Bascome fights through flu and Rangel
Aside from battling a relentless, teak-tough Mexican, Nikki Bascome has revealed he also fought through sickness to claim a unanimous points win at North Field on Saturday.
Bascome believes he passed a true test of character to preserve his undefeated record as he was struggling with the flu in the build-up to his six-round welterweight tear-up with David Rangel.
Although Bascome did not show any visible signs of grogginess during his full-blooded performance, he admits he had to dig deep into his physical and mental reserves against Rangel, a come-forward, pressure fighter.
“I felt I passed a big test for myself as I had to face some adversity,” Bascome said. “He was a tough fighter and I knew I couldn't afford to show him any weakness. I couldn't do what I wanted to do because my mind had been focusing on my cold as well as the fight.”
The 26-year-old suspects he picked up a bug while flying home from his two-week training camp in Orlando, Florida, and was unable to train during the days leading up to the contest.
“I think my immune system is low because of all the hard work,” Bascome said. “I've had three fights back-to-back with three intense training camps. I think my body just needs to rest.
“I pretty much kept it to myself and only my coach [Allan “Forty” Rego] and a few others really knew I was sick.”
While the ringside judges scored the fight 60-54, 59-55, 59-55, the rangy Rangel asked some serious questions of Bascome and was without doubt the grittiest opponent yet to share the squared circle with the Bermudian.
After a cautious opening stanza, Bascome started to display his quick hand speed, finding his way through and around the taller man's guard, landing a dazzling three-punch combination while making his opponent overreach and miss.
Bascome arguably banked the first two rounds as the more accurate puncher, but it was Rangel who dominated the third, rocking Bascome for the first time in his career with a thudding left hook that buckled his legs.
“He caught me with a sneaky left hook,” Bascome said. “He faked me and it was a good shot. It was crafty and I have to give him props for that.
“After that I made some adjustments and got back to my jab and listened to my coach.”
Both fighters stood in the pocket and traded hellfire during a brutal fourth as Rangel looked to impose his will upon Bascome, who refused to be bullied and finished like a train with a blizzard of eye-catching blows to steal the round.
Bascome committed to a body attack during the final rounds — a ploy that worked so well against his previous rival Iwan Azore, albeit in a very different type of fight — as Rangel continued to try and rough up the home favourite who was more than willing to fight fire with fire.
“Mexicans are known for that type of stuff, they like to dig deep, but little things like my shoulder roll helped and a lot of his punches were catching my arms,” Bascome added.
“I few times I caught him to his body and hurt him. I just had to dig in for the win.”
Rangel, a former WBC junior world championship title and WBC Fecombox title contender, believes he had Bascome in real trouble in the third round and thought the fight was far closer than the scorecards suggested.
“I absolutely feel like it was a tie,” said Rangel, speaking through an interpreter.
“But, of course, this is his home and that definitely changes things. I definitely thought I could have taken Nikki in the third. I wanted to make it a war.”
Unsure of his next move, having now lost six of his previous eight bouts, Rangel insists that Bascome never hurt him and was far from his toughest opponent.
“Nikki doesn't hit hard and doesn't take hits well,” Rangel said. “He likes to squirm around. He's strong but not half as strong as previous fighters I've faced.”