Commentator: “A hot start for Astrid as she comes out firing and gets Emma with a very nice left hook. Emma seemed to be looking for a counter, but Emma beat her to the punch, one of the first few times we have seen this in the fight.”
Astrid: I finally got a good punch through at the start of the round. This round will be mine.
Emma: I can see Emma leaning forward to throw a punch, but my right hand is too slow to react and her left hand goes through the opening in my guard to smack me cleanly on the cheek and jaw. That hurt. Astrid got a lot of her weight behind that one.
Thomas: The problem with relying on counters is…you need to be close to perfect. Emma wasn’t and she got punished.
Anita: “Ow. That looked like it hurt.”
Virani: “I am sure it did. Unique angle on the punch from Astrid, but she’s got her body moving nicely through the punch, so it should have some pop behind it.”
Commentator: “A more composed Astrid Olsson is on display here in the 3rd, as she is relying less on brute aggression and a bit more on trickery. But this style seems to suit McGale as well, as she begins working the jab, finding a home from it through and around Astrid’s guard. The Peach has yet to be pushed out of her comfort zone in this fight.”
Emma: I heard that. Astrid’s defence is basic and has some holes in it. She’s not coming forward with the same intensity she was previously. A change of tactics, but I’m not sure it’s working for her.
Commentator: “We move into the second half of this third round, which is the closest round so far between the two fighters. And that is punctuated with a nice shot to the midsection of McGale by Astrid Olsson. That impact was forceful enough that it seemed to force the air from Emma’s lungs. That’s an outward sign of a painful punch from the Swedish Sweetheart. And the sign of a punch I myself would not like to take.”
Astrid: I need to keep mixing it up like this. She’s not going to be able to handle me forever. Fun fight though!
Emma: “OOof.” Astrid stabs at me with a right hand that I could not protect myself from. That one knocks a bit of the air out of my lungs, and prompts me to get moving behind a fusillade of jabs. I don’t want to get hit again in the next few moments.
Anita: “What’s it like to take a punch like that, Virani?”
Virani: “I mean…it’s a punch to the midsection. It hurts…especially if you aren’t ready for it. ”
Anita: “I was hoping for a bit more insight.”
Virani: “Sometimes my insight is just that obvious. It hurts to get punched.”
Commentator: “As we roll on in the 3rd, McGale slips to her left and in her next movement slams home a right hand. That’s lovely boxing from ‘The Peach.’ Changing up the angle allowed her to get a punch through with ease. She is well on her way to collecting yet another round.”
Emma: Astrid slows down for a moment, and I seize the initiative, faking, then slipping to my left to switch up the angle and then in one smooth motion, pivoting to throw a straight right hand right through the opening I created in Astrid’s guard. The sound of my fist hitting Astrid in the head and jaw is…satisfying. That must be why I love boxing.
Astrid: This is not going well…I cannot get a hold of Emma, I can’t control her. I’m just getting outboxed, and she’s starting to hurt me with her punches too.
Thomas: Emma is in the groove. It’s only a matter of time that the punishment she has been giving out to Astrid takes its toll. Emma’s not a big puncher, but the Swede isn’t known for an iron chin either.
Anita: “That’s it!”
Virani: “Emma’s boxing her brains out.”
Anita: “Can you explain how a punch like that doesn’t hurt more. It’s totally flush. It sounded good.It just seems random to me, which punches are the hurtful ones.”
Virani: “It’s…difficult to explain, but timing is very important. When someone lacks that extra natural power, they need to get the timing right, or throw punches in combinations to really hurt and opponent.”
Anita: “I’m still not sure I understand.”
Virani: “Now’s not the time for boxing lessons! Go EMMA!”
Commentator: “McGale and Olsson get into an extended exchange where nothing really lands, but Astrid slips a somewhat wild right hand from McGale…”
Emma: Damn, that was a bad miss, and I’m a bit overextended, better protect my chin…
Astrid: I bait the right hand and as I get out of the way of that incoming punch, I see a tasty little opening…
Virani: “Uh oh.”
Anita: “Why uh oh?!”
