Sunday, June 27, 2010

‘Boxing is Dead’ and other such fallacies: A reply

Boxing is dead. Or Dying. Such is the claim from the throngs of MMA fans with skulls on their t-shirts. So widespread is this claim, in fact, that these sentiments are echoed by ESPN’s resident MMA fanboi Jake Roosen and C-List celebrity and MMA commentator Joe Rogan. Hell, UFC president Dana White went on record and declared, among other things, that the UFC was bigger than boxing and the WWE combined (Dude, one of your major drawcards came from the WWE)!

I would like to go on record to state that, although I am fanatical about my love of the sweet science, I have a very healthy respect and love for MMA. On any given Sunday, it is the better match-up that will get the pay-per-view dollars and being a reasonable and logical individual, I am prepared to be objective about both.

MMA has done a fantastic job as establishing itself as a legitimate sport. From brutish beginnings its rate of technical advancement is unparalleled in the sporting world. The same skill set that dominated in the mid-90s will get you stopped in today’s contests. Since inception, the UFC has been brilliant in promoting its product with its pay-per-view events now rivalling boxing. UFC 100 had 1.6 million ppv buys, which is an outstanding figure. However, with its rise in popularity, there seems to be a schism between the two fraternities.

The division between, and the derision from, both camps seem illogical considering their genesis. A little research shows evidence of fistic sports appear in Sumerian relief carvings that date back to 3000BC. Evidence of gloved contests appear a millennium later in the Sardinian statues in the Prama mountains. Officially installed as an Olympic sport in 688BC, Homer’s Iliad (ca 675BC) contains the first account of a match. Disappearing after the fall of the Roman Empire, it wasn’t until 1743 that Broughtan’s rules , which were aimed more at the gambling fraternity that came with this illegal sport, that a clear set of unifying rules became apparent. Though still illegal in much of the Western world, The London Prize Ring Rules (1838) went further to define the sport, which still involved elements of grappling. It wasn’t until 1867, and the introduction of The Queensberry Rules (which included the use of gloves and weight classes), that the modern, civilised sport of the boxing existed.

It is generally held that the forms of ‘pankration’, a blend of boxing and wrestling, existed as far back as the second century BC and refined and introduced as an Olympic sport in 648BC. Abolished in 393AD (along with most gladiatorial combat and pagan rituals), it wasn’t until the 1880s that no-holds-barred type events resurfaced and stylistic match-ups were popular during the early 1900s. ‘Vale Tudo’ (Portuguese for “anything goes”) events existed in Brazil during the 1920s and mixed martial arts contests were being held in Japan in the 1970s. Mixed Martial Arts, as we know it, started in 1993 with the UFC and Pride promotions.

So, as you can see, it really wasn’t until the introduction of the Queensberry Rules that there was a clear separation between the two styles.

It seems strange that two sports, which are really brothers from different mothers, would have such a rivalry. Both sides seem fairly dismissive, however, the amount of smack being talked by the MMA fraternity is, at best, misguided and, at worst, obsessive. Being that most of the opinions are based in equal parts delusion and bullshit, I have decided to shed a little light on the major claims.

I really like Dana White, for it seems like he genuinely cares about his sport and he tries to make the best match ups possible. But, in this instance, I really want whatever drug he is on.

A look at PPV buy rates for 2009 does show that UFC 100 came out on top with 1.6 million buys and that, for that year , the UFC held 6 of the top 10 PPV events. However, this event also featured two of the sports top drawcards (in the form of Brock Lesnar, and George St. Pierre) in separate bouts. Brock Lesnar was also in a rematch after being upset by Frank Mir at UFC81. If you look at this in a similar context Tyson-Holyfield II (also a rematch between heavyweights after an upset) did 1.99 million ppv buys, without any type of co-feature. UFC 100 also fell well short of the ppv record, which was set in 2007, the 2.14 million ppv buys set by Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.

Boxing has put on 11 events with over one million ppv buys. Two bouts featuring Ricky Hatton, against Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, was the only instances where there were more ppv buys in the British market as opposed to the United States.

In comparison, the UFC has four events with over one million ppv buys (UFC 100, 66, 91, 92) since 2006. However, ALL of these events contained more than one headlining bout which is a testament to the great cards that the UFC puts on but, if the UFC was truly bigger than boxing and the WWE combined, wouldn’t they be able to get the same amount of buys with less?

Also, last September UFC103 conflicted with the Mayweather-Marquez bout. Which did better ppv numbers? The best count is Mayweather winning by 2:1.

And, after this, when UFC113 was due to conflict with the Mayweather-Mosley bout, what did Dana White do? Rescheduled it for a week later and gave some bogus excuse regarding a hand injury to Lyoto Machida. What kind of hand injury, the type that would keep you out of a major fight, would be fully healed in exactly seven days?

That’s right, bitch.

Then, instead of being graceful about it all, Dana took a cheap shot at boxing.

Whilst the UFC puts out cards with a more constant buy rate, boxing is like having a pet anaconda, it only occasionally will eat a big rat but, if you sleep on it, it may take one of your children.

And that’s not true for any other professional sport on the planet?

How about one of the most hyped bouts in UFC history in Rampage-Rashad? And, barring the Forrest Griffin fight, anything Anderson Silva has been involved in over the last few years? Isn’t he your pound for pound king, one of the top draws and, arguably, the face of the sport??

