Commentator: “This second round is picking up where the first round ended. Astrid Olsson has been the more active fighter, but not the more accurate fighter. Emma McGale has done well to weather the storm and land her own punches. It seems like her preparation for the fight has been spot on.”
Emma: Astrid’s style is…unique. I need to thank Virani for sparring with me, because without her aping Astrid’s style I might have been lost in the early going and that might have been enough. I catch Astrid going for a left hand and get right of my own which lands flush. I think the Swede might have felt that one! I don’t think she saw it coming from underneath.
Astrid: Woof. That one quite hurt. I may have underestimated Emma’s punching power slightly.
Virani: “Wham! Great shot, Emma! She’s going to land something on the chin sooner or later and then it might be lights out for Ms. Sweetheart.”
Anita: “I’d love to see it.”
Virani: “You just want it for the highlight reel.”
Anita: “…well…and it will help Emma take less damage….”
Virani: “At least you are honest, Anita.”
Commentator: “Despite taking more punishment than McGale in this round and the last, Astrid is like a freight train. She knows only one direction, forward. And now she catches Emma flatfooted with a solid uppercut that jolts ‘The Peach.’ That uppercut of Astrid Olsson, who is known for her uppercut. Critics would say she throws it too often, but when it lands like that…the critics can shove it.”
Emma: I try to reset for a moment to try to think of what I want to do next, but before I can formulate a plan, Astrid lopes forward, and throws. Astrid’s uppercut splits my gloves nicely and jolts my head upwards. Ouch. Astrid’s not the heaviest puncher I’ve ever face in the ring. But that’s…not a punch I can afford to take too often.
Thomas: “Keep your feet moving, Emma!” Astrid is so unpredictable, that she is due to catch Emma if she stands in front of her for too long. We need to stick and move. Jeez. This is easier with Virani…with Virani I know that she can end the fight with one punch. With Emma, I’m more concerned with her opponent ending the fight in one punch.
Virani: “SHIT! Keep your head moving, Em!”
Anita: “She can take it….can’t she?”
Virani: “I just don’t like Astrid getting any momentum…”
Commentator: “This fight is really being fought at a high pace, which one would think would have favoured Astrid Olsson, but it’s been Emma’s solid counters that have been the more effective in this fight. And speaking of counters…Astrid just about walks into a vicious left hook from Emma McGale. Astrid is lucky she is not fighting Emma’s frequent sparring partner, Virani MacVicar, because eating a left hook like that from MacVicar may have left Astrid drooling on the canvas. For now, the discount Cobra will be content to have landed her best punch of the night on the Swedish Sweetheart.”
Emma: Astrid isn’t much for subtlety and it shows. I keep my feet moving, trying to make her chase me. Then, when she steps forward, I plant my feet and throw a big left hook. Astrid was trying to throw a right, so her right is down, and my left lands with a thud. That one felt good.
Astrid: “Oof…” That one hurt me.
Virani: “Hell yes, Emma! That’s the way you do it!”
Anita: “I’m liking the way this is going.”
Commentator: “Olsson lurches forward after taking that dynamic left hook from Emma, and she presses Emma against the ropes as she holds on for a break. It seems like that last left hook may have taken a bit out of the Swede and she needs a breather. McGale tries to fight off Astrid, but the Swede is the stronger on the inside. Referee Kanti Agrawal is on hand to break things up in good order.”
Emma: Astrid pushes forward into me and we basically stumble into the ropes. The feel of being pressed against the hard ropes is not one of my favourites…
Astrid: “Nice punch.”
Emma: The feel of Astrid pressed against me is…something. The worst part is probably her hair in my face…yuck. I try to shove her off, but she is strong enough to make my attempts seem pathetic. “Get off me…please?”
Astrid: “No, thanks.” Honestly, I need the time to recover.
Kanti: “Break! No punching!”
Emma: Astrid takes a second or two to comply with the request from Kanti. Astrid gives me a slight shrug of her shoulders as if to say ‘sorry about that.’ This is a different sort of girl that I am fighting today..
Commentator: “After stunning Astrid with a left hook, it’s McGale who appears to want to initiate the action…and she pays the price for wanting to go to the body as she gets neatly clipped with a left hand from Astrid. That one was the Swede’s best punch so far.”
Emma: Astrid seems..hurt? Shaken? Even after the clinch, she seems off. I throw a couple of jabs that get Astrid backing up for the first time. That’s got to be a sign of something. I decide if she’s going to keep a high guard, I’m going to go to the body. I adjust levels to throw a right hand, but I get popped with a left hand that twists my head around. Ow, Ow. That smarts. I guess she isn’t hurt…
Astrid: Maybe I’m a bit hurting, but Emma opens herself up to go to the body and I smack through a nice left hand. Emma grunts and takes it, but that one surprised her a bit.
