August 27, 2021 5.26 pm This story is over 27 months old

Lincoln bare knuckle boxer in his best shape ahead of title fight

‘The Nightmare’ has turned his life around

Lincoln bare knuckle boxer Nathan ‘The Nightmare’ Decastro recovered from the darkest place in his life to be in his best ever shape ahead of the British title fight against Paul Hilz next month.

Nathan is now back in the ring and preparing for his second ever bare knuckle boxing fight. This comes after Lincoln’s first world champion boxer’s career of 100 amateur fights, as well as 16 undefeated professional bouts, and WBU and WBF world titles.

His boxing career and life came crashing down in February last year when he lost his license. He was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare condition that results in difficulty seeing at night and the loss of peripheral vision, and was caught out cheating on eye tests, forcing him to retire.

The 30-year-old was given an out of the blue opportunity for his first bare knuckle fight against Romania’s Conan Barbaru. He won the fight at Bolton Wanderer’s football stadium on March 27 this year and can’t wait to get back into the ring to face Paul Hilz at the O2 Arena in London on September 11.

Nathan feels in the best shape of his life ahead of his British title fight on September 11, 2021. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Nathan said after his fight with Conan Barbaru (left) he was physically a mess (right), but felt buzzing to be back in the ring. | Photo: Brooklyn Freeman

Nathan told The Lincolnite: “I felt like life was over (last year) and that I was finished. I was in a bad place and suicidal. It wasn’t just my job, it was my career and then suddenly I was told I couldn’t fight again.

“I got offered a bare knuckle boxing fight out of the blue. I took the opportunity as I wanted to do something as boxing had always been my life.

“I trained hard and went in off the cuff and was physically a mess after the fight, but I felt like I was living the life I wanted again and started training full-time.

“BKB (bare knuckle boxing) is the biggest growing combat sport on the planet. It hurts more, but I have the same buzz and have to be more clever on my feet.

“I am now feeling good and strong. I’ve had the best training camp I’ve had in a long time and have a good team around me. A few hundred fans are coming to Lincoln to support me.

“I just want to thank all the public for their incredible support throughout my dark and good times. They’ve helped my comeback from depression and I’ll forever be grateful.

“I want to thank all my fans who are making the trip down to London and my team and sponsors – Craig Barton (nutritional and well-being), Sam Vickers (strength & conditioning coach), Healthy Foodhouse, my dad, Gaughan Electrical Services Ltd, Garden Gains Ltd, and JS Tailoring.”

Nathan is training hard ahead of his title fight. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Nathan is confident he can defeat Paul Hilz at the O2 Arena in London. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Nathan’s bout with Paul Hilz will be the co-main fight behind Gainsborough’s Ricardo Franco, whose fight against Jimmy Sweeney is top of the bill.

Tickets for the fight are still available online here with the code Ndecastro or by calling Daniel Roberts on 07742 490839. Tickets are priced £50 for the fight and £20 for anyone wanting to go on the supporters’ coaches.

On Bracebridge Boxing Club and the owner Denny Oliver, Nathan added: “This place kept me on the straight and narrow and also out of prison when times got difficult.

“Denny has been a father figure to me and several others, and has made professional champions ever since.”

Nathan (right) sparring with his dad and head coach Frank (left). | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

His dad, and head coach, Frank Decastro will be in his corner for his fight and said: “For what he’s achieved in boxing I take my hat off to him. He’s lived his dream from a kid and proved if you want something you can do it and I’m very proud of him. It is a father’s dream as I love the sport and have seen him reach his dream.

“Denny has done so much for Nathan and for Lincolnshire, teaching people fighting, honesty, confidence and integrity. There is so much respect for him from me, Nathan and others in the city.”

Nathan is buzzing to get back in the ring again. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Nathan (right) with Denny Oliver (left), who is the owner of Bracebridge Boxing Club. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Nathan, who took over his dad’s firm Tudor Building & Roofing Services Limited two years ago, has trained at Bracebridge Boxing Club since he was eight-years-old.

Denny Oliver, who opened the club in 1976 has seen him grow into the fighter he is today.

Denny said: “He’s got Bracebridge all the way through his body and is one of our finest ever fighters and ambassadors, I can’t fault the kid.

“I am apprehensive (about the fight), but I know he will do his best and I am always confident he’ll do well.”

Nathan (left) has been coaching the next generation of fighters including 13-year-old Hayden. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

After retiring from boxing, Nathan also took up coaching to train the next generation of young fighters including Travis Dunwell and a 13-year-old called Hayden.

He is focusing on his upcoming fights and told The Lincolnite that 2022 will be his final and 20th year in the ring. Before then though he dreams of having a bare knuckle boxing fight at Lincoln’s LNER Stadium.

Inside Bracebridge Boxing Club. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Nathan dreams of having a fight at Lincoln City’s LNER Stadium before the end of his career. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Nathan has been training at Bracebridge Boxing Club since he was eight-years-old. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Nathan has one final message ahead of his fight and said: “A disability doesn’t mean you have an inability to achieve your dreams, my story proves that.”