Beckley, West Virginia´s Bobby Thomas Jr. is the new World Boxing Federation (WBF) North American Cruiserweight Champion, after winning the vacant title on Saturday night, March 29, in front of a loud and enthusiastic crowd at the Beckley Convention Center.
Thomas took on Eric Watkins from Morgantown, W. V., who stepped in at two weeks’ notice when original foe Warren Browning was pulled out due to illness, and was in with a game and gutsy opponent who didn’t just show up for a pay-day.
Watkins gave Thomas all he could handle during the ten rounds of action-packed boxing, and both fighters had their moments where it looked like one or the other was about to take over. It was a very entertaining bout, and after the final bell both felt they had done enough to win, but none of them could be sure.
It came down to a split decision, with two of the judges scoring the fight 97-92 for Thomas, while the third had Watkins winning by 95-94. The new WBF Champion improved his professional record to 14-2-1 (9), and Watkins falls to 10-7-1 (5).
Thomas had proclaimed before the fight that he was aiming for a clean knockout of Watkins, but after the tough encounter he seemed relieved to just get the victory. Watkins did himself proud, and proved himself a much better boxer than his mediocre record indicates.
The fight was promoted by Jerry Thomas and his West Virginia Sports Promotions.