Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Fighting for the glory, the title and possibly even New Zealand pride, "Hot" Rod MacSwain (Strikeforce) got cage-bound with top Australian fighter Ian "Hitman" Bone (Body Torque) for the South Pacific Welterweight Title. Already one of the brightest stars on the New Zealand MMA stage, albeit a savagely competent and skilled one, MacSwain's name got a lot brighter with his victory over Bone at Supremacy 7.
Proving that you don't need to lose any blood to win an MMA fight, MacSwain forced the win in the first round with an armbar submission that seemed to infuriate the Australian. But there was nothing he could do, and the belt was strapped around MacSwain's middle with a flourish that set the crowd alight at the YMCA Stadium in Auckland.
Fighting top matches here at home, and across the Tasman in Australia, is one thing, but all signs point to a fight in Hong Kong for "Hot" Rod early next year. After that? Well, UFC doesn't seem unlikely if this bright young star keeps rising.
With Strikeforce onboard it was a good bet that the event would feature some of the best young fighters around. And they didn't disappoint. Well-matched fighters came together to choke, strike, punch, kick and submit to each other in true MMA style; adding another surge of energy to the building wave of MMA popularity that was captured by Sky Sport on the night.
Sam "Striker" Brown (Strikeforce) is another fighter riding that MMA wave. In defence of his NZ Heavyweight title, Brown struck down another challenger to his crown in a three round battle that also gave his opponent, Marc Creedy (Fightshop NZ), his due. Creedy gave as good as he got, but was put out by the referee as he struggled under the final assault.
If you weren't fortunate enough to hear the slap of connecting fists, feel the glare of the sodium lights, catch a glimpse of the stunning ring girls, or smell the sharp metallic scent of victory, then watch out for Sky Sport's coverage of Supremacy 7 early next year.
Of course if you can't wait that long, get the whole blow-by-blow report from our cage-side reporter Craig Bailey:
Antz Moala (Strikeforce) vs Rob Baxter (FightShop NZ)
Much of the opening round is spent on the ground. Baxter mounts Moala, but finds himself in a guillotine and has to struggle and slam his way free. He shoots on Moala, and is caught in another guillotine in the second, but escapes and manages to control the top position with his ground and pound. Both fighters seem intent on keeping it on the ground during the third, and Moala secures Baxter's back. Baxter is able to spin, and reverts back to pounding on Moala from the mount as well as attempting to finish Moala via submission.
Rob Baxter won by unanimous decision.
Spida Hunter (GroundWorx BJJ) vs Daniel Brady (Hibiscus MMA)
Brady comes out fast, but is taken down by a clinch. Hunter manages to pass guard and begins to rain down strikes from the mount position. After a sustained barrage, Brady has had enough and taps out.
Spida Hunter won by submission (strikes) in Round 1.
Jason Walker (Douglas BJJ) vs Vaughn Antonio (FightShop NZ)
They go to ground with Walker inside half guard. He is able to pass to side control, then mount, where he works his ground and pound. Walker is unleashing vicious punches and, although Antonio attempts to roll, he is not defending himself intelligently and the referee is forced to stop the contest.
Jason Walker won by TKO (strikes) in Round 1.
Forrest Goodwin (Strikeforce) vs Peter Clinch (FiGi Training/Honey Badgers MMA)
Clinch shoots early and manages a single leg takedown. From inside guard he attempts a choke, but Goodwin escapes and ends up on top where he fails to lock in a kimura. Both show very technical jiu-jitsu in jockeying for position. Clinch opens the second with another single leg takedown and the jiu-jitsu is marked by strategy. Clinch seems to be in dominant positions more, and he is able to get back control on Goodwin. From here he locks in a rear naked choke, and Goodwin taps.
Peter Clinch won by submission (rear naked choke) in Round 2.
Kaiwhare Kara-France (Strikeforce) vs Ray Karaitiana (Syndikit MMA)
Both are cautious early and the exchanges are evenly contested. Kara-France steps inside and uncorks a flurry of punches which have Karaitiana's back to the cage. Kara-France takes him down briefly before landing a hard head kick followed up by a flush punch, both of which appear to rock Karaitiana badly. Smelling blood, Kara-France swarms Karaitiana on the ground, and the referee stops the fight to prevent Karaitiana taking any more punishment.
Kaiwhare Kara-France won by TKO (strikes) in Round 1.
