Bascome’s rivals to fight for vacant title
Fábio Costa and David Martínez are set to fight for the IBA International Welterweight Championship vacated by Nikki Bascome at the Fairmont Southampton in November.
Bascome chose to give up his IBA strap to free him up to pursue fights at super lightweight and won his first contest at 140 pounds against Filipino Alvin Lagumbay at the Victualling Yard in Dockyard last month.
Portuguese Costa gained notoriety on the island after condemning Bascome to his only professional defeat via a technical knockout in a brutal contest at the same venue in November 2017.
His return is sure to mobilise the island’s Portuguese community and turn the Fairmont Southampton into a sea of red and green for his headline bout with fellow big hitter Martínez.
The Mexican, too, has plenty of local admirers, having lost to Bascome on points in a hard-fought battle ten months ago, also in Southampton.
Both fighters have remained undefeated since facing Bascome; Costa fighting just once, defeating compatriot Ricardo Luiz, while Martínez has enjoyed back-to-back wins over Mexicans Lucian Araujo and Jesus Sandoval.
Nathan Dill, the Bermuda Boxing Federation president, believes a meeting between Bascome’s former rivals will generate plenty of local interest, especially for Bermuda’s large base of Portuguese descendants who treated Costa to a hero’s welcome during his previous visit.
“Every time we have had a fight since 2017, the Portuguese community in Bermuda has reached out to us to say, ‘Please can you get our guy back to have another fight’,” Dill said.
“We already had a clause in Martínez’s contract for him to return and when it became clear that Nikki would not stay at welterweight and keep the belt, we said, ‘OK, who can we get to step in for this title match?’.
“This fight became the obvious answer. We reached out to the IBA who fast-tracked our application to host the rematch. They really pushed it through.”
Dill has long harboured a vision to turn Bermuda into a viable international boxing destination and become an attractive venue to host marquee regional fights.
“The main vision has always been to grow Bermudian boxing and our youth programme; that’s always been the main goal,” Dill added.
“But we also want to make Bermuda a hub for international boxing. We’re just two hours from New York and Boston, so why can’t we do something on some sort of scale here in Bermuda.
“We are very much on the radar of the big players in the region. Every time we have fights we have guys throughout the Caribbean, places like Jamaica and Guyana, reach out to us because they can see what we’re doing.
“The Caribbean is very interested in what we’re doing and we’re trying to grow that market.”
There will be a “best of Bermuda” theme to the undercard of the November 23 bout, with the island’s top amateurs Andre Lambe and Michael Parsons poised to fight at welterweight and Tyler Christopher expected to face Robert Somner at middleweight.
Dill is particularly intrigued by the potential match between Lambe and Parsons as he said both intend to turn professional next year.
“We already knew about Andre going pro, but now Mikey and his team have made the decision to go pro next year as well,” Dill added. “Mikey is a phenomenal fighter. He is a little bit old in the game, but as he’s still so active, it only make sense for him to do a bit more.
“He has a lot of boxing life left in him and he might as well get paid for it.”
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