Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Friday Night Fights

A thick and boisterous crowd filled the Auckland Boxing Association last Saturday as it played home to the Glozier promoted ‘Friday Night Fights.’  The varied card showcased everything from first timers to top New Zealand ranked light heavyweight Soulan Pownceby and cruiserweight Vaitele Soi, the latter of whom had only fought four days prior.  With eleven corporate fights and five professional bouts, those in attendance could afford to blink.  Action would only be in surplus.
Monica Tai showed off a neat combination of slickness and power in stopping Margo Smith in two rounds.  Tai impressed all from the beginning, utilising her head movement and firing combinations at every opening which were a far cry from her “Brawla” moniker.  Smith attempted to push the pace but ended up on the receiving end of right hands.  The second round saw Tai become more comfortable and plant her feet, delivering hard single shots.  A right hand counter hurts Smith and the referee has seen enough.
As the old adage goes, the fastest way between two points is a straight line, and it was exactly this approach that helped Junior Bilbar stop kickboxer Hadleigh Donald in the opening round of a furious dustup.  Neither hold anything back as the opening bell sounds and both feel the impact of the others punches.  Bilbar begins to lay back on the ropes and fire off straight hard shots, which is a strategy that serves him well.  A three-punch combination swiftly introduces Donald to the floor and it doesn’t seem like Jon Conway trained fighter is able to make it back up.  He does but is almost immediately wobbled by a straight right which forces a standing eight count.  With Donald on wobbly legs, Bilbar empties the tank for an electrifying win.
In the first professional bout of the evening, Lee Oti put all his skills on display in a knockout victory of Dicky Pereira.  Oti’s movement takes center stage in the first round as he provides Pereira with difficult angles, deftly moves away from punches and punishes his mistakes.  Pereira has some success with his right hand in the second and Oti answers by turning up his power game and landing hard hooks and crosses.  Oti begins to press more in the third and, in the next round, sits Pereira down with a straight right hand.  Sensing that he has worn down his opponent’s resolve, Oti rushes in and wings punches that drop Pereira in the corner.  Although he rises, Pereira is bloodied and beaten giving the referee every reason to call a halt to the contest.
Although game, Peter Tovi’o was forced to retire after the fourth round in his bout against Soulan Pownceby.  The bout appeared to be a mismatch early, with Pownceby seemingly unable to miss and Tovi’o offering only wild, single punch responses however his unwillingness to capitulate made the bout difficult for his foe.  The third round, in particular, provided toe-to-toe action as Pownceby’s best bounced off Tovi’o and were answered in kind.  This courageous stand was destined to be limited by time and Tovi’o began to wilt in the fourth, was wobbled by an overhand right and his own punches became lethargic. 
Vaitele Soi continued improved his undefeated record to 19-0 (18KOs) with his first round decimation of Filipo Masoe.  Both clearly are adverse to any involvement from the judges and trade furiously early on.  A huge Soi power shot nearly blasts Masoe into next week and he finds himself on his back  early.  Able to beat the count, Soi bulls him into a corner and starts letting his hands go.  After copping some right hands, and unable to actively defend himself, the referee steps in to stop the carnage in the very first round.
Anna Leilua beat Veronica Maxwell by knockout in round 1
The bout between Peter Morrow and Jai Hill was declared a draw
Dan Fleming beat Shaun George by unanimous decision
Monica Tai beat Margo Smith by knockout in round 2
Gavin Speak beat Mike Burkett by majority decision
James Tonga beat Matt Sakavia by majority decision
Joel Smith beat Andre Choi by majority decision
Junior Bilbar beat Hadleigh Donald by knockout in round 1
Riaan Malaau beat Nathan Matonga by majority decision
Jordan Tolova’a beat Norman Iopu by knockout by round 3
The bout between Nick Suka and Kurt Mahani was ruled a majority draw
Lee Oti beat Dicky Pereira by knockout in round 3
Soulon Pownceby beat Peter Tovio by knockout after Tovio retired after round 4
Hemi Takarua beat Simi Tietie by knockout after Tietie retired after round 1
Rohit Sing beat Anmal Tiger by knockout in round 2
Vaitele Soi beat Filipo Masoe by knockout in round 1NZFighters article found here

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shuriken proves a Shore thing with Rising Soldiers

November 12th saw Shuriken MMA return to the North Shore Events Center following their extremely popular ‘Armageddon’ in April and, on the surface, ‘Rising Soldiers’ looked to be a carbon copy.  Packed house?  Check.  High quality explosive bouts?  Check.  Brandon Ropati?  Check. Shuriken would, once again, prove this to be a winning formula as all in attendance were served up 13 mixed martial arts bouts encompassing Corporate, B Class, A Class and Professional bouts.
Arthur Lasike and Wesley Higgins declared war on each other in an early Fight of the Night candidate.  Lasike seems intent to brawl early as he wings heavy punches and walks through everything offered in return.  A huge hook shakes Higgins to his shoes near the end of the first round and he is lucky to survive the round.  He is able to return the favour in the second, dropping Lasike, but he is unable to capitalize.  The final stanza is tight as Higgins lands right hands while Lasike counter-punches effectively.  After seemingly leaving everything they have in the ring, the judges find this bout too close to call and ask these gladiators to squeeze out one more round.  When the dust settled, it was Lasike still standing tall, as he won the final round on the back of his takedowns and precision punching.

