As I continue to virtually navigate throughout the country to get to know some of these rising boxing prospects and their stories, couldn’t help but to make a stop in Norfolk, Virginia, which is the home of the late Hall of Famer Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker.
There in Norfolk resides a young man by the name of Nicholas “Slick Nick” Sullivan (2-0), who is currently signed to Golden Boy Promotions and looking to gain the attention of the boxing world.
Recently, President of Golden Boy Promotions Eric Gomez had this to say about the young fighter exclusively to NY Fights. “Nicholas Sullivan is a very talented young fighter with a lot of promise,” Gomez said. “He’d won many national titles as an amateur, so that’s one of the reasons we signed him. He’s also managed by Malik Chambers, who is a close friend of ours for many years, who has brought us a lot of good talent. He only has two pro fights right now, but I’d keep an eye on Sullivan as he develops because he’ll be making a lot of noise down the line.”
It’s not very often that you get the top brass to speak highly of you this early in your career, so let’s get into this interview and what Nicholas “Slick Nick” Sullivan (below) is all about.
AG: Nick, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Let’s start from the beginning and let the readers know what it was like growing up in Portsmouth, Virginia.
NS: As a child, I was brought up well with both of my parents. They had me very active as I played in every sport. My parents kept me active because in the streets, it was very easy to get caught up. Anytime I did something wrong, it was completely on me because they showed me what was right and wrong. I grew up with one brother and three sisters; one of the sisters being my twin and we were born 13 minutes apart. We are so close now but growing up, I was selfish and didn’t like the idea of having to share a birthday with her. Since we are so close, I know her and she knows me which is wild and crazy. If I were to put on a wig, I would look exactly like her! My brother was born with cancer and is in a wheelchair. (See below, off Sullivan's IG)
He is one of my biggest supporters and I can be the worst person in the world but in his eyes, I am the greatest. He is my biggest motivation and the way he smiles, you would think every day is so perfect for him.
AG: At what point did you pick up the gloves and start boxing?
NS: I walked into the gym when I was seven but had to wait until I was eight years old in order to compete. It all started when boxing coach Gloria Peek (the first female Olympic boxing coach) was in my mother’s hair salon and in the back, I was having a fight. I had a little bit of an attitude problem, which is another reason why my mom kept me so active. So Gloria told my mom this was the reason I needed to be in the gym so after their conversation, I went to the gym and went from there. I was playing other sports but when I won my first belt around twelve or thirteen, that’s when I started to take boxing seriously.
AG: Who are some of the boxers that you look up to and have influenced how you approach the sport?
NS: Watching Pernell Whitaker (born and raised in Norfolk, VA) and Floyd Mayweather Jr., putting those two together, I was like, ‘I can do that and I can do it better.’ I have other fighters I like but those two are my idols.
AG: What was your amateur record and can you let the readers know some of your major accomplishments during that time?
NS: My amateur record was 112-14 and some of my major accomplishments were being three time Golden Gloves champion for the state and region, silver medal at the Nationals, junior world tournament champion and Silver Gloves.
AG: Your debut as a pro was at The Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino, which hosts fights for some of the more hardcore boxing fans in Southern California. What were the emotions like leading up to the ring walk and once the bell rang for your pro debut?
NS: I am going to be completely honest with you, it was like another day at the office. I walked into the arena, moved around the ring to feel it out and it seemed like I was back at the gym. I go back to the locker room, start to get my hands wrapped and that’s when I started to get nervous. I think it was the reality starting to settle and I was saying to myself you’re a professional athlete…this is the big stage. When I started the ring walk and made it inside the ring, I was completely nervous. After the first round was over, I told myself that this is what I was made to do and I’m supposed to be here.
AG: During your second fight, I was listening to Ring magazine editor in chief Douglas Fischer make a comment that you came in well underneath the lightweight limit and may even be able to squeeze down to junior lightweight. Have you and your team decided where you are going to campaign at for the foreseeable future?
NS: Me and my team have been in talks about going down to 130 since I have been coming in way under the 135 pound limit. We don’t want to make any promises because we want to make sure I am strong and not weak. If I can get down to 130 and stay strong, then that will be my new weight class. If not, we will stay at 135.
AG: Live boxing is making its return soon, what are your realistic goals when it comes to number of fights for the remainder of 2020?
NS: I didn’t allow this pandemic to get to me so I stayed in shape running 8-10 miles a day. I’m in shape and I can fight tomorrow if I wanted to. I’m looking at five or six fights before the end of the year, because I’m ready.
AG: Social media has become part of the process when trying to turn an athlete into a star. What are some things you have done to build up your profile and what other business ventures are you pursuing?
NS: One of the things I am doing is talking to these kids in school and keeping them motivated. In regards to business, I’m trying to get my clothing line out there. I just want to keep the public motivated and behind me because in this sport or any sport, you are nothing without your fans.
AG: As we wrap up this interview, what would you like to tell the boxing fans out there that now know who you are and are looking forward to your next fight? Also, where can they follow you on social media?
NS: Fans can always expect a great fight and a boxing clinic. If they like seeing the ducking and dodging and Pernell Whitaker/Floyd Mayweather type of fight, then they’ll always get that type of performance out of me. The best is yet to come. You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @___slicknick .
The sport of boxing is unique in that it’s hard to predict stardom in young fighters that are making their way up through the pro ranks. Nicholas “Slick Nick” Sullivan appears to have the tools, the amateur background, looks, confidence, and slickness in the ring, necessary to make a splash as he continues to build his boxing resume.
Will he become something special? Only time will tell but keep an eye out for him and see where he takes his career.
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