Being that performance in sporting events are not constant, as they depend wholly on the style of the competitors, it would be irresponsible to single out boxing for a variable which factors into every single sporting contest

Claim 3: There are too many sanctioning bodies and politics, you never really know who the champ is

I agree that there are too many sanctioning bodies, it is really just a way for people to charge their champions a fee to hold and compete for their belt.

At current count, there are 76 sanctioning bodies, with the four main ones (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO) counted as legitimate whilst the rest are lightly regarded (if at all) and make up the ‘alphabet soup’

Although not a sanctioning body, The Ring magazine usually provides the best ranking system.


Hold on. Who are the two best heavyweights in MMA? General opinion points to Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar. Ok. Well, if MMA is so fair and transparent, how come these two don’t just fight each other for heavyweight supremacy? Oh, that’s right, mixed martial arts doesn’t actually have one universal sanctioning body. So Strikeforce guys can’t fight UFC guys and so forth.

In what other professional sport in the world can the two best competitors not face each other? Yes, the two generally accepted best heavyweights in boxing won’t face each other either. But, they are brothers and are purely acting on the wishes of their mother.

Boxing can be awfully political and a champion, if he manoeuvres well enough, can successfully avoid challengers but, at least, champions can face each other (as long as the money is right).

Claim 4: Boxing is all about money

Umm…yeah. It’s a professional sport. Aside from that, issues of money have plagued what could have been the biggest match ups in the game (Pacquiao-Mayweather for one). It is a really shitty thing and a problem that mixed martial arts seems to have bypassed.

However, to say that it is not all about money is wrong.

Look at every UFC event, advertising is everywhere. Everywhere. It’s just a product of professionalism. Not only that, but fighters partake in the rank consumerism by wearing the latest UFC endorsed clothing line (“bogan couture”) during every one of their ring walks. As fighters are introduced, their corners hold up massive banners complete with all of their sponsors’ names on it. For what pray tell? Money.

Given, money can get in the way of match-ups in boxing but its combatants are generally free and aren’t corporate shills for the organisation.

Claim 5: Fighters control boxing whereas the MMA controls fighters

Agreed and I don’t really have much of an argument here.

If certain match-ups need to be made in the UFC, then it is almost a certainty that they will be made. Boxing, with it’s multiple sanctioning bodies, only tends to make the match-ups that the fighters agree to (which mostly involves the right money). If Pacquiao and Mayweather were in the UFC, it would be said and done by now.

There is only one major drawback……

It is exactly this sense of anticipation that makes boxing that much more exciting! If Tyson had fought Holyfield or Lewis in his prime then there would be no way it would sell that many tickets (although the result MAY have been slightly different). Ditto Mayweather-Mosley.

Can you honestly say that the success of UFC100 wasn’t partially due to the fact the Mir had beaten Lesnar (who was now champion) before? Same thing with UFC66, Chuck stopped Tito at UFC47 and won the Light Heavyweight title two fights later. Fans will then assume one of two things;

1. One of the fighters will have improved since their first time out.
2. With a title on the line, the outcome has the possibility to be dramatically different.

So even though the politics can be prohibitive, it makes the big matchups even bigger.

Claim 6: Boxing is boring, there is too much holding

What?! The same people who think boxing is boring are the kind of people who watch rugby or rugby league (most likely rugby league) for the fights and motorsport for the crashes. Straight bogans. Some people just have a different style, which doesn’t mean that they have an inferior skill level just that certain strategies better fit their strengths or their opponent’s weaknesses.

As the old adage goes, styles make fights.

There are many ‘lay and pray’ fighters in mixed martial arts i.e. guys who work into dominant positions but do not attempt to end the fight. Their style is nowhere near aesthetically pleasing but it wins fights within the rules of their sport. Even fighters who rely on their dominant wrestling to control their opponents provide mostly boring contests. In the end, aren’t they just ‘holding’ anyways?

I hate to reiterate a point but Anderson Silva’s bouts of late have been anything but exciting. In fact, as illustrated in his last bout, he hardly even engages his opponents and throws tantrums when they won’t fight his fight.

UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar utilises his size to smother opponents and hammer people out, which is really just a show of size over skill, is not at all aesthetically pleasing and is as less as a spectacle as the Klitchkos using their size.

A very close friend of mine was watching a boxing fight when the fighters clinched. He exclaimed, “why doesn’t he just choke him out”? The very obvious answer is that IT ISNT IN THE RULES OF THE SPORT. It would be just like watching mixed martial arts and, when faced with a grappling stalemate, asked “Why doesn’t he just shoot him with a gun?”

The extra dimensions that mixed martial arts provide do open new offensive opportunities and avenues to win the contest, but there still going to be instances when a fighter is going to disrupt his opponents offence by providing no opportunity to progress.

Claim 7: MMA has made Boxing (as a skill set) obsolete

The introduction of grappling and a ground game has made MMA the only mainstream multi-dimensional combat sport there is. The proficiency in wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and boxing make mixed martial artists the most skilled and, probably, the most highly conditioned athletes on the face of the planet.

But to say that it has made boxing obsolete?

Then why is the corner stone of every fighter’s stand up still boxing?

Why are the pound for pound best mixed martial artists hiring boxing trainers instead of mma striking coaches? Yup, B.J. Penn, Anderson Silva, George St. Pierre (that’s the top three pound for pound fighters in the sport), Andrei Arlovski, Tito Ortiz (among others), ALL have enlisted the help of boxing trainer Freddie Roach.

