I was fortunate enough to be able to watch world-ranked super featherweight contender Abraham Nova (23-1, 16 KOs) train earlier this week, and once he finished his workout I asked him a few questions related to the recent news that he would be challenging O’Shaquie Foster (21-2, 12 KOs) for his WBC title February 16th at the Madison Square Garden Theater.
I first asked him how he initially heard he was getting his first crack at a world title.
“One of my promoters from Murphy’s Boxing texted me and told me that I would be fighting for the world title February 16th,” the 29 year old said. “I was super pumped, super excited, I was like it’s about time.”
I then asked a follow-up, asking what it was like to “get the call” and realize your dream of fighting for a world title was finally coming to fruition.
“It felt good,” Nova responded. “Like one of the biggest dreams since I was a kid to get that call, that text. It was a great feeling, but like I said it’s been a little bit long overdue. I was excited, but now it’s time to go get it.”
Nova is getting an opportunity that many are not afforded as a title challenger, and that is a fight close to home.
The Albany, New York native (born in Puerto Rico) who now trains predominantly in New England spoke on what it is like to have your first world title opportunity be so close to home when other fighters have to go across the country sometimes and even overseas to fight for a belt.
“It’s great. I feel like it’s all been prepared well and it works well. To know that I’ll be fighting not just hours away from home but also close to the New England area, it’s a blessing.”
Nova has been in the running for a world title shot for a few years now.
After a brief stint at featherweight (126lbs) before moving back up to the super featherweight (130lbs) division at the beginning of this year, he made it clear that it was the perfect time for him to capitalize on an opportunity like this.
“I think it’s the perfect time. I’ve had some little hiccups throughout my career, I have matured and I have learned a lot so I feel like it’s definitely the perfect time for me mentally and especially physically. I can’t ask for a better time for a world title.”
To wrap up the interview, Nova had a final message to both his supporters and the naysayers.
“Thanks to everyone that’s been supporting me and everyone who hasn’t been supporting me, who don’t believe in me, and who does believe in me. It’s all juice and motivation for my career and you guys are gonna see a new, developed, WBC world champion come February 16th”.
I happen to agree with Abraham that the time is right for him to challenge for a world title.
After defeating Avery Sparrow (10-1 at the time) by unanimous decision in June of 2020, he elected to move down in weight to chase a potential Mexico vs Puerto Rico showdown with then WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs).
A torn Achilles sidelined him for over a year, but he came back with two victories before taking on a fight with major title implications.
He squared off with two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Robeisy Ramirez (9-1 at the time) in May of last year in a fight where the winner would assert themself at the front of the line for the next title shot.
Nova wound up losing the fight via a fifth-round knockout, and would return to the 130lb division the following year.
Though Nova was the ultimate professional and made the weight without any excuses, the cut down to 126lbs clearly affected him and it was evident when he returned to the super featherweight division a much stronger fighter.
He bounced back with two impressive victories this year.
In January he defeated the always-game Adam Lopez (16-3 at the time) by unanimous decision in a fight of the year contender that saw him score knockdowns in both the fifth and sixth rounds.
He then fought in July against former Olympian and IBF titleholder Jonathan “Momo” Romero (35-1 at the time), notching an explosive third-round knockout over the former champion and he once again set his sights on a coveted world title.
Nova initially was hoping to fight the winner of the August all-Mexican showdown between Emanuel Navarrete and Oscar Valdez (31-2, 23 KOs), and stayed ready even when he found out that was not going to be the case.
When O'Shaquie Foster signed with Top Rank last month, he mentioned Nova along with Navarrete and Valdez as the three guys he was hoping he could share the ring with in 2024.
Nova stayed in the gym waiting for his name to be called and jumped on the opportunity as soon as it was presented to him.
Abraham is eager to show out come February 16th and is confident that we will hear Top Rank ring announcer Mark Shunock use the phrase “and the new” come fight night.