Perhaps the best young boxer in Western Canada — Lacombe’s William O’Keefe — recently won his fourth Gold Gloves in Calgary after taking out both his opponents in three rounds despite battling an arm injury.
The injury occurred in the first round of his first match in a fight that O’Keefe said started off dirty.
“I knew I was better than him, but he came into the fight playing dirty — tying me up the whole time. That really messed up my whole game,” he said. “In the first round, he injured my arm when he threw me to the ground. I really couldn’t go with my plan so I had to fight him — that is what I did. I boxed the best way I could against that guy and won the fight.”
The lesson of being prepared for anything despite having a gameplan is one O’Keefe will take with him going onward towards his dream of being the best.
“I always learn a lot with every win,” he said. “My coaches have push me and motivate me and even with my losses — amateur losses don’t mean anything. They are just experience. It is about learning and becoming the best player there is.”
O’Keefe went into his second match sluggish due to his left arm injury but some between match coaching set up him to succeed in the second round.
“My coach told me it doesn’t matter if it hurts right now so I went into the second round and I really woke up,” he said. “I really broke him down. He told me later that his legs started giving out.”
The win is O’Keefe’s fourth Gold Gloves victory — with two of them being in Alberta, one in British Columbia and one in Saskatchewan. He is not training for a Feb. 23rd match against the Saskatchewan Gold Gloves champ and then provincials on March 9th and 10th.
“I am training once per day, running 5 km. I am not training so much that I am killing myself,” he said. “I am trying to do volume training where each time I go in — I am better than what I was. That is really helping out and I am eating really clean as well.”
O’Keefe is currently clocking in at 164 lbs., which is up from his former fighting weight of 152 lbs. — an intentional move by the sluggers team.
“I had to cut a lot to get to that and it wasn’t really good for my fights, I would get tired easy because of the lack of carbs,” he said. “My coach and I decided we would get bulkier and put on muscle.”
O’Keefe is trying to stay focused on the next fight in front of him, but he still manages to dream big occasionally.
“My big goal is to obviously be the best and I am speaking that into existence but I am not really focused on the future right now. I am just focused on provincials and nationals,” he said.