Can Worksop’s ‘Hurricane’ Hopewell roar to a world title this year?
After just three fights as a full professional, Worksop's Nicola 'Hurricane' Hopewell is hoping to finish 2021 as a European and possibly a world champion.
Hopewell, 29, has been boxing for almost seven years but, after achieving almost everything in the amateur world, she elected to turn pro and has been a sensation so far with three stoppages in three fights and a promised tilt at a European title in Brighton this September.
“I have a fight on 31st July with a girl from Spain but on the 4th September my first main target is to win the WBL European super flyweight title,” she said.
“I have another fight in October and, fingers crossed if all goes well, I will be able to box for the interim WIBA world title in December.”
She added: “I have won all three pro fights by stoppage which was a bit of a shock to me.
“I beat a girl from Ghana on my pro debut in March 2020 with a KO in the second round to become the PBC Super flyweight International Silver Championship Title Belt holder.
“I didn't expect to start my pro career so well. I have always been known in the amateurs for throwing fast flurries in phases but I was never known for my power.
“It just showed how much work I have done on my strength.”
She continued: “I have been lucky enough to be on the England Talent Pathway for 12 months where I travel around the country training with the England coaches.
“I have sparred with the Italian Boxing team, pro boxers Nicola Adams, Terri Harper and Nina Bradley as well as Commonwealth gold medalist Lisa Whiteside and GB boxer Tori Ellis Willets.”
Hopewell's interest in boxing blossomed in her early 20s with GB Olympics star Adams a huge inspiration.
“Between five and 16 I used to do Latin ballroom dancing. It wasn't until I was 22 that I started boxing just to get fit with Box-ercise,” she said.
“But I liked watching Nicola Adams win gold at the Olympics which triggered it more.
“I started doing the academy classes at Boyle's Pro Boxing in Worksop which taught me my skills and I began sparring.
“Six months later I was on the club's home show and I won that fight with a third round stoppage.”
She added: “I had 32 amateur fights and I boxed all the best people, including GB squad members.
“But then I found I was boxing the same people over and over again as the pool was not massive.
“By 2019 we already had one lad from the gym turn pro – he was the first – and my coach Chris Boyle suggested to me I could go pro. I didn't take much persuading.
“There wasn't much left for me to win in the amateurs anyway apart from the nationals, where I always came up against a GB girl.”
Hopewell said women's boxing was now definitely on the rise.
“It has grown quite a lot with more woman boxing now than when I started out and so many of them turning professional,” she added. “It has really taken off in many countries.”
Hopewell also made history in April when she was part of Europe's first all-female boxing bill in Aberdeen.
“That was really good for boxing and with the amount of people who watched it on the TV, we got so much positive feedback,” she said.
“I headlined that as well and it was a really good feeling.”
Boxing demands huge dedication fitness-wise and Nicola has an hour's run before work every morning followed by two hours at the gym after work – six days a week.
“My work colleagues are very supportive, If we have any problems they always say Nicola will sort it – but I don't,” she smiled.
“I work for Wilkos in their head office at Worksop as a space planning assistant manager.
“When I have a fight coming up I usually book a few days off beforehand and they always wish me well.”
Hopewell is hoping to attract some extra sponsorship for her world title bid with big costs involved and has organised some attractive three-fight packages for anyone willing to get on board.
“I had quite a few sponsors but due to the effect Covid had on their businesses I have unfortunately lost half of them,” she said.
Anyone interested in sponsorship should contact Emma Coulson via [email protected] or 07852 445080.
You can also contact Hopewell via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @boxerhopewell.