The bell rings and Kanti orders the boxers to… box.
The Cobra wants to make an early statement. A few seconds after meeting Masae in the middle of the ring, she goes forward to attack.
Virani aims at the body. First, she fakes the right hand. Then, she twists and turns to deliver a left to target the liver.
Masae thinks: “Whoa there. They all want to destroy me downstairs. Not this time!”
The Japanese lets her body move with the puncher’s motion while dropping her right hand slightly. Shot blocked with her elbow!
Esther: “MacVicar has bad intentions but Masae has just read them and made a perhaps-important block early in this round. Did she learn a lesson in her previous fight with Alesia Schumann? Like, don’t get softened near the belt?”
Alesia: “That’s something new. I’m not used to seeing Masae blocking this well with her elbows!”
Akane: “Hmmm. If she keeps that up, Virani faces a formidable obstacle.”
A “punching lane” was open when Masae blocked a body shot to her right. She jumps on the opportunity.
The Japanese lowers and twists her upper body and lets her left arm out to target Virani’s right cheek. The Winning glove easily finds its open target. Pish!
Esther: “Masae counterattacks early in this round with a sharp left in timely fashion. A well-executed move under pressure from the Nippon.”
Round 3 continues with continuous skirmishing between Virani and Masae, with the Canadian on the prowl. She wants to cause damage with solid punching.
Masae remains elusive. She uses footwork and movement to stay out of her range.
At 1:21, Virani throws a right cross with power but the Japanese raises her hands and turns to block it. The black glove collides against a red glove.
Virani thinks: “Gee, what does it take to hit her? I’ve seen Alesia destroy her!”
Thomas: “Come on V, keep attacking her! She’ll buckle!”
Esther: “Once again, Masae shows improved defense in the face of adversity against a puncher who knows how to go forward and hurt opponents. Someone had a serious training camp since her last fight!”
Virani has a frustrating third round. Masae boxes extremely well and finds solutions to every problem that the Canadian gives her.
Just under a minute to go in the round and Virani has her coach’s instructions in mind. She believes she has Masae lined up for a left hook and she gets going, but the Japanese knows what to do. She moves back to the right and comes back in with an overhand right cross. Pish! Straight to Virani’s jaw!
Esther: “It takes quickness and great timing to pull off that move and Masae has it at the moment. She is in the zone and bossing MacVicar around as if she were a junior employee. Rough day at the office. Can’t wait for the Happy Hour drinks.”
Akane: “Geez. That reminds me of what you did in our second fight!”
Alesia: “Step back and overhand? Yeah.”
Akane: “One day, I’ll nail you with it in sparring!”
Masae becomes more aggressive as Round 3 goes by and she puts Virani under a bit of pressure.
To her pleasure, it works. At 0:27, the Cobra has the left hook firmly in mind and Masae is within range. When the strike comes out, the Japanese fighter comes a bit closer, bends her knees, lowers and rotates her upper body to deliver a strong left to the midsection.
In the blue corner, Yumi couldn’t be happier. Her boxer is in control in this round.
Esther: “Masae is often underestimated by boxing fans and she puts on a display of skills with all kinds of movement. She is currently outboxing MacVicar with awesome accuracy. I don’t think that the Canadian likes it because her stomach is in the crosshairs!”
Alesia: “Gee. Masae boxes so well right now, it’s gorgeous. Plus, the timing on that move will hurt Virani.”
Akane: “Well-timed body shots suck so much. You don’t even need to land them at full strength to make someone curl up in a ball and cry.”
A dominant Masae keeps Virani under pressure. Much to her satisfaction, the Canadian Cobra hasn’t figured out how to fight back.
The pretty Japanese woman corners her opponent and lowers her guard for a split second. This tempts Virani to make a move for a left hand. The green-clad boxer them moves inside with a stiff right cross to catch Virani’s cheek and jaw.
The crowd gets animated, but only out of concern.
Esther: “What we witness tonight is two-sided. First, Masae fights like the Asian champion who made her reputation by bamboozling opponents. Second, MacVicar goes through a confidence crisis, potentially with flashbacks from the knockout scored by Lilim Alterion. Thomas Nagy has a serious coaching job to do in a couple of seconds!”
Alesia: “Masae has Virani under her grip. I reckon she won’t release easily.”
Akane: “She looks like a doll, but a violent one. Thomas will have to provide Virani with sage advice to turn this around.”
Esther: “MacVicar is a mess in the dying seconds of Round 3 and her Japanese opponent powers on to win the round convincingly. Now she adds a solid left hook to make punishment more severe.”
Masae has Virani hurt with a right cross and she follows it up with her left hook to finish her favourite combination. The red Winning glove lands on the side of the Cobra’s face, further shaking up her upper body.”