And why, if their skillset is that bad, is a 48 year old boxer, with NO MMA EXPERIENCE AT ALL (whose last significant fight was in 2002) able to knock a former (as recent as 2007) UFC heavyweight champ out cold (COLD!) despite the fact they have no grappling skill whatsoever? Would that, at least, point to the fact that boxing is still a competitive form of striking….just not a multi-dimensional form of combat.

Yep, Sylvia was severely out of shape and past his used by date. But, Ray Mercer was 15 years older and had been out of the competitive fight game for a lot longer. To date, this remains the only knockout (due to strikes) on Sylvia’s ledger.

Claim 8: MMA has better cards

This is one point that I simply can not argue. The UFC puts out consistently strong cards. These are also great value for money as, although there may be 5-6 main bouts, if any of these end early the UFC places an (originally) non-televised bout to fill in the time. Compare this to boxing (with 4-5 televised bouts) whom only show the intended fights without any supplementation if one finishes early.

The major problem seems to be the money involved. The majority of the revenue generated is split between the headlining combatants with little left for the undercard fighters. The disparity between the headliners and undercard fighters revenue is far more pronounced in boxing than in MMA. But, as a sport, boxing is a lot deeper due to its history and, the more competitive something gets through increased participation, the more this disparity is going to exist.

There is certainly ignorance from both camps, from some high profile people who should really be a lot smarter. Why you can’t concurrently be pro-MMA and pro-boxing is beyond me. For, it just seems like one-eyed ignorance as most of the problems highlighted by their proponents exist in their own, if not every, sport. Both are such great sports and we must be in a unique time in history when combat sports are so available. I guess it’s easier just to hate on boxing these days, there is always generational defiance and boxing may seem like an institution of our fathers whilst MMA became professional in our generation. Like an adolescent teen, there seems to be resentment toward where things all came from. But, wearing a ‘Tapout’ shirt (or a black zip up hoodie with a skull on it) and sitting in your room listening to nu-metal doesn’t make you an expert on these things and, all I ask, is that people grow up and educate themselves to a point where they can appreciate a skill set without having to be diametrically opposed to something which is so closely related. It doesn’t make you less of an MMA fan if you appreciate boxing, it makes you more of a sports fan.


*Note: The original can be found at

June 27, 2010
From The Auckland Boxing Association

The A.B.A was packed full of MMA enthusiasts for ICNZ11. The first ICNZ card was held at the Auckland Boxing Association in November 2007 and, due to the surging popularity of mixed martial arts, they have always been a rousing success. The latest instalment would prove no different as the A.B.A was bursting at the seams!

The patrons would be delivered 12 high class mixed martial arts bouts which included 7 ‘B Class’ bouts, 4 ‘A Class’ bouts (all 3*3 minute rounds) and then the ICNZ Featherweight title contest between Doug “Dynamite” Higgins and Adam “Soldier” Calver which would be contested over 5*3 minute rounds.


Daman Saini (Carnage MMA) v. Tristan Watson (Maai Hyoshi)

Round 1

Saini comes out pawing with the jab but looks jittery. Watson fires a leg kick and shoots for the clinch. They both wrestle but Watson manages to take him down. From there he shows great jiu-jitsu as he manages to transition into the mount. Saini tries to tie up Watson’s arms but his grappling is proving to be ineffective. Saini rolls over, to his detriment, as Watson now has back control. A couple of softening blows later and Watson has a rear naked choke. Saini taps out with 1:47 left in the opening round.

Daniel Pritchard (Integrated Fighting) v. Richard Wong (Fury MMA)

Round 1

The match starts furiously and Wong manages a take down, he works himself into a mount. He escapes Pritchard’s guillotine but finds himself back in guard. He works back into the mount but Pritchard bucks and they end up in the ropes where the referee has to stand them up, narrowly escaping a rear naked choke. Wong immediately goes for the clinch and lands a right hand as they break. Pritchard rallies with strikes as Wong appears to tire. Wong attempts another takedown and gets into his opponents half-guard before the round ends.

Round 2

Wong lands a right hand and takes Pritchard down right off the bat. He is, by far, the superior grappler and he works back into half-guard. The referee stands them back up as they move into the ropes and a huge Pritchard right hand buckles Wong. They clinch and Wong attempts to deliver some knees. Pritchard shows the power in his hands and is hurting Wong, who responds by shooting for the legs and eventually takes Pritchard down. The referee gets them back on their feet where Pritchard drops another right hand. Wong achieves a take down but Pritchard sweeps from the guard and the bell saves Wong from Pritchard, who has mounted him and winging shots.

Round 3

Round 3 starts and Pritchard’s hands are on fire. A one-two makes Wong aware of the striking disparity. Pritchard drops Wong with strikes and Wong’s resolve is starting to look thin. Wong gets another takedown but is lacking in energy to do anything offensive. He tries for the back and Pritchard is slippery in escape. The bout ends and Wong wins a majority decision with his superior grappling and successful takedowns.

Geoff Speedy (Journey MMA) v. Danny Wairasi (Faith MMA)

Round 1

Wairasi comes out with fire in his belly and loads up a right hand. Wairasi’s hands are wrecking balls and another right has Speedy dazed. Even though Speedy is responding, Wairasi is just throwing everything with bad intentions. Another dynamite right hand drops Speedy and the referee has seen enough. An impressive Wairasi wins by big KO in 33 seconds of the opening stanza.

