Tokyo Olympic Games feel like Australian boxing hopeful Skye Nicolson's destiny

Queensland product Skye Nicolson booked her ticket to Tokyo and turned heads along the way. Picture: Karleen Minney
Queensland product Skye Nicolson booked her ticket to Tokyo and turned heads along the way. Picture: Karleen Minney

Skye Nicolson takes only the smallest of spaces as she sits on a ring apron deep inside the AIS combat centre.

But listen to her talk about destiny and one is almost certainly convinced she will command the attention of the boxing world when she steps inside a ring at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Not that it would be anything new for the 24-year-old featherweight who has already drawn high praise from Claressa Shields - perhaps the greatest female boxer of all time, no less.

Because Nicolson is convinced this is her destiny. This is what she was born to do, just like it was for the brother she never met.

But the four-year cycle which feels as though it has dragged on for an eternity is about to become five after the Games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic - rightfully so in Nicolson's mind.

She is one of four Australian boxers who booked their ticket to Tokyo at the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifying event in Jordan. She joins super heavyweight Justis Huni, light heavyweight Paulo Aokuso and women's middleweight Caitlin Parker.

Nicolson feels as though she has been on a roller coaster of emotion since qualifying - but she at least knows her place is secure, whenever the Games go ahead.

And when they do, "I will be ready ... podium ready."

Skye Nicolson won gold at the Commonwealth Games and is now eyeing Olympic gold. Picture: Karleen Minney

Skye Nicolson won gold at the Commonwealth Games and is now eyeing Olympic gold. Picture: Karleen Minney

"I've been doing this for more than half of my life now, it's like breathing for me, boxing," Nicolson said.

"As nervous as I get, I feel like I'm really living my destiny right now doing this stuff. I'm exactly where I need to be, so it's a really exciting feeling.

"I feel like I've felt like an Olympian for a long time. To actually be this close to being one now is a pretty cool feeling. I couldn't imagine not going to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

"That's how sure I am, that's how strong my vision for this is. It's already happened in my mind, now I've just got to make it happen."

So a day in the life of someone chasing down a dream looks a little like this.

The alarm rings out at 6am. Nicolson sips her morning coffee before pulling on a Boxing Australia hoodie and making her way outside for a conditioning session.

Every second day consists of shuttle sprints out on the track - "pretty brutal and nasty sessions" if Nicolson is being honest.

Skye Nicolson wants to back up her Commonwealth Games gold. Picture: Karleen Minney

Skye Nicolson wants to back up her Commonwealth Games gold. Picture: Karleen Minney

Then comes breakfast and a raft of appointments. It could be a massage or a catch up with a physiotherapist, a sports psychologist, athlete wellbeing officer.

Soon after Nicolson is in the gym for a strength and conditioning session - it's either weightlifting or a circuit. Whichever one she doesn't do? That comes after lunch.

Finally comes her favourite session of the day. Long before dipping into the hot and cold plunge pools in the recovery centre, you can find Nicolson in the ring.

You can find her honing the counter punch so many liken to that of her brother Jamie Nicolson, the former Australian representative who died in a car accident the year before Skye was born.

You can find her in a southpaw stance mirroring that of the man holding pads - former world title challenger Jamie Pittman.

Skye Nicolson is one of boxing's brightest young stars. Picture: Karleen Minney

Skye Nicolson is one of boxing's brightest young stars. Picture: Karleen Minney

"They're very specific sessions which I've been doing with Jamie Pittman while I've been here," Nicolson said.

"It's been amazing having a southpaw Olympian role model running my sessions, teaching me tactics and technical stuff like that. It's been a really positive camp.

"It's been a really good, consistent, supportive environment to be training in. It's been a long four-year cycle since the last qualifiers, so I'm just making sure I leave no stone unturned at this point.

"I really love the team dynamics. We've got a really good, young group with a lot of new talent coming through. There's a massive future for the team."

This story 'Living my destiny': Nicolson eyes gold first appeared on The Canberra Times.