On what was a day to remember, Skye Nicolson (1-0) turned in a classy professional debut on Sunday morning. Despite an experience advantage, American opponent Jessica Juarez (3-1, 1 KO) was no match for the 26 year old Queenslander, who took the unanimous decision win (60-54, 59-55 x 2).
Spurred on by the heartbreak of her quarter final exit at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Nicolson was clearly determined to make her mark in her maiden outing in the professional ranks of women’s boxing.
Coming into the fight, Nicolson knew she would be the elder of the pair, but the more tenured fighter in Juarez had won three in a row in the lead in to the contest.
With a fierce and confident ring-walk, the Olympian put all external pressures behind her to turn in an extremely impressive performance across six hard-fought rounds. Looking comfortable and calculated, Nicolson landed countless lead hand jabs that picked and prodded at her opponent, snapping her head back on multiple occasions throughout the bout.
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Long, Quick Lead Hand
One of the most impressive things to take away from Nicolson’s debut was her ability to string together shots that came from her lead hand. Time and again, the Australian found a home for her free-flowing lead hand which caused issues for Juarez.
The timing of a snappy jab rocked the American at times. The excellent timing of hooks that dug right into the body, combined with a tricky southpaw style, will make Nicolson a tough ask for all opponents in coming bouts.
Her upper-body rhythm made Juarez miss in the opening three rounds allowed Nicolson to easily use her long lead jab to both head and body.
In all, she continually beat her opponent to the jab and put powerful combinations together to the head and body, leaving Juarez puzzled, particularly in rounds two and three.
Part of Nicolson’s ability to find a home for the jab came down to her world-class footwork and head movement..
Nicolson put together lots of counter-shots while shifting directions throughout the fight, making the ring look extremely big all while making her opponent’s job even harder.
The good footwork laterally and side to side, combined with her upper body and head movement, allowed her to time the range of her jabs and perfect her defence against Juarez.
This forced Juarez to only throw when up close, which never really troubled Nicolson, who essentially danced her way to victory.
Nicolson means business
Despite the early exit at Tokyo 2020, everyone knew that Nicolson had the potential to become one of Australia’s best female boxers and on her debut, proved she could be destined for greatness.
The quick in and out lead shots used to punish were spectacular, while her defence was impressive, evidenced by the fact that she was not tagged with any big shots.
It is also worth noting that the occasion did not overawe the debutant. With the bout taking place on the undercard of the legendary Roman ‘Chocolatitio’ Gonzalez’s (50-3, 41 KOs) clash with Mexican action-fighter, Julio Cesar Martinez (18-1, 14 KOs), being affected b the magnitude of the event would have been justified.
Instead, there was a calmness to the performance, one that showed maturity beyond her years.
Now progressing to 1-0 as a professional fighter, Nicolson should aim to quickly progress up the pro-ranks as a Super Featherweight. It won’t be too long until we see the 26-year-old back in action, as she gears up for a big first year as a professional boxer.
The win over the more experienced Juarez puts Nicolson in a good position as she starts her hunt for an allusive title of being a World champion in the sport of boxing.
Despite not securing a knockdown or a knockout on her debut, Australian boxing fans should be on watch, as the prospect was able to secure an overseas victory with ease.
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