Brayden Goldring (Team Submission) v. Gareth Carter (AMMA)

Round 1

Goldring lands kicks to the legs and mid and eludes a takedown attempt. They clinch and Carter pushes them to the ropes where he works for a takedown, Goldring’s resistance is strong but eventually succumbs to the attempts. Carter transitions from side control to north-south and works for an arm bar. This is stifled, and Goldring gets back onto his feet. Carter clinches and is going for another take down. From his back, Golding attempts an arm bar but Carter escapes and finishes the round in his half guard.

Round 2

Golding gets home with a jab but Carter responds with a right hand lead. They clinch and both look for a takedown. Goldring rolls onto his stomach with Carter on top. Carter works back into Goldring’s guard, postures and starts raining down blows as the round ends, he is clearly the dominant fighter on the ground at this point.

Round 3

Carter starts the third by going for the takedown but can’t get it. They clinch and Carter takes him off his feet and slams him to the mat where he is in side control. He transitions into north-south and attempts another arm bar. Golding escapes and goes after an arm bar of his own with everything. He extends Carters arm but is lifted and slammed. Now in Golding’s guard, Carter works his ground’n’pound game but can’t seem to progress into anything more dominant. He postures and is throwing the kitchen sink as the round ends.

The judges’ scorecards read a majority draw, meaning a deciding round will be fought much to the delight of the appreciative audience.

Round 4

Carter shoots but is caught in a standing guillotine. A huge Carter slams and the crowd erupts. Carter goes back to his ground’n’pound then transitions, first into half guard and then north-south where he tries for another arm bar. Golding escapes and returns the attempt before the round ends.

In a hugely crowd pleasing performance, Carter wins a majority decision.

Super Middleweight:
Paora Smith (Integrated Fighting) v. Dean Gray (Fightclub Taranaki)

Round 1

Gray shoots early but is caught in a guillotine figure-four. Smith must be a mechanic as he is just wrenching Gray’s neck. Gray drops Smith on his back but can’t escape the python like grip. The referee steps in and Gray is completely out. Paora Smith wins as the referee stops the fight with 2:13 left in the first round.

Super Welterweight:
Bash Tahu (Independent) v. Toby Fitzpatrick (Ground Control, Hamilton Hawks)

Round 1

Wasting no time, Fitzpatrick shoots and lands a takedown. Tahu has no answer for Fitzpatrick’s grappling and, in blink, he is subjected to side-control, north-south and then is tapped out with an arm bar. Fitzpatrick shows his awesome jiu-jitsu skills in making Tahu tap out in 36 seconds.

Eddie Davis (East Coast BJJ) v. Ev Ting (AMMA)

Round 1

Ting immediately takes Davis down and mounts. He hurriedly attempts an arm bar but Davis gets back to his feet. Davis shows good hands as they both exchange. They clinch where Ting lands a couple of knees, he has Davis in the corner and Davis is attempting a guillotine. Ting lands a kick to the leg but is missing the fancier kicks in his arsenal. Ting slips a punch and lands punches to the body and head. Davis takes him to the deck and is working for his back but Ting sweeps into side-control.

Round 2

Both land punches at the beginning of the second and they clinch in close. Ting takes Davis down, is in his half-guard and working his ground and pound. Davis escapes and rolls into side control. The referee stands them up but they immediately clinch. The both fall onto the matt where Davis ends up in Ting’s guard. Ting attempts a triangle choke but Davis works free and they both stand up. Ting whips another leg kick and gets a take down.

Round 3

They both clinch straight away and Ting bulls him against the ropes and lands in side control as it goes to ground. Ting gets caught in Davis half-guard but transitions to side-control and postures up. Davis escapes, they both stand up where Ting lands another stinging leg kick. They again go to ground after a clinch where Davis attempts an armbar. He is still trying to free Ting’s arm as the bout comes to an end.

The referee’s cards all read a draw and a fourth round is called.

Round 4

They exchange hands immediately and Ting lands a right of note. From a clinch, they tumble to the deck where Davis mounts Ting. Ting is very aware of Davis attempts to get his back and manages to sweep into guard. Davis attempts a triangle choke, where he is lifted and slammed. Ting just can’t loosen Davis’ grip and pushes Ting’s head onto the matt. The referee deducts a point which may prove to be vital in such a close contests. Ting tries to make up for it by landing a right hand and taking Davis down from a clinch but it is simply not enough as Davis comes away with a unanimous decision.


Simon Mence (Huntly Kickboxing) v. Andrew Craven (GroundControl)

Round 1

Mence comes out furiously winging shots and looks like he is simply trying to overpower Craven. It goes to the deck, with Mence in Craven’s guard but the latter, a purple belt, seems comfortable on his back. Mence is attempting to posture and drop punches but not much is landing. Craven gets back to his feet but Mence, the far better striker, catches him and sits him back down. On the deck, Craven gets in Mence’s guard and then transitions to mount where he starts dropping punches. Unfortunately, there is not much heat in Craven’s hands. Mence gives up his back and Craven attempts a rear naked choke. Mence escapes, and manages to get to his feet where he takes Craven down. He backs off Craven and implores him to stand and trade with him as the round ends.

Round 2

Mence starts the second showing all the fire he has in his fists. Craven ties him up, tosses him to the mat and attains mount but Mense is hanging onto his neck which prevents him posturing up. Mense uses his hips to sweep and ends up in Craven’s guard, who himself sweeps and ends up in side-control. Mense rolls over exposing his back whilst Craven has worked himself onto his back and is trying to soften Mense up with punches so that he can apply a rear naked choke. He just can’t extend Mense enough. They both get to their feet however Craven knows that he is outgunned. Mense is back to winging heavy shots but nothing of note lands as Craven covers up and sneaks in a lazy right counter. Mense responds with a leg kick and left hand upstairs. Craven connects with another right hand but, due to his obvious lack of power, it is of little effect. Mense shoots and Craven takes him to ground, who ends the round in side-control.

