April 12, 2022 8.00 pm This story is over 25 months old

‘Fans made me feel like a champion’: Nathan Decastro determined in defeat

He will fight again after his first loss in 10 years

Lincoln bare knuckle boxer Nathan Decastro suffered the first defeat of his fighting career, but still feels “like a champion” because of all the love and supportive messages he received.

Nathan had a perfect record of sixteen wins and zero losses in professional boxing before making the switch to the bare knuckle variant of the sport last year.

After wins against Conan Barbaru and Paul Hilz led him to his first British title with Britain’s only bare knuckle promotion BKB.

Unfortunately he lost his welterweight title to BKB veteran James Connelly on points at London’s O2 Arena on April 10, but the love of his friends, family and fans has kept him going.

Nathan lost on points but kept fighting hard until the end of the bout. | Photo: Brooklyn Freeman

Every judge scored a hard five-round fight in favour of Birmingham’s Connelly who boxed his way into a points lead.

De Castro fought valiantly in the ring but a slow start, combined with a point being deduction, left him facing an uphill battle and with a perforated ear drum, a couple of black eyes, and the various scrapes and bruises.

The result means that in his boxing and bare knuckle boxing career De Castro has won a total of 18 of his 19 fights, and the recent defeat certainly won’t stop him from getting back into the ring again.

Nathan won’t let the first defeat of his career stop him from getting back into the ring. | Photo: Brooklyn Freeman

Reflecting on the fight against Connelly, Nathan told The Lincolnite: “When I walked out it was absolutely incredible and my fanbase went absolutely wild. It was an incredible feeling and one of the best feelings in my life.

“It was a great fight between two experienced fighters. The first round was close which I think I won narrowly.

“He won the next two rounds, then I had a point taken off which I don’t agree with and I feel the referee was hard on me. I am not 100% sure what the point was taken off for, but I think it for holding and hitting which I don’t think I was. I won the fifth round, but didn’t get going quick enough in the early rounds.

“A punch in the first round perforated my ear drum, which effected my balance and it played a part as I couldn’t respond quick enough.

“Connelly was a tough opponent and there is no question on the result, he deserved to win the fight and caught me with better punches. I am hoping to get a rematch against him in the future.”

The day after the fight Nathan said “I’m gracious in victory and I will be in defeat” after his first loss as a pro fighter in 10 years. He will now give himself a month off to focus on his building business before returning to training ahead of his next fight, which he hopes will be arranged for later int he year.

James Connelly (right) won the fight on points, but Lincoln’s Nathan Decastro (left) is determined to come back stronger. | Photo: Brooklyn Freeman

What kept Nathan going the most after the fight was the love and messages he received from others, calling him a ‘warrior’ and telling him how well he’d done.

Nathan, who turns 31 this weekend, told The Lincolnite: “The reaction has been incredible. My phone hasn’t stopped and I’ve had hundreds of messages from people around the world, including in Lincoln, and that means a lot to me.

“It’s brought me back down to earth. I couldn’t believe the love and support and how many people contacted me, I hadn’t experienced it like this before.

“After the fight it felt surreal and I was heartbroken and gutted. I tried to disappear out the backdoor, but lots of people were coming up to me and calling me a warrior. It was amazing having people still wanting to be part of it despite the result.

“It put a high on a low point in my career and I wanted to thank all my friends, family and fans for helping put things into perspective with their love.

“I want to say a massive thank you to Bracebridge Boxing Club and (owner) Denny Oliver for letting me train there for 20 years, and my dad (Frank) who has been my coach from day one. Even though I lost I feel like a champion because of all the love and supportive messages, which really has meant a lot to me.

“I also want to thank Craig Barton my nutrition and wellbeing coach, my strength and conditioning coach, my sponsors (FJ Crane Hire Ltd, Heart 2 Heart Staff Solutions Ltd, Sovereign CBD, Gaughan Electrical Services Ltd, Titan Lincoln, JS Tailoring, CLV Mortgages Lincoln Limited, and Pendersons), and of course my fans.

“It’s been a great career and I now need to rest and recover and decide what is next. I will have a month off to let my body recover and focus on my business
(Tudor Building & Roofing Services Limited), and then I’ll be back in the gym and training.”

Nathan felt heartbroken in defeat, but his fans helped him feel like a champion despite the result. | Photo: Brooklyn Freeman

When asked what his bare knuckle boxing future holds, he added: “I will take it one fight at a time but I will definitely fight again, either at the O2, or it could even be in Miami. I want to make the defeat right and focus on winning my next fight.”