Commentator: “The Swedish Sweetheart drills home an absolutely wicked shot to Emma’s unprotected liver! If Astrid has got her timing and placement right, that could be a massive punch, one that could drop McGale or see her knocked out!”
Emma: “Ooofff….” I don’t feel right….
Astrid: Got her! Now to keep getting her!
Thomas: Oh shit…if that punch is as good as I think it was, that could be curtains….
Anita: “That hurt…but its just a punch to the body, right?”
Virani: “Maybe, maybe not.”
Anita: “What the heck does that mean?”
Commentator: “McGale is down! She took a perfect counter left hook to the liver and it seems that the Swedish Sweetheart has struck paydirt! McGale may have a hard time getting back to her feet! A well timed punch to the liver can leave the toughest fighter in tears on the canvas, and that one was perfect from Astrid. The only problem for the Swede is that Emma dropped so fast that she couldn’t land a follow up!”
Emma: The pain from that punch spreads through my body like wildfire. I’ve never felt anything like it. I just collapse after that. I want to scream, but I’m in so much pain I can’t even do that.
Astrid: Emma audibly groans and falls quickly, even before I can square up another punch. But I think I got her perfectly with that punch to the liver. That might end the fight right there.
Thomas: No! “Up, Get up Em!”
Virani: “Oh my god, no. Get up, Emma! Up!”
Anita: “I don’t get it, it was just one punch!”
Virani: “That was a knockout punch though. Boxing is cruel like that.”
Commentator: “The count has begun on Emma McGale…and the Englishwoman is moving, but still seems to be in tremendous amounts of pain. Despite a wonderful performance up until this point, it may be all she wrote for ‘The Peach.'”
Kanti: I’m about as surprised as anyone as Emma hits the canvas, but those liver punches can be sneaky and devastating. Astrid jogs over to the neutral corner without any instruction for me, so I get to Emma’s side and start counting.
Emma: I…can barely think. My body is just racked with pain…I can hear the count from the referee, but it’s like its happening to someone else, because this current Emma McGale is just…pain. Maybe that’s a sign to give up and stay in. Just roll over on my side, spit out my mouthpiece and be done.
Ugh…I can’t give up! Maybe my body is hurting, but my brain is still in control
Astrid: Wow, she’s trying to get up. Good heart, girl.
Thomas: “Get up Emma! Your job isn’t done yet!” I don’t know if she’ll make it.
Virani: “UP! Emma, UP! You can beat the count!” All that talk about showing heart, Emma. Now you need to show it.
Commentator: “McGale struggles on to one knee, but she still looks out of sorts as the count goes upwards. Can she overcome the pain and beat the count? All the while, The Swedish Sweetheart looks like she is waiting to pounce the moment that the fight resumes….”
Emma groans as she pushes herself onto one knee. She still looks hurt, but she’s making eye contact with me. Is that enough to let her continue? Eh…maybe. Emma hasn’t been in trouble outside of this one moment. She’ll get her chance to prove to me that she can continue. If she gets to her feet.
Emma: My body is fighting me as I try to get to my feet. I want to get up. My body…my body thinks it might be dying. My body….is wrong. I think. I can’t tell. I may lose here, but it’s not because I gave up, damnit. Getting to one knee was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can barely do it. Getting back to my feet might be the second. I hope I can do it.
Astrid: Maybe she’s going to make it. I guess I’ll have to politely put her back on the canvas! This time, hard enough that she won’t get up.
Emma: I push to my feet and put my gloves up. I’m still hurting…a lot..
Kanti: She’s up, but I want to test her vigour. I grab on to her wrists and push on them. Emma pushes back. Okay. Emma’s eyes show pain…but also resolve.
“Do you want to continue?”
Emma: “Yeah” Can you tell the Swede not to hit me in the liver again? Please and thank you.
Kanti: “Okay, Box!”
Virani: “Yes Emma! Up! Up! You can DO IT! Just last the round!”
