Tion Gibbs has claimed the first title of his professional career as he took on the unbeaten and former Midland’s area Lightweight champ Jack O’Keeffe for the vacant title. The fight was scheduled for 10 three-minute rounds and was the main event on the Tommy Owens Promotions show ‘Back With A Bang’ (4,9,21) at the Holte Suite Villa Park Birmingham. Gibbs (26) was unbeaten in 7 contests before this fight with the tough O’Keeffe being 10 without a loss. Gibbs weighted in 9 stone 8 with O’Keeffe (28) coming in 9 stone 7, reffing and scoring the contest you had Shaun Messer.
O’Keeffe started the first round well applying pressure and getting his shots off, Gibbs moved well and slipped O’Keeffe shots well. As they both met in the center of the ring O’Keeffe seemed to lose his balance but was also caught with a nice left hand that put him down, he got back to his feet took the eight count, and continued but this round went to Gibbs. The second was a close one with both fighters getting good shots in, O’Keeffe nicked it with the better work rate. Great movement by Gibbs in the third as he picked his shots to the head and body of O’Keeffe, O’Keeffe came back strong at the end of the round but this round was Gibbs
The fourth was another close one with both fighters having joy, could not split them. Great boxing by Gibbs in the fifth whose movement and shot picking won him the round, O’Keeffe was always in the round but Gibbs style and class shined through. Gibbs continued to move well and picked his shots as O’Keeffe attacked hard, had Gibbs nicking this one. O’Keeffe continued to pressure and press in the seventh but Gibbs movement was keeping him out of trouble and was also landing the eye-catching shots.
The eighth was another back and forth round with both fighters getting good shots off, even round. O’Keeffe poured on the pressure and banged in some heavy shots; Gibbs came back near the end of the round but O’Keeffe had this one. In the final round Gibbs got on his toes as O’Keeffe poured on the pressure, Gibbs countered well on the back foot but O’Keeffe earned a share of the round.
Referee Shaun Messer scored the contest 96 to 95 Gibbs, myself I had it 98 to 94 Gibbs.
The first thing I’d like to say is “it was great to be back at a small hall show” and I got to say TOP Boxing delivered with this main event. Both fighters put their unbeaten records on the line and left it all in the ring with a great contest. This was Gibbs biggest test and if we are honest his first real test and he showed that he is more than up for it with a great display of technical boxing and great movement. O’Keeffe showed all the experience and qualities of a real champion and I know he will come back from this defeat stronger. Gibbs has now started his journey up the ranks and will be looking to progress up the ladder and I can definitely see these two warriors fight again maybe for the English in the future. Both fighters should be proud of themselves as they put on a great display on fir their fans. If you look at my scorecard it had Gibbs winning by 4 rounds, the only reason I had it like that was that I favored the movement of Gibbs and his countering but this was a great fight with the style of both fighters making it a good one. I would like to see these fighters do it again.