Kieran Gething goes out of Golden Contract tournament

Kieran Gething goes out of Golden Contract tournament

This article first appeared in the Welsh Boxing Annual 2019-2020. Click here to buy on Amazon.

By Dewi Powell: Pontypool’s Kieran Gething (9-2-2, 2KO) fiddled through a frustrating fight with London’s Jeff Ofori (10-1-1, 3KO) and the official decision was a draw. However, ‘Kiwi couldn’t’ find his way through the quarter-finals of MTK Global’s Golden Contract tournament at super-lightweight.

96-95-94-96 and 95-95 tallies split the three judges and a ‘winner’ still had to be decided for the purposes of the tournament. It came down to the opinion of referee Kieran McCann who, without the aid of a scorecard, favoured Ofori and picked him to head to the semi-finals instead of Gething.

“I was disappointed. I think people could see that straight after the fight,” sighed Gething. “The actual decision, the draw, I can come to terms with because I can see how they would score [rounds] for him but going out of the tournament like this is disappointing.

“It feels like an old-style newspaper decision. On the fullness of the fight, I think I boxed better than him, I think that’s evident from the tape. I’m not disputing that he scored some really cracking shots on me, fair play to him. If you’re going to take a fight on the whole like that, and just give the nod one way of the other, you should do it on the merit of the best boxer.

“Referee McCann’s decision… it’s the second time he’ reffed me and the second time he’s gone against me. I thought his refereeing was quite one-sided, as well.”

Bowing out at this stage of the Sky Sports televised event was an anti-climax for Gething. The Welsh champion had hoped to tangle with the likes of ex-European champion Mohamed Mimoune, Ohara Davies and Tyrone McKenna. The winner of the tournament will win a ‘Golden Contract’ worth $500,000 over two years. Gething dreamed about earning the life changing money but there were still plenty of positives to take away from the experience at London’s York Hall.

He said: “I am literally living what every young boxer’s dream is. I’m fighting on ESPN and Sky Sports in the home of boxing. It feels like I’ve made it, y’know, what I set out to do. Now I just need some more belts in the cupboard to cement that.”

The fight began well for Gething, who used a natural size and reach advantage to work behind the jab and find his range. Ofori didn’t commit to much early on, focusing more on quality and he landed clean counters amidst Gething’s rallies. It led to even exchanges when they met in the middle of the ring, though both timed their attacks differently. Gething was often more consistent throughout the three-minute duration of rounds, and Ofori spent a lot of time circling before launching a raiding attack in the final 60 seconds.

25-year-old Gething tried to be more assertive in the fourth round, using straights to drive Ofori backwards. Eventually, Ofori had enough and attempted to resist, rolling under Gething’s arms and landing his own hooks. Keen to tighten up the gaps in his defence, Gething slowed the pace and got back to his boxing in the middle rounds. Gething’s more disciplined work reduced Ofori’s chances to counter and he sat down on his shots with more authority. That was until round six finished with a full-on firefight.

They fought on the inside in the seventh round. Gething closed the distance and operated at short range. The more blatant approach drew a warning from the referee. It was harsh and a sign of things to come. The last three rounds saw Ofori continue to work in spurts and his smart tactics kept him competitive until the end. Honest as ever, Gething could see the pros and cons to both approaches when he recalled how the action unfolded.

“There were some cracking right hands I lined up for him. I used my jab and it was much superior to his,” considered Gething. “He caught me when he jumped in but had I had a bit more in the tank, maybe I could’ve pushed on a bit more.

“His arms look longer than they should be because he’s a short guy. The bloke was five foot six [inches tall] and I was the one being told off for using my head. I don’t understand that at all. He was saying about me pushing him down but not about Jeff leaning in and I thought it was poor refereeing.

“He still managed get those long shots off on me. I think it was through my own faults, I feel like I say that a bit too regularly, but my own faults gave him gains. He’s not a terrible boxer at all, he’s quite evasive. The top half of his body is moving all the time, maybe if I’d been a bit shorter or attacked the body, it could’ve slowed him down. He came in with a nothing to lose attitude.”

As Gething accepted, there could be little complaint about the decision to award a draw at the final bell. The only gripe came with the referee’s unofficial ruling, omitting Gething without the justification of a scorecard. Ofori’s performance earned credit, especially since he’d been in action as recently as seven days earlier. On that occasion, he travelled to Liverpool to outhustle unbeaten local favourite Gerard Carroll. The former Southern Area lightweight champion showed little sign of fatigue in this night’s 10 rounder.

The Golden Contract semi-finals would happen in 2020 and the intention was for the four eliminated boxers to face each other on the undercard. There was the added element that Gething could be drafted into the main tournament if there was an injury to one of the semi-finalists – after all, Ofori’s inclusion came as a last-minute call up when Lewis Benson was ruled out on medical grounds.

“I’ve got four of them now [10 round fights],” reflected Gething in closing. “I’d liked to have picked up more titles by now, to be honest. I wanted the Celtic title. That’s the target for next year. Pick up another title and at least I know my capabilities with the 10 round distance.”

This article first appeared in the Welsh Boxing Annual 2019-2020. Click here to buy on Amazon.

Image by MTK Global.

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