ISLE of Wight-born soldier Chez Nihell made local boxing history by winning his pro debut at a packed O2 arena in London last night (Saturday).

The 31-year-old, who currently serves with 27 Regiment, the Royal Logistics Corps, defeated Wiltshire's Kent Kauppinen on points 39-37 in the cruiserweight division.

The fight was undercarded on the James DeGale versus Chris Eubank Jnr bill.

Chez, of Shorwell, decided to turn pro last month following his glittering amateur boxing career — a six-time UK Combined Services champion and England’s reigning ABA elite super heavyweight champion.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Chez Nihell after his points victory aty the O2 on his pro debut.  Photo: Team Nihell 

The 2018 Army Sportsman of the Year, who learned to box at the Newport Phoenix Boxing Club, had his wife Alanna — a decoarated GB amateur boxer herself — in the Team Nihell corner.

After the fight, Chez told the County Press: "What a night! What an experience for my debut. It was unreal.

"My opponent was dangerous, which we knew. He had two KO wins on his record against debutants and lots of KO wins on his mixed martial arts record.

"My coach took the first opponent that came up because he is confident in me.

"We didn't want a pushover opponent like some people have had for their debuts.

"The pressure for the fight was different with all the press attention and the venue was far bigger than what I'm used to, but I stayed focused and kept it together.

"Mine was a floating fight, which meant if there's any knock-outs I could come on early. There was no set time for my fight, so I was ready from 6pm, waiting all night with no fixed time to box.

"I warmed up and cooled down three times before we actually boxed. Therev were false alarms, where I was told to get ready, then told again the fight was not on yet., which was was quite stressful, but I dealt with it well and stayed composed.

"As far as fight itself was concerned, I came out to box sensibly and stuck to my boxing, which I did the first three rounds — popping and moving behind my jab, then throwing to the body at times and switching stance. Taking no risks.

"The first three rounds was like that and I felt comfortable. I knew I'd won the first three rounds.

"In the last round, Kauppinen came out flying — giving it everything — throwing bomb after bomb.

"I kept my head and counter-punched where I could, but he was relentless. I kept thinking he will run out of gas in a minute, but he kept coming right to the end.

"I was slipping and sliding and doing whatever I could to keep out the way of his wild swings.

"I enjoyed it. The last round I remember thinking, 'welcome to the pros'. 

"I knew I had won. As I thought, my corner of coach John Edwards and my wife Alanna, called out that I'd won first three rounds and the last one — and that's what the judges scorecard eventually read.

"Plenty to take away and learn from. Absolutely buzzing I got the win.

"Over 130 people brought tickets from my team and travelled up from the Island, from Spain and all over the UK. The support from my family, friends and the army was amazing and the support online was unreal. It made the night.

"I loved it. I'm going to have two days off training, take Alanna out for a late Valentine's dinner, because ours was spent in the gym, then back in training Tuesday and hopefully getting the next fight date soon."