Nigerian fashion designer David Izegwire has designs on something different these days -- a boxing title.
Now a Washington resident, the light heavyweight, 26, makes his third professional appearance tonight at Rockville's Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza against South Carolina's Dexter Nicholson. Before the bout, Izegwire (2-0) will make a more serene showing, a display of some of his finest threads.
"I might display some of my spring and summer outfits," Izegwire said. "They are all my own designs, mostly women's clothes."
Izegwire, born and raised in the Nigerian capital, Lagos, arrived in the United States to study at Howard University. His career plans took a slight detour when he discovered the House of Champions boxing gym just up Georgia Avenue from the school.
"I would be out running and go by it every day," said Izegwire, who never boxed in Nigeria,. "One day I decided to stop in and I've been there since."
He said his father, a police chief in Lagos, is not pleased with his son's career path, at least for now. But his mother was swayed the last time she visited Washington.
"At first she was scared I'd get hurt or something," Izegwire said. "Then she saw my trophies and saw I had a future, so now she's more supportive."
But Izegwire's dreams of becoming a fashion designer did not sneak up on his parents; he has been involved with it since age 11.
"I remember getting spanked by my mom," he said "Whenever she bought pants, I would re-alter them for some reason."
By 16, Izegwire worked for Dacova, one of the top designers in Nigeria. After 2 1/2 years, he went off to military school outside the capital, returning home from time to time to model in one of Dacova's shows.
Izegwire has been featured in several shows in Georgetown and in Silver Spring. He designs specifically for several women's stores in Georgetown, with some Nigerian influences.
Two other fighters from the House of Champions club, brothers Vince and Cecil Thompson, train with Izegwire.
"David is the jungle warrior," Vince said. "We all run through the woods, but David likes to leave the paths and run through the trees himself."
For Izegwire, juggling the careers of boxing and designing can be a chore, but for now, the former is a priority for him.
"I came to this country to go to school, but I haven't," he said. "I would love to, but right now I want to concentrate on boxing."
Notes: Rockville's Phil Gilberti (12-5, 12 knockouts), the Maryland cruiserweight champion, meets Dean Moore of Forest City, N.C., in a 10-round non-title bout to head the Crowne Plaza card tonight at 7:30.
Rockville lightweight Wilfredo de la Cruz (5-4-2) meets Doug Petteford of Wilmington, Del., in a six-round bout and junior welterweight John Bizzarro (9-1-1) faces Paul Gentry of Spartanburg, S.C.
Vince and Cecil Thompson also are on the card. Vince (1-0) faces junior welterweight Tony Jackson of Gaithersburg, while Cecil makes his professional debut against Anthony Hardy of the District.