Nikki Bascome has vowed to silence trash-talking Fabio Costa where it matters the most — in the ring.
The pair came face-to-face for the first time last night at a fiery weigh-in at the Fairmont Southampton, with Costa turning up the verbal heat on the Bermudian.
Bascome reacted to Costa’s jaw-jacking with some strong words of his own during the traditional face-off before warning his Portuguese opponent that “I ain’t no pushover”.
The antagonism between the boxers was intensified when Costa’s camp requested for Bascome’s gloves to be changed, a demand that was flatly refused by the Bermudian’s handlers.
Oscar Lightbourne, Bermuda’s boxing commissioner, said the matter would be resolved by fight night.
Both welterweights will put their undefeated records on the line tonight and Bascome aims to do his talking in the ring.
“He can trash talk all he wants,” Bascome told The Royal Gazette. “To me, though, he isn’t ready and if he thinks I’m going to be some pushover, he’s got another thing coming. I’m ready and all that other stuff doesn’t mean anything.”
Pitting Bascome against a cocksure opponent with support from a portion of the island’s Portuguese community has helped to capture the imagination of the Bermuda public.
Such is the level of interest, the sold-out event will be streamed live on the internet via pay-per-view, with Bascome acknowledging the occasion will be the biggest of his career.
“It’s taken things to a different level, but I’m not getting caught up in the hype,” said Bascome, who is undefeated in seven bouts. “I’ll just stick to my game plan, execute it, and get the victory.”
While Bascome will arguably be the toughest test of Costa’s career, the same cannot be said for the Bermudian, who has shared the ring with more experienced operators.
However, he insists he is not taking Costa lightly and promised to put on a show for the packed house.
“I’m not underestimating him; I’ve never underestimated anybody — not even the guys I’ve beaten easily,” Bascome, 27, said. “I’ve taken a little break, I’m fresh, and I’m looking to finish the year strongly. I always look to put on a show and you’re going to see Nikki at his best.”
Costa, who came in 2.75 pounds heavier than Bascome, said he has not travelled all of the way to Bermuda to taste defeat.
“Nikki can say whatever he wants,” said the 25-year-old, speaking through an interpreter. “I’ve travelled very far to be here and I’ve won all of my previous fights. I intend to represent Portugal with another victory.”
In keeping with the night’s “Bermuda v Portugal” theme, the undercard features several local amateurs against boxers from the Don Kinguell Academy in Oporto.
Andre Lambe has been matched with Jorge Guedes, Tyler Christopher faces Jose Sousa, Robert Somner meets João Azevedo, and Jaylon Roberts takes on Nuno Santos.