‘I would be fighting every weekend’ – Nicila Costello is boxing to learn and entertain

Nicila Costello moved to 2-0 and captured her first career title at ACE Boxing: Webber v Cronin on September 4. (Photo: Instagram)

The name Nicila Costello is not one that you will find echoing across the households of Australian boxing fans. At least not yet, anyway.

Though she is only two fights deep in a burgeoning career, both performances have been crowd pleasing and in some cases show stealing.

In her professional debut in June, Costello defeated Jessica Clancy in Townsville. Their four round bout was one full of action from bell to bell.

Both fighters wore their share of heavy punches in what will go down as one of the best Australian women’s contests of 2021.

Fast forward to this past weekend and Costello was at it again. Only this time, she did not just capture the eyes of those that witnessed her six rounds with Ali Jensen, but the Queensland Super Flyweight title as well.

In hindsight, the opportunity to fight for a first career belt was one she was never going to let slip.

“I don’t think I can even explain how excited I was just to have the opportunity to go for that belt. It was massive and there was never a chance we weren’t going to jump at that,” Costello told The Inner Sanctum.

“Coming off the back of the debut was phenomenal, I felt awesome afterwards.”

Walking away from the ACE Boxing: Webber v Cronin card with a championship is only one facet of fighting for Costello however.

Just as important is a dedication to being challenged. To throwing oneself into the fire and testing the limits of physical and mental capacity. It is only through pressure that diamonds come into existence.

With this form of immersion comes learning.

“It’s definitely the challenge, that was probably the reason I got into boxing,” Costello said.

“I’ve always been into sport. I’ve done different types of things and I was like, ‘I’m un-coordinated, I can’t throw a punch so let’s get into boxing and see how far I can take it.’

“That was the original reason and now it’s just that there’s so much to learn. That’s what makes me want to do boxing – that you’re constantly learning.

“You’re never going to know it all and even if you did know it all, your opponent throws something at you that you’re not used to and then you don’t know it all.”

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In fact, the title fight with Jensen was full of lessons for Costello.

Her reflection upon the bout that saw her turn 2-0 as a professional is an honest critique. One that notes both the positives and negatives from her performance.

Through 12 minutes of combat, she was presented with teachings about her capability in the face of adversity.

“One thing I probably forgot and my only regret was that I didn’t remember to have fun at every single point of that fight,” she said.

“I went into it with fractured ribs, I did that in sparring a couple of weeks before. That kind of threw me off, but that’s kind of the main thing I learned from Saturday.

“I think I was a bit stressed about ‘oh God, keeping them safe, I don’t want to get hurt and then not be able to continue.’

“When really, I f***ing love it. I love being up there, I love boxing. That’s the fun of it. I should have been like, ‘who cares, I’m doing it anyway I may as well enjoy it.’

“That’s just an experience thing for me. I guess it’s the nerves and everything associated with combat sports that you need to learn more than anything else. That was my biggest takeaway from the performance.

“I think it was more mental than anything going in there.

“I definitely felt like I was not at my peak, but I’m definitely happy with how it went and I learned so much from it.”

WATCH: Nicila Costello captured the Queensland Super Flyweight title (2:11:20) against Ali Jensen on Saturday, September 4 – Video: ACE Boxing/YouTube

Holding her in good stead on her journey is an entertaining fighting style. From the 10 rounds of her career thus far, it is clear that there is a willingness from Costello to march forward against equally game opponents.

The impetus to ‘take one to give one’ as the old boxing adage says, comes from formative experiences.

There has definitely been a family input into her bravery as well.

“It’s funny. I was talking to my sister and out of my siblings, she was a professional triathlete and my brother’s a professional bare-back bronco rider in rodeo and I get smacked in the face,” Costello told.

“It’s weird because we never think about it, but she was like, ‘I feel like we don’t even realise there’s pain when there’s a competition.’

“I personally feel like it’s because I grew up with older brothers and we were always rough. We kind of always had to be like that.

“I’m an attention seeker as well, so I don’t mind getting some hits to the face if it’s creating something fun to watch.”

If all goes according to plan, Costello will take this fighting spirit into another boxing based test this year. Regardless of opponent, venue and the stakes, visions of grandeur will give way to those of self-improvement.

The formula will remain the same – turn up, fight hard, learn and re-load.

“There will definitely be a fight number three that’s in the works. It’ll be before the end of the year,” she said.

“I don’t think I have a vision aside from wanting to get in there. I think if it was up to me I would be fighting every weekend.

“It’s phenomenal being undefeated but I’m sure that won’t last forever.

“I’m stoked to be getting fights and good fights as well, I’m stoked that I’m two and zero. I hope that I can keep that up, but more so I want to be proud of the effort I put in each round.

“As long as I can walk away happy, that’s good.”

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About Liahm O'Brien 80 Articles
Liahm is a features writer based in Burnie, Tasmania. His writing focuses on the human side of combat sports, painting a full picture of the athletes we see from the stands or on our tv screens. In 2017, he was published in The Footy Almanac.

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