On the night he was supposed to make his professional debut, Thomas Speirs proved beyond any doubt hes ready to box and win at the next level.
Speirs, a 22-year-old power puncher from the Spruce Capital Boxing Club, took on Kamloops fighter Ken Huber in the main event of the Prince George Explosion fight card, held Saturday night at the Roll-A-Dome. And, in front of about 600 appreciative fans, Speirs dominated the 29-year-old Huber for four of the five rounds and was awarded a unanimous decision by the ringside judges.
With his relentless attack, Speirs was able to back Huber up for most of the bout and kept him pinned against the ropes for long stretches of time. While he had Huber trapped, he landed big body blows in combination and threw precision uppercuts to the head. Speirs clearly won the first four rounds and even produced a standing eight-count against Huber in the third. The fifth round was a little more even as Huber tried to battle back to salvage his night but that wouldnt happen.
Keeping him on the ropes made him really tired, Speirs said. I could feel he was tired even after the first round and I just kept going to work. It paid off in the end.
Fueled by the loud and supportive crowd, the six-foot, 180-pound Speirs didnt exactly follow his pre-fight strategy against the five-foot-11 Huber, who outweighed him by 15 pounds and had a slight reach advantage.
I could have made it easier on myself by boxing more and staying on the outside and displaying that kind of skill but in front of my hometown people and everyone that came out, it felt like I had to put on a show, Speirs said. When you get out here and everyones cheering for you, you want to do it, just fight.
In all respects, Speirs was the superior fighter, and this was against a guy who is the reigning B.C. amateur heavyweight champion and holder of the B.C. Combative Sports Association (Combsport) cruiserweight title. Huber gladly accepted the matchup after two pro boxers - Tyler Lee of Nova Scotia and Keith McGraw of New Brunswick - failed to show up in Prince George to take on Speirs.
Huber, who lost by a decision to Speirs last March in Prince George, said without hesitation that the Spruce Capital pugilist is ready to go pro.
I wish him nothing but good in the pro game, said Huber, who normally likes to be the aggressor but was forced by Speirs into defending and trying to counterpunch. Hes peaked out at amateur. Theres nobody else. Ive beat everybody else in this weight class and he just kicked my ass. Theres nothing left here for him. Hes got to go pro and hell do well.
Huber said he was hoping to weather the storm in the first couple rounds and let Speirs - who hadnt fought since their bout a year ago -- wear himself out. But, Speirs fitness level was just fine and he showed no signs of rust. He was at his best in the third round when he backed Huber into a corner and connected with a series of body shots and uppercuts that resulted in the eight-count.
I felt pretty good, said Speirs, while being mobbed by well-wishers and picture-seekers. I got a little tired near the end but when youre staying on the inside and youre receiving body shots and stuff from a large man, you do get a little tired. Probably the last 30 seconds I could really feel it.
Speirss coach, Wayne Sponagle, would have liked for him to stay further back from Huber, which would have allowed him to land punches with more power. But, in the big picture, Sponagle couldnt have been more proud of his boxer.
Hes an awesome fighter and hes an awesome human being - I just love the kid, said Sponagle, a Prince George Sports Hall of Fame member for his contributions to local boxing over the years. He put on a hell of a show for the people. It was amazing.
For how good Thomas is, [Huber] is just as good a man, Sponagle added. He stayed in there and he took an awful lot of shots every round, for five rounds. He hung in there and kept coming back hard.
Speirs still wants to have his first professional fight in Prince George and Sponagle will work to make that happen. Right now, Sponagle is targeting late June.
Im going to turn down a pro fight in Edmonton on May 21 and Im going to try to accommodate what Thomas wants, he said. The sponsors I had made it possible to put this show on and if some of them stick with me at the end of June, its going to happen.
The Speirs-Huber bout was one of 10 during the Prince George Explosion card. See The Citizen later this week for more coverage.