Round 3

Mense begins the third by landing a right hand after missing a jab. He lands some more wild punches which has Craven covering. Craven does the wise thing and takes Mense to the ground where he is in his opponents guard and can drop punches. Mense’s defence means that Craven can attain mount however his follow up barrage of punches have little on them.

All three judges scorecard read a draw, so a fourth and deciding round will be contested.

Round 4

Craven shoots for a takedown but is met with knees. The fight goes to the ground with Mense on top. Mense gets back to his feet and Craven has a hold of one leg, looking to take it back to the deck whilst Mense punishes him with punches. Craven finally brings Mense down where he gets on his back and starts throwing punches. You really wish Craven’s punches had a little more heat, he would have surely have ended the fight as he was always in great position. Mense is trying to work out of the mount but is eating shots for his efforts. Craven wins unanimous decision on the back of his dominant grappling position in the fourth round.

Super Middleweight:
Nassah Steed (East Coast BJJ) v. Phillip Lindsay (Gracie Oceania Dunedin)

Round 1

Steed wastes no time in dishing out a huge right hand which has Lindsay in trouble. Lindsay shoots for the takedown and is caught in a guillotine but he breaks free and ends up on his back in the guard position. They both make it to their feet briefly before the fight returns to the mat. Steed is in Linday’s half-guard until Lindsay sweeps himself into his opponents guard. Steed positions himself for an arm bar and Lindsay postures out of it. Lindsay now has side-control which he transitions into mount, then back-control and attempts a rear naked choke. Steed manages to turn himself around but he is mounted and takes a couple of shots. Steed can’t escape the mount and gives up his back as the round ends.

Round 2

Both go to the ground where Lindsay goes from side-control to north-south. Steed gives up his back where Lindsay attempts sink in a choke. He spends some time on Steeds back finding openings to land punches. Lindsay is able to isolate an arm, applies an arm bar and Steed taps out with 46 seconds left in the round.

Super Lightweight:
Simo Postings (Team Submission) v. Mark Andrew (Fightclub Takanini)

Round 1

Both trade hands early and Andrew has the straighter shots that utilize his advantage in height and reach. “Slammin’ Simo” shoots for a takedown, picks Andrew up and slams him to the mat. Postings is in Andrew’s half guard where Andrew unsuccessfully tries to sweep. Postings is back on his feet and drops a big right on Andrew before getting back in his guard. He wings looping shots from on top to end the round.

Round 2

The both clinch early and Postings throws wild punches on the break before shooting, picking Andrew up and slamming him. Postings is attempting to posture up for much of the round however the defensively minded Andrew is hanging onto his neck. He manages to posture briefly but Andrew is covering and hangs onto Postings when he gets near.

Round 3

Andrew gets home with straight shots before then clinch and he is on top when it goes to the ground. Postings attempts to stand up but Andrew is hanging on and clinching. They bounce off the ropes and when they land on the mat Postings is in Andrew’s half-guard where they remain. It’s difficult for Postings to progress with any offense as Andrew is only playing defence. So defensive, in fact, that it’s difficult to score any of the rounds for him as he is just not being proactive in engaging. Postings lands some knees to the body on the ground before ending up back in Andrew’s half-guard. Postings postures up and gets home a big right hand at the bell. Even with Andrew’s defence stifling most of the action, Postings gets a unanimous decision due to his takedowns and proactivity.

Note: Postings did not make weight and was deducted a point as a result

Super Middleweight:
Kingi Williams (East Coast BJJ) v. Nick Daly (Southern Tribes)

Round 1

Daly loads a right hand to say hello and he is the stronger fighter in the early exchanges. He uses his extensive wrestling (as a former New Zealand rep) to control Williams early. Williams wriggles free and is back on his feet but brought back down to the deck courtesy of a great double-arm overhead suplex. Daly ends up in Williams’ guard and lands right hands to the body and head however this is caught by his opponent and Williams attempts an arm bar. Daly has some novel escapes and uses his knees from side-control.

Round 2

The both clinch at the start of the second and Daly tags him with a right when they break. Daly’s wrestling is really keeping him dominant and he transitions from half-guard to north-south. From any position Daly looks comfortable and dangerous and he attempts to mount Williams who catches him in a Kimura. Daly resists and wriggles free however now Williams has mounted him and raining shots down. For the first time in the bout, Daly looks without an answer.

Round 3

The both clinch and Daly attempts a hip toss. He wrestles Williams to the ground and is on his back. Williams’ jiu-jitsu comes through as he rolls out of it but takes punches in the process and is now in Daly’s half-guard. Daly attempts to roll but Williams gets his back. Daly sweeps himself into his opponents guard then, in a flash, Williams swings his leg over Daly’s shoulder isolating an arm and applies an arm bar. He extends himself, and Daly’s arm, which is too much pressure and Daly taps out with only 8 seconds left in the bout.


Adam Calver (Fightshop) v. Doug Higgins (SMAC)

Round 1

Former New Zealand kickboxing champ Higgins tries to assert his pedigree early with stinging kicks to Calver’s legs and mid. They exchange punches and Higgins looks the far sharper striker. They clinch however Higgins hip tosses Calver and ends up in his guard. Calver tries for a triangle choke but can’t sink it in as Higgins lifts him clear off the matt and slams him until he lets go. On their feet, Higgins showcases the power in his hands before taking down Carver hard. Higgins is back on his feet and lands a big right hand on a downed Higgins. Both stand where Higgins, once again, lets the dynamite in his knuckles do the talking. The disparity in class is more than apparent at the end of the round.

