Nikki Bascome admits he required a “wake-up call” before seizing the upper hand in his unanimous points victory over Filipino Alvin Lagumbay at the Victualling Yard in Dockyard on Saturday night.
He improved his professional record to nine wins from ten bouts in front of a lively crowd in the night’s main event, which was billed as a battle between Bermuda and the Philippines.
The 28-year-old made a sluggish start to the eight-round contest, his first at super-lightweight, but grew into the fight and began taking control during the middle rounds, finishing the better of the two pugilists.
Bascome has a tendency to take a while before finding his flow, but believed he had the victory sewn up as he approached the final straight, opening up a cut above his opponent’s left eye.
“In the eighth round I was starting to find my rhythm,” said Bascome, whose right eye started swelling as early as the third round. “I’m like a 12-round fighter; I get better as the fight goes on. My timing gets better and I start to make adjustments.
“I felt I had the fight won after the fourth. I started feeling like I was outboxing him, countering and moving. Here and there he was catching me, but I was landing some sharp jabs and moving on the angles.
“I started catching him with some good right hands and I saw the cut. I definitely thought, ‘Yeah, I got this’ I showed my will to win.
“Sometimes I just need to wake up before things start clicking. There’s always room for improvement. I think that comes down to my style; I’m a patient fighter. It comes with the territory. It’s something I need to work on.”
Bascome soon made the necessary adjustments against Lagumbay, a tricky southpaw, who has won ten of his 16 bouts, and landed punches on the Bermudian repeatedly, particularly in the early rounds.
“We worked on training for his backhand all camp, but once you’re in the ring with [southpaws], it’s kind of hard to time,” said Bascome, who sparred extensively during his training camp with left-handers Andre Lambe and Tyler Christopher at Forty Rego’s Gym in Warwick.
“[The backhand punch] comes from different angles and it’s kind of looping. You can’t really see it out of the southpaw stance. Once I started making adjustments and countering, I was able to time it better. It took me a little while to get used to it.”
Although Bascome eventually started controlling the pace of the bout with his superior jab, he struggled at close quarters and admits that is an area he must improve.
“You definitely can’t disregard the jab at any time of the fight,” he said. “It’s the most important punch in boxing and something I try to master in every fight, every training camp.
“I was always taught that if anything goes wrong, you get back to the jab. With [Lagumbay] pawing [with his jab], it’s difficult and you have to punch over it.”
On his struggles fighting on the inside, Bascome added: “Sometimes when you don’t work on it in the gym, you can’t do it in the fight. You try to stick what you were doing in gym. It’s something I’ll have to work on in the future. I need to work on my inside and wearing guys down. I can do it, but I’ll have to train for it.”
Bascome said he has no plans to return to the ring this year but said he felt strong in his first outing at super-lightweight and believes his future lies at 140 pounds.
“It’s always new territory and I do feel strong at the weight,” he added. “I felt strong in the eighth round. I didn’t feel like I was carrying any extra weight or that somebody was overpowering me. I’m always fighting bigger guys and I think I’ll be back at 140.
“My confidence is coming back. I can’t call what’s going to happen in future. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be back. Right now, I want to heal up and spend some time with my girl, daughter and stepson.
“I just want to relax and recover. I’ve been training since Christmas because I thought I was going to be fighting in May. I need some time off and then I’ll find out what’s next.”