Mitch MacKay (FiGi Training/Honey Badgers MMA) vs Bjorn Reirson (FightShop NZ)
MacKay seems intent on taking the fight to ground and lands a takedown. Reirson attempts an armbar early; however, he is slammed to the mat by the pressing MacKay. MacKay shows his superior jiu-jitsu as he easily mounts Reirson, gets his back, and applies a rear naked choke before his opponent taps out.
Mitch MacKay won by submission (rear naked choke) in Round 1.
Roman Hunt (Strikeforce) vs Luke Jumeau (Incorporated Martial Arts)
Both exchange takedowns in the early goings, however, it is Hunt who ends up in Jumeau's guard. Jumeau attempts an armbar, but Hunt breaks free and is dropping shots from inside guard. He passes to side control, and Jumeau continues to look for submissions from his back. Hunt scores a couple of takedowns at the beginning of the second but, from guard, Jumeau locks in a tight triangle choke. As tough as he is, Hunt just can't escape the vice-like grip as the life is slowly squeezed out of him. Unable to hang on any longer, Hunt eventually taps.
Luke Jumeau won by submission (triangle choke) in Round 2.
Cole Davids (Strikeforce) vs Rob Joyce (FightShop NZ)
Davids comes out aggressively trying to land. He takes Joyce down and lands in his guard. Davids is really coming on strong with his vicious ground and pound game. He manages to posture up and drops sledgehammer right hands until the referee steps in to stop it.
Cole Davids won by TKO (punches) in Round 1.
NZ Heavyweight Title Fight
Sam Brown (Strikeforce) vs Marc Creedy (Fightshop NZ)
Champion Brown starts the bout letting go of his dynamite hands. Creedy, who only took the fight on short notice, looks to clinch early and pushes Brown up against the cage. However, he is unable to accomplish much from this position, other than not giving Brown enough room to punch. At the start of the second round, Brown drives Creedy across the ring and dumps him on his back. The champion works some ground and pound, before passing to half guard then mount. Creedy does well to escape, and reverts back to pushing Brown up against the cage. They begin to trade on their feet and Brown lands a hard jab and right hand. Creedy connects with a huge overhand right at the start of the third, but he is taken down and being mauled on the ground. Brown is just wailing on him from the top position, and the referee has seen enough.
Sam Brown won by TKO (strikes) in Round 3.
South Pacific Welterweight Title Fight
Rod MacSwain (Strikeforce) vs Ian "Hitman" Bone (Body Torque)
The feature bout of the night saw NZ champion "Hot" Rod MacSwain take on Australian and Rize Champion, Ian "Hitman" Bone. The well-muscled Bone lands a takedown early in the opening stanza. MacSwain manages to sweep, where he finds himself on top and attempts an armbar. Bone gives up his back briefly, before swivelling into Macswain's guard. He appears to be in control of the bout as he uses his ground and pound, until MacSwain is able to trap him in an armbar and torque Bone's limb until he can't take the pain and taps out.
Rod MacSwain won by submission (armbar) in Round 1.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
he final is upon us. The gods seem to be momentarily appeased, with sacrifices complete and 12 bodies broken before them. Two warriors still stand to compete for the prize. This night has been absolutely grueling for the competitors as all gladiators prayed for that ‘thumbs down' gesture from the crowd. Although the action has been short lived, the intensity of each bout made it seem like an age. And now here we were, at the point when those that have that extra gear are crowned champions among (door)men. The crowd is at a fever pitch as these two titans stare the other down before their ultimate battle. Moments before the bell, the air is so thick with anticipation that the crowd can hardly breathe.
Each is seemingly programmed to bring the intensity early. Va'asa takes his opponent down; however, Lenui's grappling is strong and he ends up in side control, where he exerts his ground and pound. Lenui is able to keep the fight standing up during the second. Exchanges are hard and both modern day gladiators drive the other on, aiming to test their resolve, their mettle and their will. The power in Lenui's hands seems to be a factor, however, as he is getting the best of the exchanges and landing the harder single shots.
Once in the third round, his energy seems to surge out even further; he comes forward with every exchange, while Va'asa appears to be running low on gas. These positions momentarily reverse in the fourth, with Va'asa pushing the pace until Lenui starts to whip leg kicks that visibly hurt and buckle his opponent. Both are still hurling hand grenades each other.
The final round seems to bring out the champion in both as they exchange strikes with fury. Exerting relentless pressure on each other, the combatants seem caught between a rock and a hard place as neither wants to give any ground. However, it is Lenui who will not relent as he is mechanically and maniacally hunting for that big shot, right until end.
