When you fall, you stay down.

Or, as in the case of professional boxer Nick Casal of Niagara Falls, you get right up, lick your wounds and move forward.

Casal, 21, is undaunted by his first loss, which came Jan. 5 to Jose Antonio Izquierdo (16-0 with 13 knockouts), 29, of Chihuahua, Mexico, at the Desoto Civic Center in Southhaven, Miss.

Casal (15-1-1 with 12 knockouts) suffered a deep cut over his right eye in the fight, requiring 20 stitches. A cut on his nose required another four stitches.

“It’s going to take the eye seven to eight more weeks to heel up, but he’s already back in the gym working out. Because of the draw in the card’s main event (super middleweights Anthony Hanshaw of Mansfield, Ohio, and Jean Paul Mendy of Las Vegas, Nev.) there’s a good chance they may repeat the whole thing in April or May and that’s when Nick will go again,” Ray Casal, Nick’s father and trainer, said.

“We learned so many things from this fight. I learned that my son has a great chin and power. Izquierdo said the hardest he’s ever been punched was by Nick. We also learned that we need to be in better condition for a fight like this and we need more than three weeks to do that.

“They sent us film on Izquierdo two days before the fight so we didn’t get to study the guy — and at this level you need to do that,” Ray Casal said.

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“I didn’t think Nick moved his feet as well as he can. Izquierdo took him out with elbows and head butts. Nick’s never been in a fight like that. That Cuban amateur program is the best and they teach them everything over there, but that’s not something I’m going to teach my kids to do.”

One significant change is in the works for Nick.

“We’re going to move up from 130 to 140 pounds and stay there,” Ray Casal said. “When he was 17-18 years old and won a national championship, he fought at 152 pounds. He stripped off 20 pounds and he still hits hard, but he gets weaker faster, so we’re going back to 140.”

Ray Casal said he’s glad Nick took such a tough fight early in his pro career.

“It’s exactly like you said in your column: It was a chance to see where Nick is and where we have to go,” Ray Casal said.

“Yes, it was a risky fight and a loss, but we don’t feel it hurts us. Nick’s attitude was, ‘Okay, let’s get back in the gym on Monday and get back to work.’ We don’t want to waste five years in pro boxing. We’d like to get there in two years and then get out. ”

The Casals said they’ve been overwhelmed by the support of their community.

“When we came home from this fight — at the airport, people were coming up to Nick and asking for his autograph and wishing him the best. People in Lockport and Niagara Falls, everywhere, have come up to us and are urging Nick to continue to fight and to tell him he fights with a lot of heart — and that means so much to us,” Ray Casal said.

“We walked into a restaurant and people applauded him. Nick is seeing that he has a responsibility to the community and himself. Baby Joe Mesi will tell you that.”

While Nick Casal, nicknamed “Hands of Gold,” will return to the ring in the spring, his younger brother, Anthony, 19, plans to turn professional in February. Both train at their father’s gym at 1314 Hyde Park Blvd.

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