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Bascome feeling sharp for big test

In the zone: Bascome puts the final touches to his preparations for ‘Pure Gold’ Azore during a training session at Fort Rego’s Gym in Warwick (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Nikki Bascome faces the biggest test of his career when he makes a step up in class against Iwan “Pure Gold” Azore at the Fairmont Southampton tomorrow night.

Undefeated Bascome believes that beating Azore could be a gateway to bigger fights, although he is aware he cannot afford to look beyond the Guyanese southpaw, who has won 16 and drawn three of his 26 bouts.

Although Azore has lost both fights since returning to the ring after four years, one of those losses, a unanimous decision, came against DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley — a former WBO light-welterweight champion.

“This fight is another progression for me and I’m not taking him lightly,” Bascome said. “All I’m focused on is winning and whatever comes after that, comes after that. I’ve been training hard every day, listening to my coaches and I’ll be trying my best to get the victory.”

To prepare for Azore — the first southpaw Bascome has faced since his professional debut against George Quintero in Florida two years ago — Bascome has sparred extensively with left-handers Andre Lambe and Tyler Christopher.

“I train with southpaws all of the time and that shouldn’t be a problem for me,” Bascome added.

“As my coach [Allan “Forty” Rego] says, a southpaw is only a southpaw when he’s on the outside. When he’s on the inside he’s the same as everyone else.”

It has only been two months since Bascome’s previous outing, a second-round stoppage of American Donny Miller, with the Bermudian saying that he has felt the benefits of the quick turnaround.

“It’s been good for me and it’s helped me stay sharp and remain in the realm of things,” he added. “I’m feeling good and ready to go in there and do my thing.

“I’ve been putting the final touches to my preparations, trying to get sharper so I’ll be able to execute on the night.”

A familiar face throughout Bascome’s preparations at Forty Rego’s Gym in Warwick has been Troy Darrell, one of Bermuda’s most decorated pugilists.

Bascome said the presence of the former middleweight, who was trained by the legendary Angelo Dundee — best known for his work with Muhammad Ali — had helped him “sharpen his tools” for his six-round welterweight bout.

“Troy has been a big help and I’m trying to take on board as much as I possibly can,” said Bascome, who will look to extend his five-bout winning streak.

Both Lambe and Christopher will be in action on the undercard as they warm up for the Arnold USA Invitational Championships in Columbus, Ohio, next month.

Lambe, who impressed in his first-round stoppage against Gilbert Vargas at Berkeley Institute in December, faces Jason Canamaso — his third successive opponent from Baltimore Boxing Club, having also defeated Dorian Bostic on points at Snorkel Park in September.

Vargas takes on Christopher, who switched to Forty Rego’s Gym from Controversy Gym after losing to Canamaso on points at the previous fight night.

General admission is $65, $80 on the door and $120 for VIP. For tickets visit www.ptix.bm. Doors open at 6pm, with the event starting at 7pm.