Commentator: “Astrid Olsson has knocked down Emma McGale in the 3rd with a brutal punch to the liver, and though McGale beat the count, she looks like she has had the starch taken out of her. The movement from McGale that so flummoxed the Swedish Sweetheart is totally gone, replaced by McGale shelling up and hoping for the best. It’s worked for her a bit, but Astrid has managed to land some good punches in the last part of the round. A better finisher than Olsson might have polished off McGale, but as the bell rings to end the round, she has turned around this fight with one well placed punch. It will be up to McGale to see if she can re-establish what mad her so successful at the start of the fight.”
Astrid: My punch has changed this fight. Emma is still hurt and though I wish I could have landed another big shot, I don’t manage to do so. Still, there’s not the same sort of belief that Emma had in her eyes earlier. I think I’ve just punched it out of her.
Emma: I feel like I’m under siege. My body is…weak. I’m just hurt. I got off the canvas, but that didn’t magically make me feel better. And now I can’t keep Astrid off of me. She lands another few punches before the bell rings, as if just to emphasize that this is her fight now. I can’t wait to get to my stool.
Virani: “Emma’s still hurting. This is bad. Really bad.”
Anita: “Well, she’ll recover, won’t she?”
Virani: “I mean…maybe? Mentally, Emma’s not the strongest ever fighter and Astrid is the type of fighter that it is hard to fight against. I know she can get back on track, she’s got all the tools, the question is…will she.
Commentator: “A round that was looking like it would be another one for Emma McGale was changed by a wicked liver punch from Astrid Olsson. Let’s go to the corners to see how they will tell their charges to react given the change in this fight.”
In the blue corner:
Thomas: Emma lets out a small groan as she sits down. She is still hurting. It’s written all over her face. Okay, first things first, Tom.
“Emma, I need you to breathe with me. In…and then out…okay? Slow, calm, breathing.”
Emma: The world is spinning around me slightly. Okay…focus on Thomas for now, Emma. I take a few deep, calming breaths. That helps a little.
Thomas: Okay…I only have a little bit of time. Assess your fighter. Then provide advice.
“Emma, how are you feeling?”
Emma: “I’m hurt..it still hurts…”
Thomas: “That will fade, Emma. If you were really hurt, you couldn’t have gotten up, yes?”
Thomas: “Nothing needs to change Emma. You were boxing the ears off this girl before that punch. There’s no reason you can’t do that again. Okay?”
Emma: “Ummm…okay.” I don’t know if I can…I’m still hurting…
Thomas: “You can do it, Emma.”
In the red corner:
Sven: “Your pressure has paid off. This girl is hurt. The key now is to hurt her again, and mentally dominate her. Do not let her back in the fight.”
Astrid: “Okay, I won’t.”
Sven: “Punches should flow together. Land one punch, look for another, okay?”
Astrid: “Yes.” This next round should be mine. Maybe I can end it. Maybe not. I’ll expect that Emma will come back this round. That’ll be fun.
At the VIP Table, Anita and Virani are worriedly discusing the latest from the round.
Anita: “So…what the hell happened there? Lucky punch?”
Virani: “It’s not…luck, really. Emma missed, and Astrid just took the punch that was available to her. And she took it well.”
Anita: “So, is Emma going to recover from that punch?”
Virani: “Punches to the liver, aren’t like punches to the head. They have a different sort of feeling. Punches to the head, the pain from them goes away, but punches to the body linger.”
Anita: “This is a strangely fascinating sport.”
Virani: “Yes…I just hope Emma gets back on track.”
Across from Virani and Anita, DAZN head of boxing programming Spencer Grandin and his guest, Laila Ali are discussing the fight
Spencer: “What do you think so far?”
Laila: “I think you picked a great fight if you want to show off women’s boxing. It hasn’t been the most technical fight, but it’s been good to watch the whole time.”
Spencer: “Who do you think will win the fight?”
Laila: “Emma is better technically, and she has the better gameplan. She was cruising on a way to a stoppage. But this Swede has tenacity and it paid off. I think this next round will determine the winner. Whoever can adjust the best will win.”
Spencer: “Interesting. You think it will end by stoppage?”
Laila: “I think if Astrid is to win, she’ll win by knockout. Emma will probably take a decision.”