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Christy Nickel
©Copyrighted photo - Cristy Nickel


5'8" junior middleweight Cristy "Code Red" Nickel was born Cristy Terherst on April 5, 1976 in Concord, California.

In the summer of 2002,  she competed in body building competitions all over Tennessee and Mississippi. She told WBAN: "By the end of the summer, I was so burned out on weight training and dieting that I needed a change. I didn't want to stop working out because I would lose my body and all the progress I made."

One day that November, she was wandering through the DeSoto Athletic Club in Olive Branch and met Nic Germano, who taught a kickboxing class there. Germano asked Nickel-Terherst if she wanted to try it. Although she had never done any boxing or kickboxing, she fell in love with it immediately. A couple of months into the class, Germano offered Cristy a chance to fight in a real amateur kickboxing match, which she did in February, 2003.

After that, she had a hard time finding female kickboxing opponents. She kept training day in and day out but  could not get a fight, and  became discouraged.

In January 2004, she approached Jimmy Blann of Blann's Boxing in Southaven and asked him about switching to professional boxing.  According to Cristy, "Jimmy has 2 kickboxing world titles and comes from 30 years of teaching boxing, kickboxing and karate. He owns/operates his own boxing studio and karate dojo equipped with state of the art training equipment and a staff of qualified trainers. Jimmy is well known and respected in the south and all over the world as being a no-nonsense coach and molds well to any student's personality. Jimmy has trained hundreds of national and world champions over the years and his gym continues to grow.  I knew he was the best coach. Jimmy and I talked about the risks of boxing on the professional circuit and he made sure I knew what I was getting in to. He knew I had been training a year with no fights so he was aware of my dedication and desire to fight. We immediately called Brian Young of Prize Fight Promoters and asked him to put me on the monthly fight card in Tunica. Jimmy and Nic kicked my training up to 6 days a week for 4 solid months. When April rolled around, I was ready to make my debut. I was in excellent shape and was as prepared as I could be for my FIRST professional fight."

Cristy (149 lbs) made her pro debut on April 3, 2004 at Sam's Town Casino in Tunica, Mississippi against Moroccan-born Mariem "Punchanella" Brakache (151 lbs) of Atlanta, Georgia. Brakache won a four-round unanimous (40-37,40-36,40-36) decision and improved to 2-1 with the win.

Cristy told WBAN: "I was devastated! I  fought my heart out, but she had a few fights under her belt and quite frankly out-boxed me. Looking back, that loss was the best thing that could have happened to me. Yes, I was humiliated in front of my friends, family, co-workers, classmates and fellow boxers but I learned a great deal. I knew I had to get back in that ring and come back strong."

On May 22, 2004 at Sam's Town Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, Cristy (153 lbs) won by a TKO over Leora Jackson (146 lbs) of Springdale, Arkansas when Jackson did not answer the bell for the third round.  "People say I looked like a totally different boxer and I felt like it. I was more comfortable in the ring", says Cristy about this fight.  Jackson fell to 1-3 with the loss.

Cristy (left) vs. Michelle Ewing
© Copyrighted photo provided by Cristy Nickel

On June 19, 2004 at Sam’s Town Casino in Tunica, Cristy (155 lbs) TKO'd Michelle Ewing (145 lbs) of Hickory, North Carolina at 1:45 in the first round of a scheduled four-rounder. Nickel put Ewing on the mat three times before referee Keith Hughes called it off. On one occasion Ewing took Nickel down with her ... "My skill was improving and things were coming together," says Cristy.  Ewing fell to 0-8 with the loss.

On July 31, 2004 at Sam’s Town Casino in Tunica, Cristy (150 lbs) TKO'd debut fighter Kim Caplena of Little Rock, Arkansas at 1:28 in the first round. Prefight, Nickel had stated, "It's going to be over quick, first or second round. I'm in excellent shape. I can go the distance, but I won't need to. She's scared, out of shape. I'm going to establish my jab early and set her up with a right hook. That's probably what I'll knock her out with."

World champion pro boxer Valerie Mahfood sent WBAN this report "Nickel, an obvious hometown favorite, entered the ring to heavy metal music screaming something about a razor. With short auburn hair spiked up as if she had stuck her finger in an electrical socket, she was able to charge the crowd with the same energy. Singing along to the music, she charmed the fans with her knee high red and black striped, pippy-long stocking socks. Fashionably speaking, this fighter has flare!"

Cristy with her trademark socks
© Copyrighted photo provided by Cristy Nickel-Terherst

"Of course, she was also there to box," says Mahfood. "With 1:28 in the first round, the referee called the fight against Caplena. During this short time, neither boxer displayed an exorbitant amount of experience. But, then again, they’ve only been boxing a few months each. Nickel has a clear passion for the sport and I would look forward to seeing her a year from now."

"I could tell by this fight that I had really won over the heart of the community", says Nickel, "because the sold out crowd of 2,000 was on their feet from the moment I walked out until the moment I left the arena. They were so loud during the fight that my ears were ringing and I couldn't even hear myself breathe. It was exciting!"

On September 25, 2004 at the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis, Tennessee on the (non-televised) undercard of the Roy Jones Jr HBO card Cristy (158 lbs) again stopped Caplena (162 lbs), this time at 1:39 in the first round. According to reporter Gary Parrish, "Caplena seemed content to get jabbed and try to land a roundhouse counter punch to end things with one swing, which was an unsuccessful approach against the better-skilled Nickel. Nickel punished Caplena from the opening bell by landing combinations at will. She knocked her down early, then ended the fight at the 1:39 mark of the first with a sharp jab."

