Yves Ngabu defends European cruiserweight belt Saturday against Micki Nielsen
Big-punching cruiserweight Yves Ngabu will defend his European title for the second time when he faces Micki Nielsen at the Sporthal Schiervelde, Roeselare, Belgium on Saturday.
Ngabu (19-0, 14 knockouts) won the vacant strap stopping Tamas Lodi in four rounds in June 2017, and made his first defense last January against Geoffrey Battelo, blitzing his countryman in three rounds.
However the 30-year-old then had to sit on the sidelines for the rest of the year for several reasons.
“I was scheduled to fight my mandatories but then fights were cancelled several times and we had to go through the whole process again,” Ngabu told The Ring from his training base in Sheffield, England where he’s training with Dominic Ingle. “Once Nielsen was appointed as challenger, my management did everything to get the fight to Belgium. And here we are. It’s fight week.”
The once-beaten challenger figures to be a stern test for the Belgium born champion of Congolese decent, in an evenly poised contest.
“It’s a good fight, Micki Nielsen is a good fighter with a lot of experience,” acknowledged Ngabu. “I know he will be ready on fight night so we have prepared ourselves for everything.
“[Nielsen’s] a good, solid fighter, with a long reach who likes to put pressure on as well. He also has some power I believe. I believe that he can not handle pressure very well.”
Nielsen (25-1, 15 KOs) turned professional in September 2011, the Danish boxer won his first 22 outings before losing to Kevin Lerena in South Africa by 10-round majority decision. Since then the 25-year-old southpaw has won three fights but like Ngabu hasn’t fought since January 2018.
Belgium isn’t known as a boxing hotbed, in fact it has never produced a male world champion.
“Belgium is known for soccer and cycling and that is why we as boxers need to work very hard to get the same kind of attention,” Ngabu said. “I am blessed to have a very good team around me. Because of them I can focus on what I do best, boxing.
“In Belgium we have some good talent, even in my weight division. I hope one day that boxing in Belgium gets the same recognition and attention as other sports.”
The event is a joint promotion between Ian Redan and his partner Gokhan Yildizli of Boxing Fight Night and Ngabu’s management outfit Yves Management Company.
BFN were founded in 2010 with a kick-boxing event and first hosted boxing in 2012 when Delfine Persoon won the IBF female lightweight title. Redan hopes to one day have a male world champion.
“We strongly believe that Yves is world-class fighter and therefore believe that he is not far away from a world title fight,” said Redan. “In order to reach that next step, we need to win this fight.”
Beating Nielsen is also imperative to Ngabu’s future plans.
“We take each fight at a time and my focus is on this fight only,” he said. “Of course my ambitions are to become a world champion.
“I would like to fight the No. 1 in the U.K. [Lawrence] Okolie. But l have a good team we have to watch what the best is for me. But I am not overlooking Nielsen and all my focus is on this fight now.”
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