I go out at the start of the second round with a firm plan in mind – use the jab to set up punches later in the round. Riya wants to throw punches without setting them up properly – she tries to throw a right hand but my jab is already in her eye.
Pretty hard to hit a target when there’s a punch in your face. I’m quicker to the draw and I’m going to take advantage of that.
I keep up with my jab, and although they keep landing, Riya doesn’t seem to be too impressed. She’s not even really defending against my jab that much anymore. That’s good, because I’m scoring points with my jab, even if I’m not doing that much damage. It also means that Riya’s going to try to go on the attack to stop this barrage of jabs, so mentally, I’m waiting for that moment so I can weave out of the way and counter.
Riya loses her patience and launches a mean overhead right towards my head. I step quickly to my left, putting my weight on to that left foot and letting Riya’s right hand fly by. Slick movement by me, if I say so myself. Now it’s time to see if I can land after making her miss…
I move my weight from my left foot and launch my left hand towards Riya before she can retract her right hand back. My left lands, hard, on Riya’s cheek, sending sweat flying from her head. It’s a great punch. She’s got to be hurt by it…right? My right hand is in the perfect position to follow up, I just have to find a spot for it to land…
Riya doesn’t even appear to be hurt after I land what I thought was my best punch of the night. This girl’s either got a head full of cement or I’ve got pillows for hands. It’s Riya’s lack of reaction that makes me pause for a moment and allows Riya to get reset back to a decent position. Still, I try to follow up on my left hand, but Riya’s already got her glove moving to protect her jaw. I gotta stop thinking so much and just react.
Riya shows her first trickery of the night, throwing a jab at my head, which I defend, but then stepping in with a left hand to the body. It does a nice job of tenderizing my stomach. The sound that it makes is when it lands maybe the worst part, just a solid ‘Thwap!’ No, scratch that, the worst part is the pain in my guts. Dang this girl can PUNCH!
That punch to the body stung, and I quickly decide that I don’t want to get stuck doing any in-fighting with Riya, so I grab on to her and lean on her as much as I can. I want to keep this fight at a distance if at all possible. Oh, and recovering from that last punch isn’t a bad idea either.
After that temporary setback, I try to go back to my jab, but for once, Riya beats me to the punch, and like everything she throws, her jab is heavy. It snaps my head back for a moment and I take an immediate step backwards. It’s time to collect myself and play defence for a bit.
Riya never stops coming forward. It’s annoying, especially when trying to recover. But it does come with opportunities. Riya moves forward, throwing a right hand that I ‘catch’ on my left glove, stopping it’s power. Now Riya is overextended and I need to pick my punch….
Riya almost has time to reset after that last right hand. Almost. I lean forward, getting my weight behind the punch, my right hand darts through her defences and his her square in the mouth. Eat leather, girl. I might not have hammers for hands, but you will feel my power.
It’s nearing the end of the second round and I want to make sure that I win this round. So it’s time to stay in close and trade leather. Riya’s only too happy to oblige me. We trade hooks, my left for her right, but my hook is quicker, shorter, and it lands with more impact. Riya’s lands too, but I can take those sort of off balance punches, even from a big puncher like Riya.
Riya takes a step back after the exchange and I come forward. It’s time to show who’s boss!
Riya, for the first time in the fight, starts stepping backwards instead of forwards. That’s my cue to attack. I feint with my left and then try to put all my weight behind my right hand. It lands solidly on her cheek, exactly where I aimed it. Riya groans slightly. The round is nearing its end…maybe I have time to land a few more…
Despite me hitting Riya with three or four good punches in a row, she doesn’t even seem hurt! She’s got her gloves up, protecting her head, yes, but she doesn’t seem to be rocked at all. Damn.
At the bell, Allison leaps between us, halting the action.
I probably won the round, but if Riya lands one of her big punches, its not going to matter how many rounds I won. And it would be bloody nice if she would actually show a reaction to my punches…I’m hitting her with everything I’ve got (I think) and it doesn’t seem to be enough!
I get back to my stool, and we do the usual routine, a drink of water, my mouthpiece taken out, that whole thing.
My first words once my mouthpiece is out is, “I can’t hurt her!” My arms go up in exasperation, a manifestation at how I’m feeling at the moment.
Thomas, as always is a calm like a glacier. “If you want to hurt her, you’ve got to put your whole body behind it. You’re not doing that. Your punches are good, but not hurtful. If you want to hit with power, you gotta get behind it. Trust me,” says Thomas. “You’re a bit too scared of her power, you are staying light on your feet, that’s good. But if you want to hurt her you have to set your feet, use that as your base to attack.”
“But..if she hits me with a clean punch…”
Thomas raps my thigh with his hand, “You can’t fight scared, Virani. Trust me.”
Speechless, I let my hands fall to my sides. Thomas always takes great pains to not hit me. So even that little smack (that I barely felt) was a shock.
“You can hit her, Virani, you’ve proved that enough, now you gotta bend down and get the power out of your legs. If you do that, she won’t be standing in front of you for much longer. Trust in yourself. You are two rounds up, she’s going to have to come at you. I want you to continue to move your head and look for the counterpunch – that’s when you can really hurt her. But torque your body when you do punch!”
I nod, “Yes, sir.”
“Keep calm, keep focused and you’ve got this Virani. Quick feet, quick hands. Use your power when throwing power.”
“Quick feet, quick hands,” I repeat, as I stand from my stool. “Use my power when throwing power.”
“Go get her, Virani.”
Riya seems a little slow getting to her stool and she’s not nearly as confident looking as she had been. Okay. Same punches as before, just get my body behind them. Simple, right?