Virani MacVicar vs. Riya Valen – Round 1

I made it clear the moment I left the ring after my debut that I wanted to get back in there as quickly as possible. Thomas did not disagree, telling me that if I wanted to stay in fighting shape that he’d see about getting me on the next card about four weeks from might first fight. By Wednesday, the particulars had been set.

Riya v. Virani - The Fight Poster

I’d be fighting Riya Valen, a fighter with a very similar record to mine, though it differed in two very meaningful ways. One was that she had a loss to her name, which meant that she was beatable – she’d dropped a four round decision to a similarly inexperienced opponent a few months back. The second was that her win was by KO. And not TKO, KO, that meant she had rendered her opponent senseless enough that she couldn’t beat a ten count. That meant that she was dangerous, that she had power.

I’m ready for the step up though!


My opponent makes her way to the ring before I do. Her name is Riya Valen, and she’s 1-1, with her one win coming by knockout. From what I’ve seen of her, (which is not much) she’s a powerful puncher with a good chin, but she’s not the most technically gifted fighter. Still, she comes to the ring looking very confident along with her coach, Georgia.

Riya v. Virani 1

Apparently they announced my name, because Thomas just about shoved me out from behind the curtain where I had been waiting. This venue is a little nicer than the last one, this one has a ramp that leads down to the ring. Fancy. I walk a couple of steps and I strike a bit of a pose at the top of the ramp after hearing a couple of my friends shout my name. It’s a great feeling to be supported. Some of the people shouting my name are my old friends from my old life as a lawyer, some of them are my new friends from the gym. But they are all here to support me. It’s humbling, really.

But I can’t think about that right now. It’s time to go to work.

Riya v. Virani 2

I get in the ring and make my way to my corner. I’m still feeling rather nervous, but at least my nerves aren’t as bad as they were before the first fight. Progress. It doesn’t help that Riya is a much more formidable looking opponent than Cynthia. With her nice looking Everlast gloves and fighter’s physique she seems like she’s up for the physical side of the challenge of boxing at least. At least she isn’t as tall as Cynthia, that was annoying to face.

The ref, a redhead named Allison calls Riya and I to the middle of the ring. Before I go, Thomas pats me on the shoulder and leans in close – “Don’t let her intimidate you. You’re twice the boxer she is.”

Riya v. Virani 3

Allison explains to us the rules (as if I could have forgotten them) and asks us to touch gloves. I hold my hands out to touch gloves, but Riya puts her gloves on top of mine and pounds down on them. She doesn’t say anything to me, but her smile of confidence says everything. She thinks I’m just another pretty girl.

Well, she’s right. I am pretty. But this pretty girl is going to be punching her in the face in a few moments. I guarantee she won’t like that.

Thomas has warned me about Riya’s power, but that means boxing careful, not being afraid. I’ll be the quicker, more accurate puncher. She can swing for the fences all she wants…she’ll never hit me.

Riya v. Virani 5

The first part of the fight is cagey, cautious. I just lightly probe with my jab and wait for Riya’s reactions. They aren’t exactly impressive. She’s slower than me and not exactly tricky. The gameplan isn’t to stand in front of her and trade punches, but to dance around, use my footwork and angles to make her miss and then strike when the opportunities are there.

Riya v. Virani 6 Riya v. Virani 6a

One thing that I quickly notice is that Riya holds her gloves down low in a way that doesn’t protect her head perfectly. That’s great for a speedy fighter like me. I shoot my right hand in from an angle, landing it square on Riya’s cheek. It’s the first impactful punch of the night, and though Riya takes it without complaint, there’s no way she can take too many of those without getting hurt, eventually.

Riya v. Virani 7

Riya’s jab is slow, and her footwork, so far, is awkward. She throws out a probing jab, but I’m already launching my right hand to the body and I twist out of the way of her jab as an added bonus. This is a good start for me. I’ve found the range early and I’m landing both to the head and the body.

Riya v. Virani 8

I got her watching my right hand, now it’s time to go back to one of my favorite punches, my jab. My jab is fast and accurate, and this time, I nail Riya right in the eye. If I’m lucky that might leave a mark, but by the way Riya keeps coming forward, she hasn’t been bothered by any of these punches.

