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Man charged in attack on boxer; Police still unsure what stirred assault

A Town of Niagara man was charged Friday with the violent attack last Saturday on Niagara Falls junior welterweight boxer Nick Casal.

Michael P. Vicki, 30, of Portland Street was charged with first-degree assault after meeting with Town of Niagara Police, Niagara County Sheriff's Office and the district attorney's office for questioning.

He was arraigned before Niagara Town Justice John P. Teixeira and sent to Niagara County Jail without bail. Vicki is schedule to return to Town Court on Monday.

Town of Niagara Police Chief H. James Suitor said Vicki, who had been named as a person of interest shortly after the attack, arrived at police headquarters with attorney Damon DeCastro.

Suitor said he is still unsure what provoked the attack.

"The [accounts] are in stark contrast -- the witnesses' version and Mr. Vicki's statement," Suitor said. "The circumstances that led up [to the attack] are contradictory."

He did not elaborate further.

Ray Casal, father of the welterweight contender, said his son was ambushed and beaten nearly unconscious with a metal object at 5:30 p.m. last Saturday in the Belden Center neighborhood. He said his son, 21, was struck 15 or more times in the head and body.

After the beating, Casal was treated in Erie County Medical Center, where wounds on the side and back of his head were closed with more than 300 stitches and staples.

Ray Casal said it probably will be several months before his son returns to the ring. Plans for a televised fight on ESPN2 next month were canceled.

At the time of the attack, family members said Casal was responding to a call from a new girlfriend who asked to be picked up. Casal arrived at a Portland Street address that he didn't know was that of the girlfriend's ex-boyfriend.

The victim's first clue of trouble came when he was walking away with his girlfriend and saw "her eyes get real big." The attacker -- described as nearly 6 1/2 feet tall and 300 pounds -- apparently waited for Casal in a garage, then attacked him, according to Ray Casal.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com