The competitors stand exhausted as the judges tally up the cards. Each has left their soul in the ring, a gift for the spectators to qualify with their applause. With the verdict in, it is Felise "Fobfather" Lenui that is crowned your winner by unanimous decision, and the newest King of the Door.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Manny Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs)
Pacquiao’s main weapon in his ascent thought the weight divisions has been his speed. It magnifies his power and, by using his great footwork, he creates angles where his opponents either don’t expect to be hit from or simply can’t do enough to stop it. We only need to look at his sustained beat down of Miguel Cotto to see that, although he was the smaller fighter, he was still the one coming forward and appeared stronger throughout. Margarito has trouble with guys who can box and move, as shown in the first half of his bouts with Paul Williams and Cotto. Albeit, “The Punisher” is much taller, which would make boxing easier, however Pacquiao is twice as fast with far better footwork. And, although Pacquiao began as a pure puncher, under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, his boxing skills are very well rounded.
On top of his speed, Pac’s stamina makes him an absolute buzzsaw who fights just as furiously in the last round as he did in the opening. He is straight going after you son. In his last bout, against a covering Joshua Clottey, Pacquiao could have easily tapered off his attack and simply won rounds due to activity. This was not to be as “The Pac Man” threw over 1,200 punches endlessly trying to get him out of there.
Pacquiao also has the greater activity of late, fighting three guys (in Clottey, Cotto and Hatton) who were considered in the top five of their division at the time. In each case, he completely dominated them (especially his dicknailing of Ricky Hatton) without them so much as causing Pacquiao any type of concern.
Since being voted into a congressman in his native Philippines, Pacquiao has had to try and balance his responsibilities as a statesman with his career as a professional fighter. A lot of the talk coming directly out of the Pacquiao camp, is that Pacquiao has been distracted and not looking nearly in the form that he exhibited in previous camps.
Even though Pacquiao performed admirably against a large welter in the form of Joshua Clottey and stopped Oscar De La Hoya, he still hasn’t had anyone of size that brings the fight to him. This is EXACTLY what Margarito will do and we really haven’t seen Pacquiao have to fight going backwards in, well, as long as anyone can remember.
Compounding this is the fact that Pacquiao has never fought at a weight as high as 150, which is a lot of have to pack on a 5’6 ½’’ frame. So we don’t really know what that extra weight will do to his speed. He is certainly a small welterweight and hasn’t really fought a natural welter who will bring the fight to him. Now, he is fighting a natural 154 pounder who only knows how to bring the fight to you.
Antonio “The Tijuana Tornado” Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs)
Don’t expect anything fancy from Margarito, just for him to come at you. Guys have tried to box him, guys have tried to punch him but, with exception of Sugar Shane (and that bout must be viewed with an asterisks), nobody has been effective at keeping him off. Miguel Cotto boxed well for 5 rounds before Margarito was able to walk him down and simply break his will. Let me make this clear, Margarito broke Cotto with his pressure. To the point where Cotto twice took knees in order to stop the constant barrage that he was being put under.
Margarito’s chin has also been one of the best in the business. His knockout loss to Shane Mosley (probably) also had something to do with the fact that he, before the fight, had been busted with illegal handwraps. Facing the certainty of a (possible lifetime) ban, it is more than probably than he was completely distracted. Otherwise, he has simply walked through punchers such as Cotto, Kermit Cintron and Paul Williams without being in the faintest bit of trouble. Even though Pacquiao is a great puncher, he is small compared to what Margarito has been dealing with previously.
Further to this, Margarito was a large welter who really had to cut down to make 147. Expect him to be a lot stronger at 150 and he looks to be in fantastic condition. The only real concern is that he has overtrained for the bout.
A slow starter, Margarito has been known to give away the first half of the fights before his punch output accelerates. In the first round of the Cotto fight, Margarito threw 57 punches. By the ninth, he was throwing about 100 punches per round (including an incredible 130 shots in the seventh). He also holds the compubox record for punches thrown with 1,675 against Joshua Clotty but, as Shane Mosley has shown, if you attack him early (and to the body) you have a chance of getting him out of there.
Margarito has the hand and foot speed of an Egyptian mummy. He isn’t about to box you, will stand right in front of you and he should have a massive problem against a guy who has respectable power and can keep him on the move. It must also be noted that Margarito telegraphs his punches and anyone who can move effectively with decent hand speed, SHOULD be able to win the exchange before the “Tijuana Tornado” has even uncorked a shot.