So far, at least.

Riya v. Virani 9 Riya v. Virani 9a


There’s one advantage to always coming forward, it puts pressure on your opponent, namely, me. I misread Riya as she got ready to throw a punch and was halfway to guarding against a left hook to the head, when her punch dipped and went directly for my midsection. I grunt as it lands and my gloves drop for juuust a second, which is dangerous. This girl has pop in those gloves. I need to make sure she isn’t following her punch with…

Riya v. Virani 10

…A big uppercut. Fortunately for me, I see it coming and instead of clipping me on the chin and sending me into La-La-Land (and not the movie) it whiffs harmlessly by. I can sense how powerful that punch was though. Riya doesn’t mess around throwing half-speed punches. Everything she throws is with bad intentions behind it. I gotta stay light on my feet and make sure she doesn’t connect.

Riya v. Virani 11 Riya v. Virani 11a


Being cautious is good and all, but I’m also in the business of hurting my opponent. I slip to the left and whip in a solid left hook, one of my better punches it has to be said. Riya is too slow to get her arm up to block, so my punch lands solidly on her cheek. I’m going to win this round, not by throwing one punch, but by hitting her with a wide array of punches. Taste the rainbow of my skills, girl.

Riya v. Virani 12

First with the left and now with the right. My right hand lands strongly on Riya’s face, but she barely reacts to it. These are good punches that I’m landing…I think. But Riya’s stepping through them like they are nothing! Drat!

Riya v. Virani 13

Riya, apparently un-phased by the punches she’s taken so far, comes forward and throws a left hand. I read it coming and slip out of the way of the punch. Riya is a willing combatant, but as suspected, she is not the most technically gifted.

Riya v. Virani 14

We’re coming to the end of the round, a round that I’ve done well in, just using my jab and landing when I can. I can’t say that I’ve hurt Riya, but I’ve outboxed her. I decide that I want to end the round reminding the judges of how much I’ve won it by and push out my jab. Riya slips it and nails me with a big right hand! My vision goes a bit fuzzy as Riya lands her best punch of the fight and the round.

I gotta say, this girl hits like a 500lb Ox! Not sure if I can take many of these punches, not if I hope to stay on my feet!

Riya v. Virani 15 Riya v. Virani 15a Riya v. Virani 15b

The bell rings shortly after that punch from Riya lands, so she doesn’t manage to follow it up.  As I walk back to my corner, I massage my jaw where her punch landed…that one fricking hurt!  Usually I can shake off punches relatively quickly.  This one lingers.  I cannot let this girl land big shots on me.

I can almost feel the ref’s eyes on me as I walk back to my corner, but I don’t want to acknowledge it.  I’m sure the pain will go away soon.

Riya v. Virani 16

Thomas gets me on to my stool, takes out my mouthpiece and starts washing it. I concentrate on calming down my breathing. Even though I close my eyes to do this, I keep my attention focused on Thomas.

“You okay, Virani?”

“Yeah. I’m good.” I reply, bending the truth a little – my jaw still hurts where Riya landed that punch. I’d say the pain is fading…but I can’t tell.

Riya v. Virani 17

“Good round, you probably won it. But I told you she has power – you gotta respect it.”

I nod. Riya has my respect, not necessarily for her boxing skill, but for her hammers for hands.

“You gotta keep your head moving, make yourself hard to hit. Give her some angles and you can get her on the counterpunch.” Thomas demonstrates himself, leaning in and out of the boxing stance. “But start with the jab. You’re faster, scuff her up a little with the jab, make her desperate. That’s when you’ll get your chance.”

“Got it,” I reply.

“Seconds out!”

Thomas grabs my mouthpiece and I bite down on it and prepare to go to war again. “Go get her, Virani – you are better than her, don’t forget it.”

I nod and bounce to my feet. The second round is about to start.

Virani MacVicar
Current Featherweight champion. A Canadian puncher known for her knockouts that has developed a more all-round style.
Virani MacVicar
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