                                              (Video produced by Jacob Toms - Ten 8 Media/NZFighters)
Brad Ramsey sets the standard for the A Class bouts with his first round knockout of Keanu Roberts.  Barely giving his opponent time to think, Ramsey jumps Roberts early and the fight goes to the ground.  Ramsey unleashes heavy ground and pound and, due to accumulation of punches, the referee is forced to step in and save a tenderized Roberts from further punishment.
CrossFit proponent Logan Price was given a jiu-jitsu lesson by Yakob Brown in another A Class bout.  Price reels from a right hand early before he is taken down.  Brown softens up his foe with punches from the top before Price gives up his back and is submitted with a rear naked choke in the opening stanza.
Seemingly wanting to be part of the ‘first round crew’, Sam Gascoigne submitted Alex Redhead with a guillotine choke barely a couple of minutes into the contest.  Redhead shoots early on his adversary, and slams him to the mat, however Gascoigne manages to trap him in a guillotine.  No matter how hard he tries, Redhead can not free himself and is forced to tap out.
Professional Light Heavyweight Brandon Ropati continued to impress after steam rolling Australia’s Piki Te Ringa in under a minute.  Both fighters clinch early before Ropati picks up Te Ringa and almost drives him through the floor.  Te Ringa makes it back to all fours however Ropati connects with a couple bombs before a vicious uppercut relieves his opponent of his senses and drops him hard on his face.  The display further put the New Zealand Light Heavyweight on notice as “The Wrath” improved to 4-0.
Jazz Collins beat Makere Phillips by split decision
MMA B Class Bouts
Leyla Okay (Roundhouse) beat Leiarra Radonich (Gracie Barra) by unanimous decision
Yukon Kemp (Syndikit MMA) beat Daemen Sani (Auckland MMA) by split decision
Matt Yeoman (Ground Control) beat Mike Su (Shuriken) by submission (rear naked choke) in the first round
Charles Wardle (Tu kaha Gym) beat Max Toaka (Syndikit MMA) by majority decision
BJ Yeoman (Ground Control) beat Mathew Samson (Integrated Fighting) by split decision
Adam Stringer (Shuriken MMA/Gracie Barra) beat Samuel Kim (A.U.M.M.A) by split decision
The bout between Arthur Lasike (Shuriken) Wesley Higgins (Integrated Fighting) was original called a majority draw however Lasike would end up beating Higgins by split decision after a fourth round
MMA A Class Bouts
Brad Ramsey (Hybrid MMA) beat Keanu Roberts (Syndikit MMA) by KO (punches) in the first round
Yakob Brown (JR Macgyver/Crolin Gracie) beat Logan Price (Shuriken) by submission (rear naked choke) in the first round
Sam Gascoigne (Gracie Barra) beat Alex Redhead (Tu Kaha Gym) by submission (guillotine choke) in the first round
Pro Class International Bouts
Pumau Campbell (JR Macgyver/Crolin Gracie) was disqualified in his bout against Hana Janan (Australia) after delivering an illegal upkick in the first round
Brandon Ropati (Gracie Barra) beat Piki Te Ringa (Australia) by KO (punches) in the first round - 1mins 13secsNZFighters article found here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

