KeAndre Gibson has only 11 pro fights under his resume, but he is already making an impression on the boxing community. The St. Louis born fighter is scheduled to meet Jose “Loco” Hernandez in an 8 round bout at the junior welterweight limit. The fight will act as the televised co-feature for this Thursday’s FOX Sports 1 & FOX Deportes’ Golden Boy Live! series. The main attraction is a junior lightweight bout between Jerry Belmontes and Abner Cotto.
You might be new to Gibson (10-0-1), but Gibson is anything but new to boxing. He grew up in a boxing household and his dad, uncles, and cousins all fought in the amateur system, a few eventually became local attractions.
It isn’t unusual for a spontaneous football game or pickup basketball game to take place at a family get-together, but in Gibson’s household the favorite pastime was boxing. KeAndre and his cousins would strap on the gloves and have impromptu sparring sessions to pass the time between family parties.
Gibson was bread for boxing, he knew it early on after his dad started taking him to the gym as a child. He started boxing at 8 years old, winning some national tournaments as a child. He achieved a 94-20 amateur record before turning pro at age 20. He wanted to compete in the Olympics, but after suffering consecutive injuries he was unable to compete in the qualifiers.
Instead of waiting three years to give it another shot, he opted to turn pro. It wasn’t the glamorous beginning he’d hoped for as he became a victim of the sometimes unfortunate nature associated with boxing. He was forced into a one year layoff at a point in his career when he was starting to put things together.
It was a problem with promotions and managers unfortunately, after all it is one of the oldest stories in boxing.
“I should have more fights on my record, but I was dealt with the wrong guys in boxing early in my career. But I have the right team behind me now and the sky is the limit. Some guys fight 20 plus fights and then have to deal with the shady side of boxing, I experienced it early on and it was a learning experience for me,” Gibson told Thaboxingvoice.com
Gibson was lucky however, because his second chance came in the form of a 5 year deal with Golden Boy Promotions. You might’ve seen Gibson on some streams or a YouTube fight or two. But he made a real impression this past May after knocking out John Nater in the 4th round of their scheduled 8.
Gibson landed a devastating body shot that sent Nater down to the canvas, eventually finishing him off for good in the 4th.
Gibson is only 24 years old, but he is extremely mature and intelligent for his age. A married man with two girls, ages 4 and 6 months, and an 8 year old boy, Gibson is a family man who spends just as much time dedicated to his family as he does to his training.
He’s managed by Michael Miller and trains under Derame Reed in Austin, Texas. He’s a hard worker in the gym and possesses a solid combination of speed and power. He’s flashy in the ring, not in a boastful manner, but his in ring abilities are dazzling at times. Gibson says he is a product of his training and the maturity comes from sparring with world class fighters such as “Canelo” Alvarez, Shane Mosley, and Ruslan Provodnikov to name a few. The exposure to quality sparring has taught him some invaluable lessons, the kind that young fighters aren’t often privy to.
“I’m learning to stay patient, the sparring I’ve had has taught me to stay relaxed. A lot of guys lose the fight before the bell rings because they get nervous and tense. I believe the things I do in training will pay off in the fights and staying relaxed is what I’ve learned,” Gibson said.
Gibson’s opponent, Jose Hernandez, isn’t a world beater, but he is a dangerous fighter who comes forward and is known to take quality fighters out of their game.
Hernandez (14-7-1) has fought fighters like Michael Perez, Mickey Bey, and Sharif Bogere among others. Gibson is a high quality prospect, but a fighter like Hernandez can be hazardous to a young fighter.
“I’ve seen some videos of [Hernandez], but I don’t watch the guys I fight too much because I like to adjust to the fighter’s style that I’m in the ring with, that’s what the best fighters do and I’m able to do that even when they switch it up.
“[Hernandez] comes forward a lot, but he could be at home training to box me so I don’t like to watch too much of my opponent’s past fights. This might be the best fighter I’ve fought, but I’m still the better fighter,” Gibson said.
Gibson trained at the Wild Card for the majority of this particular fight camp and got in good work with Olympian Jose Ramirez. It is this kind of preparation that will aid Gibson should he find himself in a tough spot.
“I’ve been training in California at the Wild Card for this fight and I’ve been getting a lot of crazy good sparring with some great fighters and come August 7th I’m going to be ready for whatever [Hernandez] brings to the table. If he wants to brawl then I’ll switch gears and outbox him, then out brawl him, whatever he brings. He’s fought good fighters, but I feel I’m a better fighter overall.”
Gibson insists that he will play it smart, but he has the skills and heart to brawl if need be. That might seem like a dangerous option for a young fighter, but he knows he can handle whatever Hernandez might throw his way
“He’s going to show up to fight but I’ve already been in with one of the best Mexican fighters, one of the strongest, fastest and biggest Mexican fighters in Canelo. Me and Canelo went to war every day, so [Hernandez] doesn’t have anything I haven’t seen before,” Gibson said.
Gibson is a fighter to watch and you don’t want to jump on his bandwagon too late. The FoxSports 1 telecast starts at 10PM ET/9PM CT.