Round 2

Carver starts the second by whipping a pair of leg kicks. He eats a right hand for his trouble. Higgins replies with his own leg kick before returning to his fists. Why Carver continues to strike with this man is beyond me, if anything, you can’t say that he is not game. Higgins gets home with a left that staggers Carver back to the ropes, Higgins leaps in with a flying knee which hurts Carver and has him buckling against the ropes. The follow up assault politely relieves Carver of his senses and the referee steps in. With a powerful performance, “Dynamite” Doug Higgins wins the ICNZ Featherweight title with a second round knockout. Official time was 52 seconds.

Another quality event at the A.B.A! All fights provided the patrons with excitement and there wasn’t a dull moment. Danny Wairasi was particularly impressive on debut and has the kind of hand power to be very successful. One can only feel sorry for the future opponents that face him when he has had some experience in the ring. Phillip Lindsay hung tough against some heavy fire and managed to submit his opponent in showcasing some great jiu-jitsu and Doug Higgins looked near unstoppable in destroying Adam Calver. Higgins looked the most rounded fighter of the night and will undoubtedly be savouring his time as champion. Congratulations.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Steel-ing The Show: A Night At ‘Fists of Steel’

*Note: The original can be found at

At the Auckland Boxing Association

The Auckland Boxing Association was near packed, the “Vegas” lights were rigged up and a couple of New Zealand’s finest ring girls were brought in for the AKOS Boxing promoted Fists of Steel. We were to be treated to fourteen quality 3*2 minute bouts. As the stadium filled, DJ Cue kept the crowd feeling nice with his blend of mixes.

Before the festivities were due to begin, R’n’B heavyweights Adeaze provided their own brand of sweet, soulful flavour and the crowd were now adequately prepared for the night of pugilistic brilliance before them.

Bout One:
Super Middleweight
Steven Walsh v. Keiran Stongman

The bout begins with Strongman utilizing his reach by employing the jab and he manages to catch Walsh with a lead hook. Steven comes back with a left hand of his own but gets tagged with a couple of overhand rights that bloodies his nose. Walsh has some success late in the first round with his body attack but his punches are a little wild. The second round begins and Strongman ducks a Walsh blow and lands a left hand, Kerian’s movement and sharper punching is allowing him to take control of the bout. Walsh manages to get a right hand through but Strongman is generally winning the exchanges by getting off first. Walsh’s face is fairly bloodied at the end of the round. The start of the third sees Strongman landing with far more authority and he manages to slip blows and counter effectively with both hands. He traps Walsh on the ropes, flurries and the referee issues a standing 8 count. They both exchange hard right hands to end the fight. Strongman comes away with a split decision win.

Bout Two:
James Anthony v. Craig Thomson

Anthony starts the bout fast and lands a left hook. He is hurriedly pushing the pace while Thomson seems calm and willing to weather the early storm. Thomson begins stalking and manages to get Anthony on the ropes but he is able to dance away. James traps him on the ropes and unloads several punches but most of them are being blocked. He lands an overhand right before the round ends. Anthony again comes out fast in the second but his efforts are caught on Thomson’s guard. Craig rips him to the body and uses his jab to corner Anthony. Anthony seems to be tiring and Thomson lands a counter right hand. This drop in work rate allows Thomson to find his distance and rhythm. Thomson lands a counter left at the start of the third that hurts Anthony. Seeing this, Craig comes on hard and he is able to land at will, including a great right hand rip to the body. Everything Thomson is throwing is meaningful and effective and Anthony looks gassed as the bout ends. Thomson wins with a majority decision.

Bout Three:
Stefan Paladin v. PJ Leuii

Leuii’s starts the bout bouncing on his feet and he moves very well, even better when you consider the significant height and weight advantage he has on Paladin. He lands a great 1-2 and it appears that he also has the better hands, particularly his lead. Paladin lands a right hand near the end of the round. Paladin starts the second with a big right hook and Leuii returns the favour with his left. Stefan is gritty in attempting to come forward but he has to eat shots on the way inside where he lands a right hand. He manages to back Leuii up and unload but to little effect. Leuii is able to hold his hands low, and jab effectively, but Paladin lands a right hand and he reverts to using his reach and distance. The third round begins and PJ lands a hard jab, Paladin is able to duck the next but Leuii is using it to great effect. Leuii finds himself on the ropes where Paladin attacks and gets Leuii’s attention but PJ engages and backs him up. The bout finishes and Leuii comes away with a hard fought unanimous decision.

Bout Four:
Light Heavyweight
Shance Duff v. Joe Bryant

Southpaw Duff lands two jabs to start the bout. Bryant seems composed as he works out the switch-hitting style in front of him and gets a right hand through. Duff is backed on the ropes and eats a left hand. Bryant starts the second stalking and trying to set up Duff with his jab. Shance is getting a little wild with his shots and his chin is in the air. Joe sees this and drops a huge right hand that sits Duff down. He is able to continue after the 8 count however the round ending saves him from a follow up assault. Joe lands another big right hand at the start of the third as well as a left. Duff is breathing very hard and, with Bryant coming on, he is issued with another 8 count. Bryant lands a left hook but Shance scores with a right to end the bout. Bryant’s dominant display earns him a unanimous decision.