''I was just trying not to get hit by one of those wild punches," said Cristy. ''I'm actually a little more cautious against a fighter like that than a fighter with skill.  I knocked her out again a minute and a half into the first round. This time, I hit harder and quicker. I kept my jab in her face until I was set up to drop my straight right/left hook. Two or three of those combinations sent Kim on her butt and eventually out of the ring with a throbbing headache."

After this success and exposure, Nickel was eager for more.  "After the Roy Jones Jr fight, I was receiving lots of attention. I was getting calls from promoters all over the country to fight on their cards. It's quite clear from my Pippy Long-stocking, red/black striped socks and spiked red hair that I'm unique and fun to watch in the ring. I knew I should keep the ball rolling." .

On October 23, 2004 at Isle of Capri Casino in Lula, Mississippi, Cristy (154 lbs) won a hard-fought four-round unanimous decision over Cassandra Lindsey (153 lbs) of Colombus, Mississippi. Lindsey was making her own debut. "My nose was broken and she was bleeding bad also," recalls Nickel. "She was my first real tough opponent and it was wonderful to mix it up and see what I was made of. I had to dig down deep to finish that fight, but in the end, I out-boxed Cassandra and I was in better shape."

On November 5, 2004 at Fitzgerald's in Tunica, Mississippi, Cristy (158 lbs) won a four-round unanimous decision over Amy Milam (161 lbs) of Fort Smith, Arkansas who fell to 0-2. "I threw everything at her but the kitchen sink but she was solid and wouldn't go down. I worked her body and that seemed to weaken her but it wasn't enough. Her nose was bleeding and eyes swelling by the end of the 4th round."

On January 22, 2005 at Fitzgerald's in Tunica, Mississippi, Cristy won a hard fought six-round split (57-56,56-58,57-56) decision in a rematch with Mariem Brakache of Atlanta. Brakache received a standing eight count in the second round, but the fight was close the rest of the way. Nickel had said that her goal in boxing was to avenge her debut loss to Brakache, who fell to 2-2-0 (1 KO) while Nickel improved to 7-1-0 (4 KO).

After the fight, Nickel said "A win is a win. I found a way to win and that's all that matters. There's nothing wrong with a close fight. We battled, people got their money's worth and it was a good fight. Every boxer envisions a pretty win. Every boxer wants to win by KO. But when the competition is as good as it was Saturday night, it turns into a war. You can't always have Kodak moments every fight."

On April 30, 2005 at Isle of Capri Casino in Lula, Mississippi,
Cassandra Lindsey (131 lbs) of Columbus, Mississippi won a six-round majority decision over Cristy (150½ lbs), improving her own record to 2-2 (1 KO) and avenging her earlier loss.

On August 20, 2005 at the Capital Gym in Beijing, China, Mariem Brakache (148 lbs) of Atlanta won a 10-round unanimous (99-91,99-91,98-92) decision over Cristy (150 lbs) for the IBA Junior Middleweight world title. 

On March 17, 2005 at the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany, New York, over 2000 fans saw local favorite Elizabeth Mooney TKO  Cristy at 0:43 in the third round of a scheduled six rounder. The Times Union News reported that Mooney confused Nickel-Terherst by switching to a southpaw stance, and dropped her to one knee with a combination of punches. The ref stopped the fight after talking with Cristy. The 45-year old Mooney improved her record to 4-2-0 (2 KOs) with the win. 

WBAN's "Ask the Trainer" Tom Moraetes offered Cristy the chance to train with him early in 2005 even though it meant her moving from Memphis to Augusta, GA.  "I know Tom's reputation and I knew it was a huge honor to come train with Tom," Cristy states, "So I took a deep breath, packed up and moved to Augusta ... I love training with Tom.  He has over 30 years of experience and I trust him completely.  I enjoy every, single day I step into that gym to train."

Until June 2006, Cristy was also the General Manager of the Augusta Boxing Club.  She taught boxing lessons to males and females ages 7 to 70.  She also does personal, private training with athletes.

In 2006, Christy's stint on MTV's reality show "MADE" got her a job training high-end clients at the exclusive "Trinity Boxing Gym" in Manhattan, NY.  Owner Martin Snow asked Cristy to move to New York and work for him, saying: "When I saw the work Cristy did with the girl from MTV's MADE, I knew I needed to snatch Cristy up before someone else did.  I've never seen anyone make that big of an improvement in such a short time in all my years of being a trainer.  Cristy has a gift and she'll fit in well with our gym."  Cristy said that she's excited by her new challenge, adding "Tom and the Augusta Boxing Club have given me invaluable skills, lessons and life experiences that I will never forget.  I appreciate Tom and will always credit him for bringing me to this point."

On March 15, 2008 at the WaMu Theatre in Madison Square Garden, Olivia Fonseca (149 lbs) of Philadelphia won a four-round unanimous (40-36,39-37, 39-37) decision over Cristy (149¾ lbs).  According to WBAN correspondent David Pambianchi, "Each round, the pattern remained the same. For the first three rounds, a strong Cristy could not land solid hits on Olivia and had some trouble balancing after missing right hooks. While power is dangerous, speed kills. Olivia often deflected and countered Cristy’s punches, landing solid body and head shots that visibly stunned a frustrated Cristy. During the fourth round, Olivia simply waited to pick her shots and continue to score, left to the body, right to the head on a tiring Cristy."  For photo coverage of this fight by Peter Frutkoff, see WBAN Members Records Site MPEG/Photo Gallery #472.  Fonseca improved to 2-1-2 (1 KO) while Nickel fell to 7-6-0 (4 KOs).

Cristy holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Memphis.  She is not married and has no kids. 

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Page last updated: Friday November 06, 2015


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