Thomas: “Fight SMART! Emma.” Jesus, did she really think Astrid was hurt? That’s a mistake from lack of experience, and a bit of wanting to be like Virani, I think.
Virani: “Oof. That one smarts. Mentally too, you think you have your opponent on the run and then she hits you like that? Painful.”
Anita: “The mental side of boxing is fascinating to me. Maybe you could describe it to me.”
Virani: “I could, but you have to start with the fact that most boxers are at least slightly nuts.”
Anita: “Even you?”
Virani: “Especially me!”
Commentator: “Despite Astrid Olsson landing arguably her best punch of the fight, the old order of the fight remains – Astrid coming forward and Emma replying with counters. Like earlier on, its the counters that have been effective. There’s a nice snapping jab from McGale, who is really mixing up her punches and keeping Astrid off guard.”
Emma: I’m comfortable in this fight when I’m not forcing the action, and given that Astrid is always coming forward…I don’t have to. I feel like I can land everything in my arsenal, it’s just a matter of time.
Astrid: The idea of getting inside is…not quite working.
Thomas: “Good work!” This is close to a complete performance from Emma so far. I’m loving the way she keeps her right hand close to her chin.
Anita: “Can you explain how a punch like that gets through? Why couldn’t Astrid block it?
Virani: “Well…Astid’s guard is a bit low, but the truth is, if she keeps a high guard, it takes away from her offensive abilities. You can only protect so much of yourself with your gloves, shoulders, elbows etc.. so you have to make choices. And Emma’s jab was quick, so Astrid didn’t get time to raise her guard. And maybe she didn’t want to block it.”
Anita: “Didn’t…want to block a punch?”
Virani: “Astrid might chose to eat a jab to see if she can get in range for her own punch. I don’t think its the case here, but a jab is just that, a jab. Ain’t no one getting KO’d by a jab…”
Anita: “Boxing is complicated…”
Commentator: “As the clappers go for the last 10 seconds of the 2nd round, McGale switches up, and steps forward with a solid right hand that surprises Astrid and lands flush. That’ll seemingly be the last major action of the round. Another confident round for Emma McGale in the books, and she looks a class apart from Astrid Olsson here.”
Emma: This feels like something Thomas says ‘practice like you play and play like your practice. This is..not easy, but comfortable. I even step forward at the end of the round to smack Astrid with a solid right hand in case there is any doubt as to who won this round. Two rounds for me, Zero for Astrid.
Astrid: Okay…this is not going well. I need a new strategy. Emma is too good at picking me off right now. I’m not hurt…yet, but those punches are landing and they are doing damage.
Virani: “Emma is just crushing this. On one hand, I’m not surprised. On the other, I am.”
Anita: “No faith in your friend?”
Virani: “I have lots of faith in her…just things in my life never seem to go this smoothly…”
Commentator: “Let’s go to the corners between rounds. First let’s go to the corner of Emma McGale.”
Thomas takes out and washes Emma’s mouthpiece and gives her a short drink of water. The coach is content to be quiet for a moment and let his fighter bask in the successes of the last round for a moment before starting his sermon.
Thomas: “That was another good round, Emma. You are being active but not being stupid, which is perfect. I don’t want you to do a thing different in the next round, okay?”
Emma: “Okay, but I made a mistake when I thought I hurt her…”
Thomas: “Hey, you were wrong, but I like the fact you took the initiative. You don’t need to be perfect. Don’t worry about going for a finish, if it happens, it happens, but no need to force it.”
Emma: “Okay, coach.”
Thomas: “She needs to start winning rounds, so be aware, stay focused.”
Emma: “I will.”
Emma thinks: This is going well, but all it takes is one moment to change things around. I won’t give it to Astrid.
Commentator: “Bright skies and fluffy clouds in the blue corner. Now on to the visitor’s corner.”
Sven: “This Emma girl is better than advertised. No shame to be losing rounds to a good opponent. Do not let your head drop.”
Astrid: “Does my head, ever drop, Sven?”
Sven: “No, and that is why you can be great. Today though, we must bait the counter and then counter it. A counter to the counter. Give her a slight opening and then when she tries to counter, you counter that upcoming punch. That is the way you can get to your opponent. It will not be easy.”
Astrid: “I’ll try my best.”
Astrid thinks: I may be down 2 rounds, but that just leaves 4 rounds for my dramatic comeback!