
The victory, in what was the first ten-round bout of Nichols’ career, gave him his first Canadian championship belt and improved his professional boxing record to 9-3-1.
“There is no way to describe it,” said Nichols on winning the title in front of a large crowd of family and friends. “The fight finally came to my door and I didn’t want to miss out.”
Nichols boxing career began at the KA Boxing Club, a small gym in the top floor of a building on 50th Ave. in Bonnyville, back in 1997.
It was there were he was able to learn from local boxing coaches Ray Kahanyshyn and Ray Dumais.
The Bonnyville native took those skills into the ring with him against White and was able to push the pace of the fight and keep the champion on his toes through all ten rounds.
“The jab is what really worked for me,” said Nichols. “I came out of it pretty much unscathed other than one black eye and a little cut on my chin, but his face looked pretty swollen. One eye was starting to swell shut. If it had kept going for a 12-round fight it was only a matter of time.”
The bout was Nichols first opportunity at a Canadian title, something he had been waiting 18 years to get a crack at.
It wasn’t until this summer, when newly formed promotional company Dekada came calling, that he was finally afforded a chance.
Representatives from Dekada placed Nichols on their first ever event card – Dekada Premier Fight Night.
A victory on Oct. 16 over Shediac, New Brunswick’s Emile Arsenault was all the promoters needed to see to grant Nichols an opportunity to fight for a Canadian Professional Boxing Council (CPBC) title belt.
After the win, with Nichols still huffing and puffing in the centre of the ring, his attention was turned to the video board, where White officially challenged him to a title fight.
“It was the moment I was waiting for,” said Nichols. “I never had any doubts about what I could do or what I had to do to get the win. I stayed focused followed the game plan me and my coach set up and executed it.”
His victory over White means he is the current Canadian Cruiserweight Champion and will soon have to go out and defend his title.
With the belt in his hand, Nichols is hoping to bring a Dekada event card to the Lakeland.
According to the local boxer the promoter is looking at setting up an event for April, which would feature a Nichols title-defence fight as the main event.
“We want to get the show to come out here, get some support for this new belt I’ve got and bring some attention to the boxing we have going across Alberta.”
The card would likely feature three pro fights and a series of amateur bouts.
Bringing the sport back to the area where he learned it all would mean a lot to Nichols, who still hasn’t forgot who helped him get his career going.
“It all started off with the guys back at KA Boxing in Bonnyville, Ray Dumais and Ray Kanahasyn,” said Nichols. “I have to give thanks to them because they got it all started. Now I’ve brought the Championship belt back here were it belongs.”