Bout Five:
Super Middleweight
Josh White v. Telu Gafa

Gafa lands an early left hook and he has the faster hands, even with White firing first. He lands a big right as White uses his movement to give him angles. Gafa’s parries well and is able to counter. The second round begins with Gafa parrying and countering anything White throws. As game as White is, it must be frustrating to have to your aggression turned against you like that. Gafa once again parries, flurries, and a right hand gets through. Gafa lands another right after parrying and he is landing effective blows at every exchange. The third round once again sees Gafa’s defensive parrying and he lands right hands and 1-2’s. Josh just can’t work him out but get points for being proactive in engaging. He lands a right hand near the end of the round but it is not enough as Gafa gets the unanimous nod.

Bout Six:
Light Heavyweight
Andrew Holland v. Vinnie Pavlovich

Southpaw Pavlovich starts aggressively, landing left hand leads. His awkward style puzzles Holland, which allows him more time to land straight left hands. Pavlovich does a great job of controlling the distance with straight shots and he lands another hard left on the back of a combination. Holland eats another huge left hand as the round ends. Pavlovich clearly knows a good thing when he is onto it and continues to drop left hands. He lands a 1-2 and then a 2-1 but the tough Holland isn’t discouraged even though he is being overwhelmed. A 2-1-2 has Holland in trouble and he receives a standing 8 from the referee. The start of round three once again sees Pavolovich having major success with left-hand leads. Holland hooks to the body but Vinnie is still landing hard shots. Pavlovich continues to land at will and the ref step in the save a bloodied Holland from further punishment. Pavlovich gets the TKO victory.

There is a break in the action and two spectators are brought to the ring. Both seem merry from the festivities and they are fitted with oversized gloves. We are told that they will engage in a one-minute bout with the winner receiving a pair of boxing gloves signed by New Zealand boxing legend Sean Sullivan. The action begins and our nameless combatants waste no time. The blue corner manages to land a right hand straight off the bat but the red corner is coming forward firing a salvo of straight punches. The size of the gloves make both dodging and co-ordination impossible. The red corner is far busier and they start to tire as the “courage” starts to wear off. The bout ends and the crowd’s applause makes the red corner the goodwill victor.

Adeaze provides us with a jazzy interlude before the action is ready to resume.

Bout Seven:
Light Bantamweight (Youth)
Vanvan Cagney v. Jonny Curle

The much larger Cagney comes forward at the beginning of the bout however Curle uses good movement and angles to offset the size differential. Vanvan is throwing punches but not using his reach effectively as Curle lands a 1-2-1 combo. Jonny is able evade punches and Cagney reverts to using his jab and utilizing his height advantage. Vanvan is clearly the stronger fighter and his punches are getting through. Curle starts the second using his movement and he does a great job of closing the distance as he ducks a punch and lands a four punch combo. He again gets inside and lands a left hook. Cagney starts the third throwing the jab, backs Jonny up and lands a couple but Curle dances his way out of danger. Cagney is using distance well and he is able to back Curle onto the ropes and unload and Curle ties him up to end the bout. In a greatly entertaining bout, Vanvan Cagney comes away with a close decision.

Bout Eight:
Light Middleweight
Te Rau Cagney v. Ian Stead

Stead walks into an early right hand but manages to back Cagney up and rip two right hooks to the body. Stead continues to punish Cagney’s mid and has the harder punches, as he is able to hurt Cagney. Ian starts the second with a 1-2 and Cagney is just getting beaten to the punch. Cagney lands a combination that starts low and ends high and covers up when Stead punches. Stead lands a right hand then goes back to the body and Cagney gets home with a left. The action is all Stead however but Cagney is gutsy in wanting to exchange. Te Rau lands a double jab and cross but Stead replies with a right hand. Cagney is aggressive at the beginning of the third and lands a pair of right hands but he is backed up and takes more punishment to the body that forces the referee to step in with an 8 count. Sensing victory, Stead comes on strong and Cagney lands a right hand but he is simply being overwhelmed. The bout ends and Stead gets the unanimous decision.

Bout Nine:
Light Heavyweight
Ropata Awheto v. Darrell Suasua

Both start cautiously until Suasua fires to the body and head. He ducks the reply and lands a right hook. Awheto looks to establish the jab but eats a right. He lands a hard jab and right hand with Suasua coming forward. Suasua gets right down to business in the second, landing a right lead. This spurs on Awheto, who is only happy to engage and drops a right of his own. Suasua lands four solid hooks, the first of which buckles Awheto and he has to move away from danger. Darrell keeps bringing the hooks as two lefts get through. Awheto, although taking hard hooks, manages to return fire even through Suasua is the stronger puncher. The third begins and a left-then-right hook floors the off balance Awheto. Suasua brings an unstoppable barrage of deadly hooks and implores Ropata to engage, Awheto obliges and, several hooks later, he is forced to take a standing 8 count. The crowd is amazed at Awheto’s resiliency, even when he is outgunned he just doesn’t know how to give up. Suasua goes home with a unanimous decision.