Going back to the handwrap scandal, we must also speculate that this was a strategy employed by Margarito for the entirety of his career. Certainly, what he did to Cotto was inhuman and only adds fuel to the fire as well as the fact the Margarito seems to get stronger (as the plaster hardens) as the fight progresses. At this point, it is difficult to give Margarito credit for any of the wins he has accumulated and this fight will be the ultimate litmus test. The subsequent long layoff, due to suspension, should factor as Margarito has only one fight in close to two years in looking relatively unimpressve against C-list opposition Robert Garcia. This ring rust could be disastrous, as Pacquiao is likely to start fast and not let up.
My early draft of this read ‘Margarito KO’, and this is hard to deny. He is bigger, stronger, in shape and seemingly impossible for a guy Pacquiao’s size to keep off. BUT, much of Margarito’s career has been tarnished by the handwrap scandal – which looks to be a completely logical explanation for his performances. Even though Margarito is in shape, it is entirely possible that he has overtrained (and Manny has undertrained). Pacquiao should be able to pile up points early, move his way around the ring and use his hand speed to offset the oncoming pressure from Margarito (which will be great in the later rounds) on his way to a clear decision win.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I've always been very wary of sequels as, with the exception of the Godfather, they don't even come close to topping the original. This wasn't the case with Last Man Standing, however, as sponsors Lurkers Entertainment, DC Entertainment, JFC and NZ Pure put on a rip roaring show for the near capacity crowd. This would be my third Lurkers event, with each becoming more entertaining and more well-oiled than its predecessor. Host-with-the-most and birthday celebrant Puka Lynn would tonight be showcasing four professional fights and a women's bout, as well as the 8-man Last Man Standing tournament. A $5,000 cheque hung enormous over the ring, aimed to inspire the tournament contestants. And although I had satisfied my hunger for sustenance with press beer and press ham (which isn't the same as pressed ham so I'm told), my hunger for combat was still unabated.
As an appetizer, towering guitar virtuoso Kara Gordon kicked us off with incendiary fretwork that took us on a sonic journey through blues licks, classical and flamenco runs - plus some of the finest riffs ever lent to hard rock and heavy metal.
Cahla McKenzie squared off against Rachel Atkins in the women's boxing feature and opener. It was a rare sight, with both contestants seeming more suited to having guys fight over them rather than between themselves. The ring card boy looked divine (and was undoubtedly bikini zone waxed); however, it seemed like he was in for a short night as McKenzie came out winging hard hooks. She applied relentless pressure, and a monster right hand rocked Atkins to the point where the referee was forced to step in.
In the first Last Man Standing tournament bout, Dom Tepu used his timing and right hand to take a clear decision over Matt Ahern.
Immediately following, southpaw Ryan Atkins showcased his southpaw style and strength on his way to scoring two knockdowns (however only one was counted), and winning a unanimous decision over Arnoldus Buis.
The third Last Man Standing preliminary bout pitched Craig Thompson against Turner Ormsby. This was a difficult fight to score, however, Ormsby's pressure prevailed over Thompson's defensive nous and counterpunching, in the eyes of the judges.
The last of the preliminary Last Man Standing bouts was fought between Joseph Hill and Fredrick Kei. The smaller Kei did a good job of giving Hill angles and closing the distance, but it was Hill who landed the harder, cleaner punches.
The first professional bout on the card saw experienced amateur John Leighton dive into the pro game against Ben Villi. Leighton fought an extremely intelligent fight by using his height, taking advantage of openings and mounting a crippling body attack. He was simply a puzzle that Villi couldn't work out, becoming more confident as the bout progressed and being awarded a clear unanimous decision at the final bell.
The semifinal Last Man Standing bouts then began, with Ryan Atkins outlasting a stern challenge from Dom Tepu. Tepu came out aggressive in the opening round, but appeared to gas early in the second. Atkins' left hand then took over as he was able to consistently beat Tepu to the punch on his way to booking his place in the final.
Tuner Ormsby once again put on a display of pressure against Joseph Hill. Hill appeared to have his moments during the third round, and was hurt badly, but Ormsby couldn't close the show. This set up a southpaw versus pressure fighter final that wet the lips of all attending.
World ranked cruiserweight Soulan Pownceby put an absolute beating on Fale Siaola over four rounds. The granite-chinned Siaola soaked up all the punishment Pownceby could muster, but just didn't have enough in his arsenal to be dominant. Pownceby's class won him every round.
