Nikita Ababiy fights under the bright lights of the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Saturday night, live on DAZN in the US, Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and distributed globally on FITE – but in the latest episode of ‘Born Fighter’, the rising star emotionally opened up on his humble beginnings.
Ababiy (7-0 6 KOs) has dazzled since his debut in Chicago last October, stopping all but one of his opponents so far and winning five of those fights in the opening round. The larger-than-life New Yorker has danced in the ring after his wins and like the main eventers on Saturday night – KSI and Logan Paul – loves to reveal his playful side on his YouTube channel; but there’s much more to the 21 year old than flossing and fighting.
Ababiy is the latest Matchroom Boxing USA talent to sit down with Lauren Gardner for the YouTube series ‘Born Fighter’ and ‘White Chocolate’ became emotional when talking about his humble beginnings and how his drive to succeed in the ring is based on helping his family.
“I hadn’t previously told anyone this but until I was 20, I was sleeping in a bunk bed, I didn’t have my own room until 20,” said Ababiy. “No-one has seen that. When I turned pro I moved my family out and we got a new place, and that’s my switch to perform in the ring because I know my opponent is trying to take everything away from me, so I have to prevent that as I have a bunch of people depending on me.
“Everyone fights their own demons. I remember all my friends talking about ‘man caves’ and their gaming set up and I never had that, we didn’t have the space, but now I am almost 21 and it’s getting better and better from here.
“Now we’ve moved to a bigger place it feels weird as we’re far apart now, I remember in the old place we were always together as it was small, so you would come home and we’d be together and wake up and we’d be together, and I miss that. Because of training camps I’m always in my room resting and mt Dad is in the living room waiting for someone to come in.
“My family is so supportive of me. People look at my Instagram and think ‘this kid has everything’ and that’s not true. Everything on Instagram is the best side of me, but they don’t see behind that.
“My parents have always been there for me and given me everything, I’m so grateful to them. They’re my best friends with my sister.
“Looking back at my childhood, I loved it. My Mom always complains to my Dad that ‘all he ever did as a kid was train, train and train’ but looking back I only remember the best moments, it was always fun and I don’t regret any of it. Fight for your dreams.
“It’s very different now and I am doing it for them. I don’t care about the fame or any of that bullshit, I am doing it for my family and my future family.”
Ababiy takes his spot on a packed card in Los Angeles, topped by the rematch between YouTube sensations KSI and Logan Paul.
Two World champions defend their titles as Devin Haney (23-0 15 KOs) puts his WBC Lightweight strap on the line for the first time against Alfredo Santiago (12-0 4 KOs) and Billy Joe Saunders (28-0 13 KOs) makes his American debut and defends his WBO World Super-Middleweight title against unbeaten Argentine Marcelo Coceres (28-0-1 15 KOs), and he is joined on the card by a quartet of Eddie Hearn’s talented rising US stars in Nikita Ababiy (7-0 6 KOs), Diego Pacheco (6-0 5 KOs), Reshat Mati (4-0 2 KOs) and Alexis Espino (4-0 3 KOs).
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