Bout Ten:
Light Middleweight
Sam O’Loughlin v. Adrian Bentley

The first round begins and both measure with their jab. O’Loughlin lands a lead hook and appears the sharper puncher. Bentley flurries to the body but O’Loughlin backs away and lands a leaping left hook. Adrian comes back with a right hand but O’Loughlin’s schooled left hook is finding its mark. O’Loughlin starts the second fast and lands a right hand a triple jab. He lands another right but Bentley backs drives him across the ring and returns the favour. O’Loughlin with a 1-2 and his left hand, in general, is impressive. Adrian is throwing but his opponent covers well. O’Loughlin’s touches him with the left hook again as the round closes. Both come out fast for the final stanza and O’Loughlin gets home an overhand right. Bentley brings hooks to the head and body, which are diffused by another lead hook. Adrian goes back to the body but is forced to eat another couple lead hooks and a hard right. Still game, Bentley continues his assault to the body but he can’t do enough. O’Loughlin wins a unanimous decision.

Bout Eleven:
Darragh “The Bulldog” Burke v. Sene Leaitua

The bell rings and both combatants collide like runaway locomotives. Burke is throwing the kitchen sink at Leaitua however a left hook catches him. He calms and begins moving around the ring but takes another left hook. “The Bulldog” throws a wild right but he still can’t dodge the hook. Leaitua continues his hook assault on the retreating Burke to close the round. Burke opens the second with a 1-2-1, then moves around and jabs to set the distance. Leaitua is like a dog with a bone and continues, and lands, with the hook. Burke’s jabs just can’t disrupt Leaitua’s offense and they exchange right hands. Wild action has the crowd on their feet, as this is exactly the type of spectacle they came to see. A huge Leaitua right hook puts Burke on the deck but he gets up before the round finishes. Wild action continues in the third as both resort to wide shots. Leaitua is exerting his will, in the form of hooks, on Burke who responds with a jab and a clubbing right. In an instant, Burke lands a hook of his own, then another, which has Leaitua stumbling. The bout ends before Burke can capitalize and Leaitua comes away with a wildly entertaining unanimous decision.

Bout Twelve:
Light Heavyweight
Alex Rawiri v. William Pui

Rawiri opens the bout with an overhand right and Pui digs to the body. This display shows their intentions early as Rawiri looks for more overhands whilst Pui wants to bang his mid. A Pui right hand closes the opening stanza. Pui starts the second with a right and then a hook to the body, Rawiri is looking a little weary and he wears a Pui right hand then a lead hook. Another Pui right hand is followed soon after by a left hook however Rawiri responds with a right of his own. Alex lands another overhand right but Pui flurries and hurts him with a right. The third begins and Rawiri gets home with a left hook. Pui comes back with a right and then digs to the body. Rawiri goes with another overhand and eats a right. Pui ups the aggression, corners Rawiri and fires to the body. He finishes the fight by unloading hooks onto a covering Rawiri. Pui wins by unanimous decision.

Bout Thirteen:
Light Middleweight
Michael Tuasaga v. Hayden Bentley

Tuasaga begins by showing off his hands in landing jabs, crosses and parrying Bentley’s shots. He loads up a hook but Bentley covers as Tuasaga puts everything behind every shot. Bentley lands a right hand in the second and Tuasaga throws wild hooks. Both slug and Tuasaga lands a pair of powerful right hands. Bentley lands his own right as Tuasaga appears to tire, he is still wild but his punches have lost most of their steam. He lands an overhand right to no effect. Bentley lands another right and both swing until the bell. Tuasaga hasn’t recovered in the third and continues to unleash untamed punches. He lands a few looping shots, but his energy is completely spent. Seeing his opponent breathing heavily, Bentley ups his work-rate which forces Tuasaga to take an 8 count. Bentley continues to pour it on, wobbles Tuasaga and the referee steps in for another standing count before the round ends. The two knockdowns give Bentley a unanimous decision.

Bout Fourteen:
Middleweight Exhibition
Ryan Tauaika v. Jamie Waru

Tauaika opens with a right to the body and left to the head and Waru tries to flurry but is caught by a right hand. Waru reverts to the jab as Tauaika seems physically stronger is winning the exchanges in close. Both combatants go after each other at the start of the second and Waru’s punches are starting to get Tauaika’s attention. Waru is wobbled slightly by a right hook, but it is only temporary. Waru is upping the ante with his aggression and it is being met by Tauaika. Tauaika is off balance and takes a punch as he slips but it is ruled a knockdown. Waru gets home another right hand and starts to stick and moves. Tauaika lands a right hand near the end of the round but it is not enough as Waru earns a split decision.

AKOS Boxing and their sponsors, Russell Bricklayers Ltd & Aotea Paving, should be congratulated for putting on a great event. All the bouts were competitive, eventful affairs and the crowd was not left wanting. One on One Pro Ring Lighting also did a fantastic job of adding a “Las Vegas” atmosphere and I had not seen a better-lit event at any similar sized promotions. The flow of the event and segues between bouts were all fluid and none of the patrons were left to their own devices. Also a big shout out to DJ Cue and Adeaze as the music was handled marvelously and it all fit in perfectly in the scope of the event.

Although all the combatants deserve respect for the sacrifices and training they went through in order to give the patrons a show, I was particularly impressed with Telu Gafa. His defensive nous and parrying is far beyond his years and I only hope to see him on future promotions. Vinnie Pavlovich’s style, also, would prove to be a nightmare for anybody and he carries genuine power in his left mitt. Although young, Jonny Curle showed great movement and heart, even though in a losing effort. Keep at it pal.

The fight of the night had to go to Darragh “The Bulldog” Burke and Sene Leaitua. Both just went at it from the opening bell and never let up. Even after he was in serious trouble, Burke’s rugged determination allowed him to come back land serious punches of his own. I think most of the crowd would have liked to see one more round!