‘My Only Solution Was To Fight’ – How Kickboxing Phenom Alexis Nicolas Escaped The Wounds Of His Abusive Father

Alexis Nicolas Magomed Magomedov ONE Friday Fights 47 39

Alexis “Barboza” Nicolas is driven to turn the pain from his difficult childhood into great success on a global scale.

On April 5, in the main event of ONE Fight Night 21 on Prime Video, the undefeated Frenchman will challenge dominant two-sport king Regian “The Immortal” Eersel for the ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title in what is undeniably the biggest fight of his life.

Set to go down live in U.S. primetime from Bangkok’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, that much-anticipated World Title clash will mark the pinnacle of Nicolas’ impressive 23-fight professional career.

But while his shot at gold represents a massive opportunity from a professional standpoint, simply making it out of poverty has been an achievement in and of itself.

The 25-year-old Parisian opened up to onefc.com about the difficulties of growing up in a fatherless household in one of the city’s roughest neighborhoods:

“I was the man of the house. My father was abusive, so we had to run away. What I wanted to prove to my siblings is that you can be a strong guy and be kind at the same time – and not be abusive. I had to be the guy, be the man of the house.”

Raised by a single mother who often struggled to make ends meet, Nicolas had plenty to be angry about as a child. Sometimes, that anger would erupt in violent rages.

At the urging of his peers, he dipped his toes into the world of martial arts – and quickly found his calling:

“At the beginning, I was not a sporty kind of guy. Very reserved and super timid, but I had a lot of rage in me.

“My friends actually told me to have an outlet for my violence and proposed I go to a boxing gym next to my house. I was 14 years old, and that’s how I started.”

Over the next decade, Nicolas would go on to dominate the European kickboxing scene and establish himself as one of the sport’s most talented rising stars.

That earned him a call-up to the world’s largest martial arts organization, and now, a shot at 26 pounds of ONE Championship gold.

It’s a chance to earn international fame and acclaim, which is a far cry from his early roots in combat sports when he simply hoped to escape from a dead-end situation:

“The neighborhood was kind of violent, so my only solution was to fight, basically, in order to get out of my situation, and also to get away from the vices of my neighborhood.”

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Nicolas Ready For Eersel: ‘What Gives Me Confidence Is My Story’

Alexis Nicolas still carries the hurt from his abusive father.

And when he squares off with longtime divisional king Regian Eersel at ONE Fight Night 21, he’ll be channeling that pain into his performance.

As “Barboza” explains, it’s his unlikely journey from rags to riches that continues to motivate him today:

“What gives me confidence is my story. It’s what I’ve lived through and also the work that I’ve put into it. It’s my whole history and how I got to where I am today. It’s my work ethic. And I’ve got nothing to lose.

“Everybody is saying it’s too soon to be in the ring with a guy like Eersel, but I’ve been working all my life for fights like this.”

Given his background, it’s no surprise that Nicolas carries a chip on his shoulder. He truly believes that – win or lose on April 5 – he will eventually cement himself as the planet’s top lightweight kickboxer.

The upcoming World Title challenger added:

“Nobody has given me any chance in this. I started from scratch, from nothing. I’m really happy about this opportunity with ONE.

“Even if I don’t win this, signing a contract with ONE, I will have other opportunities to prove that I’m the best. I’m really proud of the fact that I can actually bring something more – coming from nothing – I will bring more back to France, the title and prestige.”

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