In further cruiserweight action, prospect Robert Berridge survived an early scare to dispatch Ronan Hunt in the opening stanza. Action was toe-to-toe with an early Hunt uppercut sending Berridge to the deck. But "The Butcher" survived this, as well as being hurt badly after, and rallied hard to put Hunt on the mat three times later in the round.
In the co-headliner, Shane "Chopper" Chapman stopped Monty "The Grim Reaper" Faeau in the fourth round. Chapman's early body attack set up hard overhand rights that gradually broke Faeau's will. "The Grim Reaper" had a huge moment in the third when he was able to visibly hurt Chapman. However, the opportunity was left wanting, and Faeau couldn't answer the referees count after a three punch combination in the following round.
In a much anticipated Last Man Standing final, Ryan Atkins squared off against Turner Ormsby. Atkins did a great job of sticking and moving to offset a frustrated Ormsby's pressure. The final round provided hard exchanges as both fighter's heads were snapped back; however, it was Atkins who prevailed with a majority decision win. The delight of the vocal East Auckland massive was enormous as the decision was read and one of their own became the latest Last Man Standing Champion.
-- Contact Andy Conlan to order images from specific fights on Andyconlan@gmail.com --
Cahla McKenzie WON by R1-KO vs Rachel Atkins
-- Last Man Standing Preliminary bouts --
Dom Tepu WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs beat Matt Ahern
Ryan Atkins WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs Arnoldus Buis
Turner Ormsby WON by MAJORITY DECISION vs Craig Thompson
Joseph Hill WON by MAJORITY DECISION vs Fredrick Kei
-- Professional bout --
John Leighton WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs Ben Villi
-- Last Man Standing Semi Final bouts --
Ryan Atkins WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs Dom Tepu
Turner Ormsby WON by MAJORITY DECISION vs Joseph Hill
-- Professional bouts --
Soulon Pownceby WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs Fale Siaola
Robert Berridge WON by R1-KO vs Roman Hunt
Shane Chapman WON by R4-KO vs Monty Faeau
-- Last Man Standing Final --
Ryan Atkins WON by MAJORITY DECISION vs Turner Ormsby
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The Global Financial Crisis has ushered in huge changes in the global economy which will impact everyone from individuals to governments. The financial world will never be the same as policy makers will attempt to stem disproportionate growth. The following is an overview of the ‘Old Normal’ (the world before the Global Financial Crisis) and the projected ‘New Normal’.
The Old Normal
The Old Normal has existed since WWII and accelerated dramatically over the last 25 years. Greed was allowed to run rampant, the winner took everything and consumers looked to maximize their position.
- Easy credit enabled spending and production above our means, the growth of money accelerates economic growth.
- Asset (like housing) values continually inflated enabling more credit.
- Free Trade, fueled by Comparative Advantage (a countries ability to produce a product with the highest relative efficiency given all the other products that could be produced).
- Massive population growth fueling economic growth and rising real (read: inflation adjusted) incomes.
- Governments got bigger as a consequence of free market activity which was becoming more deregulated (less rules).
Obviously the party was never going to last forever and, although we have had mini-recessions since (stock market crash etc), nothing has hit the global economy this hard since the Great Depression. Economists have predicted what some of the major features of the ‘New Normal’ will be…..
The New Normal
De-leveraging - Individuals, households, businesses and governments will cut their debt and save and invest more. This reduction in consumption will mean slower economic growth.
De-globalization – Countries will try and protect domestic industries by increasing tariffs, therefore eliminating cheaper imported goods. This should also breath new life into certain industries and create (some) new jobs although goods may be more expensive as local industry will not have comparative advantage. Again, economic growth is reduced as certain countries will not be able to take advantage of trade and investment opportunities.
Re-regulation – As a way to manage and reduce risks, governments will become more powerful and intrusive in business and financial markets. Financial institutions and banks will be hampered by the harsher credit conditions. Credit growth (the growth of money) is a pillar of economic growth therefore, once again, expect slow growth.
However, this New Normal is not without its issues…..
Issues with the New Normal
During the Global Financial Crisis, governments tried to stimulate the economy with “borrow and spend” fiscal packages. This debt will have to be paid back before costs set in and stall growth further. The private sector will need to produce the wealth needed to pay the governments debts. Governments could accelerate this through higher taxes but this further dampens consumption, saving and investment effectively crippling the private sector (which they desperately need).
Unemployment will also be a major factor as some industries have all but disappeared. Those affected will not be easy to re-employ and there are high costs associated in retraining and upskilling.
Other issues: Retirement, healthcare