Bascome to face Mexican opponent
Nikki Bascome will challenge Mexican David Martínez for a vacant “stepping stone” title next month.
Bascome has not fought since his knockout defeat to Portugal's Fábio Costa last November at the Fairmont Southampton, the same venue where he will meet Martínez for the IBA international welterweight title.
Although the IBA is not one of the four major boxing organisations, there have been several notable champions including Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr, Shane Mosley, as well as Bermuda women's boxer Teresa Perozzi. Should Bascome beat Martínez, who boasts 12 victories from 15 fights, then the Bermudian could make his first title defence against Costa.
Adding another layer of intrigue to the eight-round contest will be the presence of Jeff Mayweather, who is expected to be in Bascome's corner for the first time on the “Redemption” card on November 24.
Bascome teamed up with Mayweather, the uncle of Floyd — the undefeated former world champion — after splitting with his longtime coach, the late Allan “Forty” Rego, shortly after losing his unbeaten record against Costa.
Nathan Dill, the BBF president, revealed that it was the IBA who offered the title fight to Bascome. The IBA relaunched last year, with 15 of its 17 weight divisions at present vacant of champions.
“This could open up opportunities and avenues for Nikki,” Dill said. “This belt is like an intermediary belt and is a step up to bigger things. We didn't go out seeking this. The [IBA] knew we were having an event and are very keen to support Bermuda.
“One of their principals, Steve Smoger [the boxing referee], comes down here all the time. He's been a great advocate of Nikki and has refereed all of his fights [on the island].
“Bermuda is a very attractive platform for the IBA to relaunch their rebranding of the organisation. In the near future you could see internationally broadcasting from Bermuda as part of these events.”
Finding Bascome an opponent has been a fraught, lengthy process for the BBF, which was twice thwarted in its matchmaking attempts.
“They thought they had secured a fight with a Jamaican opponent, who subsequently withdrew, before his replacement, another Jamaican, fell foul of visa issues. Eventually they reached out to Miura Boxing, a Mexican-based company, who represent super lightweight David Rangel, one of Bascome's previous opponents.
Martínez, two years younger than 27-year-old Bascome, has fought only twice outside of Mexico and lost on both of those occasions on Canadian soil.
“We've had a hard time securing an opponent for November,” Dill said. “Things were sorted and settled until mid-September when we got notice from the Jamaican opponent that he wouldn't be able to make it.
“We got a replacement from Jamaica, a better fighter than the original guy. We needed him to submit his visa — his passport, his paperwork — as soon as possible.
“The first week of October came and went and they still didn't have the visa confirmed, so we said, ‘OK, this is a problem now'. We really did want to secure a Jamaican opponent.
“We then spoke to our contact in Mexico and had to start the whole process of negotiating with Nikki's team. We had to get the fight approved by the IBA; that's a process in itself. It's been a hectic past week for us.”
Bascome is preparing for the ninth bout of his career at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, where he has spent several months training this year.
Tickets are available at Menco, Gorhams, Sports R Us, Audiovisual Somerset, Hunts Food and Supplies and www.ptix.bm. Limited VIP tickets are $175 and general admission $85.