A VETERAN Bradford boxer has said he will look back “fondly” on his career after confirming his final bout will be tonight.

Jimmy “The Fist” First, who is 42 and lives in Brighouse, takes on fellow professional boxer Karl Sampson in a lightweight fight at Cedar Court Hotel, in Bradford on Saturday night.

The limelight was firmly placed on First’s shoulders in December 2022 when at 41, and as the underdog, he shellshocked Cori Gibbs – who was 29 at the time and supposedly in his prime – by handing the Brummie boxer his first, and still only, professional defeat in a stunning show on Sky Sports.

He has featured on the sports network twice in total and also became one of the oldest lightweights to win a professional belt, when he sealed the Central Area title at 40 in February 2022.

First confirmed to the Telegraph & Argus though that he will retire after this evening’s fight – which he has named “The Fist of February”.

He admitted he had “done more than I set out to do really” and “had a very great run” but feels it is best to “quit while you’re ahead”.

Speaking on his career, First said: “I’ll look back on it fondly.”

He added: “I’ve done more than five per cent of boxers get to do.

“I’m 43 next month, I’ve done well.”

His explosion into professional boxing came late in the day, only making that move at the age of 36, with his first fight in that new arena in 2017.

First admits retirement was a difficult call to make and that he feels he has “one or two fights left” but wants to leave on a high.

He said: “It’s been a hard decision and been a tough decision, I’ve had a little bit of advice.

“It’s one of those ones, a lot of boxers don’t know when to hang their gloves up and have one or two fights too many.”

The boxer’s record currently stands 14-3, after a run of consecutive victories, followed by three defeats on the bounce.

But First has stuck true to his nickname in that time – which he said came about from a friend – in dishing out four knockouts, only being on the receiving end of one himself when he lost by technical knockout to the undefeated Lewis Sylvester for the English lightweight title in November last year.

Sheffield’s Sampson – tonight’s opponent – has a record of 6-28, including two knockout defeats, so he can be got at.

First admits he will only be focused on securing a victory though and putting on a show for all those who have been in his corner.

He said: “You never go looking for the knockout, I’m just looking to put on a good performance, getting a win.

“We’ve got Matt Barker DJing.

“I want to give back to the all the supporters who supported me over the years.

“I’ve had a number of shows in Bradford and Leeds, I’ve had some great support behind me and thank you massively to everyone.”

But what’s next for the Bradford veteran?

First said: “I already have commitments as a professional trainer, I’ve got my trainer’s licence.

“I’m already working professional corners, with Callum Simpson, Jake Pollard, Nabil Ahmed, Cory O’Regan, Jake Turner, Amaar Akbar, and remain in the sport.”

He added: “I’m looking to open my own gym at some point and give my knowledge I’ve gained in that 15 years in amateur and professional boxing to the younger generation.”

First classes his Central Area title as his personal highlight over the lifespan of his boxing career, as well as appearing on Sky Sports.

He said: “It’s crazy, next week it will all be a distant memory.

“It’s hard but I’ve got to be grateful.

“I’m getting out, I’m doing it on my terms.”