LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — With every skip of the rope and jab to the bag, Demond Nicholson is fighting for not only himself but the people who believe in him. The Laurel native is one of the best up-and-coming boxers in the country after fighting on some of the sport’s biggest stages.

On May 10, 2019, however, his victory over Mike Guy that happened a few weeks prior almost never happened. After a weigh-in, his kidneys failed. His body was shutting down.

Nicholson closed his eyes while he reflected back to a day he relates to hell.

“The worst thing I could think of was that I could die. The only thing I could do was pray and that was it,” he said.

Instantly, his life was changed at 26. Twenty years of work in the gym was done, replaced with weeks in dialysis and months of recovery. But he fought back.

His father Will was there every step of the way, sometimes spending multiple days at once in the hospital with his youngest child.

“We drove him to Inova Hospital in Fairfax. It was a good thing we got him there because they said if he went to sleep, he would’ve been gone,” Will said.

Months after kidney failure, Nicholson is winning out of the ring, being named the celebrity ambassador of the National Kidney Foundation serving Maryland and Delaware.

“That’s something outside of boxing,” Nicholson said with a smile. “It’s outside the ring that I can share with my children and share with my family members.”

He’s the next face of boxing, and now the face of an organization something he said came from his faith.

“I’m not a miracle but miracles can happen,” he said.

A sante, which is a toast to good health, will be held on Thursday, which is also World Kidney Day at the American Visionary Art Museum in downtown Baltimore. The museum will hold an event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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