NIAGARA FALLS – If life were like a video game, all Nick Casal would have had to do was either hit the continue button on his X-Box or deposit more money in the coin slot of the machine to return to the stage where he had left off in his quest to become a world champion.
Real life isn’t that simple.
Neither were the circumstances surrounding the head injury that suddenly derailed the Niagara Falls boxer’s rise up the ladder, but the 28-year-old is ready to begin another climb he hopes leads to championship glory.
The journey begins in Casal’s hometown Feb. 27 as he will headline an 11-fight card at the Niagara Falls Conference and Events Center.
Casal (22-4-1, 17 KOs) will fight journeyman Shakha Moore of Norwalk, Conn., in the six-round main event between light welterweights. The fight will be Casal’s first since he KO’d Michael Anderson in the third round at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 15, 2011.
That victory set Casal up for a shot at the World Boxing Organization’s intercontinental championship against Ruslan Provodnikov in what would have been a nationally televised card from the Seneca Niagara Casino in June 2012. It should have been a fight that positioned him for a future bout against someone in the top 10, but a month before the fight Casal was ambushed and beaten unconscious with a crowbar when he went to pick up his then girlfriend, who unbeknownst to Casal was at her ex’s house.
Michael Vicki recently was sentenced to five years for the assault on Casal, an attack so severe Casal needed hundreds of staples and stitches to close gashes on his head and body.
Lucky for Casal, the injuries weren’t more severe, but the incident’s officially in the past as far as he was concerned Tuesday during an afternoon news conference at the Conference and Events Center promoting “The Fight in the Falls” card.
“It was a bummer. Things happen for a reason. It’s water under the bridge,” said Casal. “I don’t want to talk about that too much. I was getting ready for a shot ... It sucked to be out. I had a couple fights fall through last year. ... I can’t wait to get in the ring. It’s a new chapter in the book.”
The card, sponsored by Rochester-based Pretty Girl Promotions, will have quite the local flavor as the two co-feature bouts include promising Amherst boxer Vincent Arroyo (12-1, 7 KOs) and Buffalo cruiserweight Greg Brady (4-1, 4 KOs).
Arroyo hasn’t fought since September 2011, when he scored an impressive victory on Showtime over Hector Sanchez. After the win, he got into a legal spat with his handlers over money and his contract. His welterweight opponent has yet to be named.
Brady faces unbeaten Joe Shojgreen (8-0, 7 KOs) in a six rounder.
Tickets can be purchased through “Ticket Fly” or at Casal’s Boxing Club, 1767 Maryland Ave., Niagara Falls. For more information, visit www.prettygirlpromo.com or call (585) 281-2540.