Army boxer Chez Nihell to make pro debut at London's O2 Arena with wife in corner

Chez and Alanna Nihell
Chez Nihell will make his professional debut at London's O2 Arena with wife Alanna in his corner

Army boxer Lance Corporal Chez Nihell will make his professional debut at London's O2 Arena, where he will have wife Alanna in his corner.

Nihell, 31, will fight on the undercard of James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr's bout on Saturday, 23 February.

And the six-time Armed Forces winner and current England amateur superheavyweight champion says he wants his wife "to come on the journey" too.

"She's been a huge part of my boxing life," said Nihell.

"The day I had my interview for my professional boxing licence last year, Alanna had her interview for her pro coaching second licence.

"We are a team and have both 100% improved as boxers since we've been together. I wouldn't have embarked on this professional journey without her."

Nihell, the Army Sportsman of the Year, will compete at cruiserweight for his first professional bout.

"Being a husband and wife team will give him that extra bit of support that other boxers don't get," said Alanna.

"I see every day the hard work Chez puts in and the sacrifices he makes behind the scenes. I might be Chez's wife but I'm also his best friend. I understand what drives him."

Nihell, a member of The 27 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, served in Afghanistan with The 1st Battalion Princess of Wales Royal Regiment and has been part of the Army Elite Boxing set-up since 2013.

Alanna is also a serving soldier as well as being a multiple amateur boxing national champion, Commonwealth bronze medallist and qualified professional coach.

"Trust is a big factor in boxing and Chez has got a good team around him," she added. "We have so much trust for each other. He knows he can always rely on me and vice versa.

"We are a team and I think my support in his corner gives Chez that something extra. When he hears my voice, I know it gives him the encouragement he needs. Our husband-wife partnership is really something special.

"If I wasn't a boxer and just Chez's wife, it might be more challenging from an emotional perspective to be in his corner watching him in the heat of battle.

"But I am not only Chez's wife but also a boxer myself, so I understand what he will be going through. I recognise the risks and I know he will take punches in that ring."