Boxer’s crusade to give young fans a fighting chance
Nikki Bascome learnt a huge lesson as a teenager: there are no handouts in life.
The professional boxer is now trying to pass that message on to his young fans.
He’s designed a school bag with them in mind. His hope is they take inspiration from what’s written on the bags: fresh and hungry.
“I want the kids to know there are no handouts in life,” he said. “I don’t want them to think I have just been given this position I’m in; I have to work hard for everything.
“You can never give up. There are some times when you have those down moments, you just have to keep the faith and keep striving to succeed and everything will come back. It comes back ten times better sometimes.”
It’s advice he was given years ago by his trainer.
When Mr Bascome announced his plan to become a professional boxer, Allan “Forty” Rego warned: you’ve got to be ready. You’ve got to be fresh. You’ve got to be hungry.
The boxer took the words to heart. When he turned pro three years ago, fresh and hungry became his motto.
“It means you have to seize your opportunities and make some sacrifices,” said the 26-year-old welterweight.
He started selling T-shirts and hats under Fresh and Hungry in 2011. The school bags are the latest addition to that line. He plans to stuff some with school supplies and give them away to youngsters who need encouragement.
“I haven’t finalised the details yet,” he said. “I’ll probably give some to students at my old school, TN Tatem, but really they’ll be for any kid who deserves it.
“I want to give them to children who are improving. Some children just need that extra push and the extra love.”
Mr Bascome’s parents died when he was young and he was raised by his grandmother.
“In my early teens I started giving my grandmother a hard time,” he said. “I was getting into a lot of trouble. It was mostly street stuff. I did some things I’m not proud of, but I learnt from that and grew.”
He was 14 when a neighbour spotted him sparring with some friends.
“I always liked to box,” Mr Bascome said. “Me and my friends would stand outside doing it. It was mostly for bragging rights. Charlie [Wade] saw some talent in me.”
Mr Wade took him to the Police Gym in Prospect and introduced him to veteran trainer Quinton Mallory.
“Quinton was really good to me,” said Mr Bascome. “He started training me and I had my first fight at 15. I didn’t have time any more for hanging out in the street, I was too busy training. I definitely think boxing saved my life.”
He trained with Mr Mallory until he was 18.
“Then Quinton was travelling a lot so I started working with Forty,” said Mr Bascome.
He’s hoping the backpacks will be in stores in August.
“It will be at the Sports Source in the Washington Mall for sure,” he said. “I have also redesigned my tracksuit and it will be available for the first time in children’s sizes.”
Mr Bascome has had an unbroken winning streak since turning pro. Last month he beat David Rangel, despite having the flu.
•Visit www.nikkibascome.com or follow him on Instagram under nikkibascomebda
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