The crowd murmurs as the local favourite can’t shake off the green-clad boxer.
Esther: “If this continues, I am not sure that MacVicar will make it past the fourth round. Masae bounces back strongly from the KO loss in her last fight while MacVicar seems stuck in quicksands.”
Alesia: “Oh dear. This is starting to look like a beating and Masae is in a tormenting mood.”
Akane: “Her left is landing and her right is loaded with dynamite. Good thing for Virani that the bell is about to ring, unless Masae is quick enough to throw that right.”
Ding! The bell rings to end Round 3. Kanti steps in to stop the action.
Masae was in the mood to throw more punches but after hesitating for a second, she hears the ref telling her to go back to the blue corner. She starts pulling away.
In the meantime, Virani is discouraged by the thumping received during the round as she recovers leg stability.
Virani thinks: That last combination rattled me big time. My legs are still wobbly and my vision is little blurred. If the bell hadn’t rung, I’m not sure I could have taken another punch. It’s all happening again, isn’t it? I do well for part of the fight and then…then I get knocked out. With that happy thought in mind, I head back to my corner.
Esther: “MacVicar wanted to start this round strongly but everything melted down quickly on her side. Let’s hear what her coach has to tell her as we head to the red corner.”
Esther: “Virani MacVicar suffered in Round 3. Let’s go to her corner now to hear the exchange with her coach Thomas Nagy.”
Thomas thinks: “That was a total disaster of a round. Virani got rocked by that last combination and she looks hurt and discouraged. I think I’ll try to encourage her instead of giving her tactical advice.”
Virani thinks: “What the hell was that round? Masae made me look stupid, and for a supposedly light puncher, she had me really hurt at the end of the round. That whole round I couldn’t do anything and it was like she was totally ready for my left hook. Did I even land a punch? I don’t remember.”
Thomas:“Okay, that didn’t go as expected, but its just one round lost…”
Virani:“What am I doing wrong?”
Thomas:“You don’t have to worry about what she is doing, just focus on what you are doing. Be a bit more tactical and patient. You have the faster hands.”
Virani:“Her feints and footwork confuse me. I can’t figure them out. I can’t…”
Thomas: “Just remember what worked about the first two rounds and put that last round behind you. You can do this, Virani.”
Virani: “I’ll try my best.”
Virani thinks: “Masae must have been using the first two rounds to get my timing down, that is why she let me have those rounds. Now that she has me figured out, she’ll put even more pressure on me. Alesia was able to knock Masae out in the 4thround of her fight but I don’t think I’ll be able to do the same. I don’t even know if I can land another punch. For the first time in my career, I’m a kind of afraid to get off this stool and keep fighting. I don’t know if I can do this.”
Thomas thinks: “Virani’s body language is as bad as I’ve ever seen it. I had thought her confidence had recovered from the loss to Lilim, but in front of this crowd, it seems to have deserted her. However, I know that Virani can bounce back quickly if she lands a good punch or two. She just needs to believe that she is as good as everyone else knows she is.”
Esther: “In the blue corner, Yumi Yashima and Masae are in a bright mood.”
Yumi: “Great job!You own her! Have you seen how demoralised she is? We could still behind on the scorecards if the judge s gave her the first round, but it doesn’t matter. You are the better, more experienced boxer and you will beat her.”
Masae: “I will!”
Yumi: “Her left hook remains dangerous and you know what to do about it. You took it out of the game in the last round. Now, keep her under pressure and make her crack. If she attacks, you know how to counterpunch. You have it all, dear!”
Masae: “Thank you!”
Yumi: “This is ourfight. Take charge!”
Kanti: “Seconds out!”
Esther: “After three rounds, I have Masae closing the gap with Virani MacVicar on points after winning Round 3 with a 10-9. Punching and confidence levels currently give her a clear advantage as she impresses with opportunistic combinations. We still have five rounds scheduled and this fight is yet to be decided. Let’s see what Kayleigh Parsons thinks of the action.
Kayleigh: “That was a brilliant round of boxing from Masae, as she negated Virani’s best punch while scoring with her best combinations. While both Virani and Masae are coming off of KO defeats, it seems to me like Masae has recovered her confidence better than Virani has. Boxing is as much mental as it is physical, and with Virani fighting in the same city where she just had one of her biggest defeats, I wonder if that is weighing on her.”
Esther: “Thank you! Back to the ring for Round 4.”
Kayleigh thinks:“I was sent out here to maybe get some hype building for a rematch with Virani, but unless Round 3 was an aberration, that rematch isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Virani’s got the talent, no doubt, but boxing is full of talented fighters that never reach their potential.”