King for a Day, Cool for a Lifetime: King of the Ring MAX

Elite Thai Kickboxing (ETK) has long been one of, if not the, premier kickboxing promotion in the New Zealand scene.  Headed by former K1 World Champion Jason “Psycho” Suttie, it’s fighters embody a pedigree not often seen on these shores.
Their latest instalment, King of the Ring MAX, would contain an 8 man middleweight tournament headlined by Anz ‘Notorious’ Nansen facing off against Erik ‘The Mustang’ Nosa for the vacant WKBF World Heavyweight championship.
City Lee Gar prospect Brad Riddell quickly established himself as a front runner with his Brad Riddell [City Lee Gar, Auckland] vs Brendan Varty [Harleys Kickboxing, Masterton]second round decimation of Brendan Varty.  Varty’s early volume and combination punching couldn’t rattle the super cool Riddell, who picked his openings and landed dynamite lead hooks. Varty continues to press during the second round, as he is able to corner Riddell and rip hooks to his body.  This is a strategy that works well for him until Riddell uncorks a left hook that puts Varty on a street that he doesn’t know the name of.  Although he rises, he is instantly buckled and the referee is forced to step in as he is helpless to stop the pressure.Joey 'The Filipino Kid' Baylon vs Chris Wells [SMAC]
In the toughest draw of the preliminary bouts, Joe Hopkins won a hard fought decision over Dmitri Simoukov.  Simoukov appeared to have trouble with Hopkins southpaw style early and eats a knee to the head that deposits him half way across the ring.  Tough as all get out, Simoukov makes it to his feet and lasts the rest of the round.  The second stanza is far more successful for ‘Molotov’, who is able to trade with Hopkins in a back and forth round.  Hopkins starts to use his length in the final round and controls most of the action.  Knowing that he needs a big round, Simoukov ups the tempo however it is not enough in the eyes of the judges.
In a rematch, Lightweight contenders Chris Wells and Joey Baylon threw volleys of kicks and punches at each other over three furious round in the evenings first ‘Superfight’.  Wells took control of the bout by pushing the pace and landing kicks to the body over the first two rounds and a spinning back kick in the final stanza to take a unanimous judges nod.
The King of the Ring tournament continued with the semi-final bouts.  In the upset of the tournament, Edwin Samy edged Brad Riddell on the judge’s cards.  Riddell’s sharp boxing was on display as he landed hard right hands and was able to stifle Samy’s offence.  Samy started to exert himself more in the last two rounds, which was seemingly enough to take an unpopular decision.
Joe 'Southpaw' Hopkins vs Girish Rae
In the other semi-final, Jo Hopkins was clinical in dispatching the towering Girish Rae in the opening round.  Hopkins showed little respect for Rae’s power and hurt him with every straight left he landed.  Rae is bulled into a corner before a left hand and a knee put him out for the count.
Local favourite Antz ‘Notorious’ Nansen battered Erik Nosa for four rounds in a brutal display to capture the WKBF Heavyweight title.  Nansen wasted no time in the ring, getting into
Antz Nansen vs Erik Nosa
the groove early and showing poise in picking his openings.  Nosa was game but ultimately overwhelmed as the ETK prodigy blasted him with hooks, dropping him in the third, and
Joe 'Southpaw' Hopkins vs Edwin 'Electric' Samy
twice in the fourth, until he was unable to answer the referee’s count.
Despite the wear and tear of the two previous bouts, Jo Hopkins and Edwin Samy went toe-to-toe in the King of the Ring MAX middleweight final.  The first round was tightly contested as both landed their share of punishment.  Samy’s technical style served him well in the second stanza as Hopkins seemingly had trouble working him out.  Sensing a close fight,
both competitors went to war in the final round and, as Samy got the better of the exchanges, Hopkins started to box more and control the distance.  In the end, the judges award a split decision, and the King of the Ring middleweight title, to Jo “Southpaw” Hopkins in a fight that could’ve easily gone the other way.
Joe 'Southpaw' Hopkins


The bout between Ricky Hita [ETK] and Travis Green [Strikeforce] was declared a no contest as Hita appeared to injure his knee in the first round.
King of the Ring Preliminaries
Brad Riddell [City Lee Gar, Auckland] beat Brendan Varty [Harleys Kickboxing, Masterton] by TKO in round 2
Edwin 'Electric' Samy [ETK, Auckland] beat Sonny Sadler [Hardmans Gym, Northland] by unanimous decision
Joe 'Southpaw' Hopkins [City Lee Gar, Auckland] beat Dimitri 'Molotov' Simoukov [ETK, Auckland] by unanimous decision
Girish Rae [Fi-G Training, Dunedin] beat Taylor Holland [Pathai Gym, Auckland] by unanimous decision
Professional Lightweight Bout
Chris Wells [SMAC] beat Joey 'The Filipino Kid' Baylon [ETK] by unanimous decision
King of the Ring Semi-Finals
Edwin 'Electric' Samy [ETK, Auckland] beat Brad Riddell [City Lee Gar, Auckland] by split decision
Joe 'Southpaw' Hopkins [City Lee Gar, Auckland] beat Girish Rae [Fi-G Training, Dunedin] by knockout in round 1
WKBF Heavyweight Championship bout
Antz 'Notorious' Nansen (ETK, Auckland) beat Erik 'The Mustang' Nosa (Bustler’s Gym, Sydney) by knockout in round 4
King of the Ring MAX Final
Joe 'Southpaw' Hopkins [City Lee Gar, Auckland] beat Edwin 'Electric' Samy [ETK, Auckland] by split decisionNZFighters article found here