On March 24, FireLake Arena will host a night of pugilistic action, when HD Promotions puts on seven professional fights featuring several of Oklahoma's top prospects.
In the six-round main event, Bo Gibbs (19-0, 8 KOs) will face Derrick Adkins (4-1-1, 2 KOs) for the vacant Oklahoma Super Middleweight title. This is for the belt that Adkins was forced to vacate after missing weight in his previous fight.
“This fight is a miniature version of Mayweather versus McGregor,” HD Promotions President Bobby Dobbs said. “It will feature one of Oklahoma's top MMA talents versus one of its top boxing talents. With one exception, McGregor has never boxed, Adkins has.”
Gibbs was fairly active in 2016, fighting four times. In those four fights, Gibbs faced a step-up in competition, squaring off with Abel Perry twice, and a closely contested victory over Delray Raines. Gibbs also disposed of Mikel Williams in the third round of a scheduled six. In his first fight of 2017, Gibbs went toe-to-toe with Colby Courter and came out victorious in a six-round split decision.
Heading into 2017, Gibbs said he is as ready as he's ever been.
“I'm prepared mentally and physically, and I feel better than I've ever felt,” Gibbs said.
On the b-side of the main event, Adkins, who doubles as a mixed martial artist, is coming off a five-round unanimous victory over Willie Gilbert. With four fights in 2016, Adkins started the year with a trip to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, where he faced undefeated prospect Carlos Gongora. The fight resulted in a fourth round stoppage, but Adkins bounced back, recording wins against Tre Parks and Willie Gilbert for the Oklahoma State Super Middleweight title. Adkins returned to the boxing ring in 2017 with another win over Gilbert.
Adkins understands he is the underdog, but fight fans should not count him out. He's coming to get his title back, he said.
“On paper I shouldn't be in the ring with Gibbs, yet I believe and many others believe I will win,” Adkins said. “I don't get called to be a loser. I never played that role well, but I do play the spoiler role well. If you are sleeping on me, then you will be surprised March 24.”
In the co-main event, Shawnee's own Dennis Knifechief (7-5-1, 2 KOs) will square off with Steven Crowfield (2-5, 2 KOs). These two had polar opposite 2016s. Knifechief went 3-1 and captured a state title, while Crowfield was unable to find victory, going 0-4. This fight will be contested at middleweight and is scheduled for six rounds.
In January of 2016, Knifechief suffered a devastating knockout to Martin Morales, but was able to secure a three-fight win streak to end the year. In that span, Knifechief won, was stripped of, and won the Oklahoma State Super Welterweight belt.
While riding the streak, Knifechief said he believes this is his fight to win, but is not overlooking Crowfield.
“I know this guy and I know how he fights,” Knifechief said. “Unless things change, I look for a pace that I can control. He does have a lot of experience so I can't look past him.”
Crowfield has not not shied away from tough fights. After losing to Gilbert for the Oklahoma State Super Middleweight title back in February of 2016, Crowfield faced Daniele Scardina, one of Italy's top prospects. Crowfield lost that fight via third-round knockout and two months later lost to a gritty newcomer in Maurice Williams.
Using last year as a learning experience, Crowfield said he hopes to wipe the slate clean, bounce back and get in the win column.
“This is a new chapter. This year we are both 0-0 and someone's 0 has to go,” Crowfield said.
Looking back at camp for this fight, Crowfield said he believes he has prepared himself as well as he can for a matchup with his former sparring partner.
“Conditioning has been the main thing in this camp,” Crowfield said. “With Dennis, his main attribute is his conditioning. It's going to be a good fight. We haven't sparred in a while, but we are comfortable with each other. This is going to be a great co-main event.”
In a six-round cruiserweight bout, Travon Sargent (6-0, 6 KOs) will duke it out with Celso Pinzon (4-4-1, 3 KOs). While serving in the United States Army, Sargent pulls double duty as a professional knockout artist. All six his fights have ended before the final bell, with his two most recent ending in the first round. Sargent's toughest opponent thus far has been Zachariah Kelley, who Sargent disposed of in 1:36 into the first round.
With Pinzon being a last minute replacement, Sargent remains focused despite the change in opponent.
“It's hard to train for a fighter that may or may not accept the fight,” Sargent said. “I expect this one to be a good challenge for me. I've got faith in my promoter Bobby Dobbs and I'll be as prepared as I possibly can for the unknown.”
Rob Ivins (2-1, 1 KO) returns to the ring after an eight-month layoff to face Art Parker (debut) in a four-round contest slated for the heavyweight division.
Ivins fought three times in 2016, stopping Lucas Queen in the first round of their fight in February. The second was a unanimous decision victory over Marvin Babe and the third, a rematch with Babe that ended in a second round TKO loss for Ivins.
After breaking a bone in his hand, forcing him out of his last scheduled fight, Ivins has used his previous fights as a learning experience, and to not always expect a knockout.
“I anticipate a tough fight against a much younger boxer. I have upped my cardio and road work the past couple months in anticipation for going all rounds,” Ivins said. “Of course everyone wants a knockout but I can't go into the ring thinking about that. I want to stay aggressive but smart and take advantage of any opportunities as the match unfolds.”
Parker comes in the the boxing world having competed on the MMA side of combat sports, with this being his first fight outside of the cage.
“Rob is a hard hitter, so I reckon I'm going to let him swing and once those big arms get heavy I'll start scoring,” Parker said. “He seems like a nice fella and I look forward to having a cold beer with him after.”
In other action:
Antione Smith (debut) vs. Terrence Harris (0-9-1) – 4 Rounds/Junior Middleweight
Nathan Trepagnier (debut) vs Jaben Barchuue (debut) – 4 Rounds/Middleweight
Marvin Babe (1-10, 1 KO) vs. Laquan Williams (0-2) – 4 Rounds/Cruiserweight
Prior to the professional card, there will be amateur 10 fights, with Vincent Cato and Diego Zubek squaring off in the main event of the amateur card.
Doors open at 5 p.m., with amateur fights starting at 6 p.m. and the pro card starting at 8:15 p.m.
For more information, or to purchase tickets visit www.hdboxing.net.