The world championship fight between Nadia Monteil and Anastasia Orlova continues. Between rounds 5 and 6, Anastasia’s coach urges her to stay the course and keep control of the action.
The talk is more negative in the champ’s corner, with Virginie Rossignol wanting to save the day.
Virginie: “Nice right hand at the end. How are you feeling now?”
Nadia: “Better, but I can’t outbox her all the time. She’s still very strong. I need to rope a dope.”
Virginie: “Hmmm. Are you sure?”
Nadia: “She’s too tall. I can’t go in all the time. I’ll walk into a big shot. How many big punches did I land in five rounds? Just one.”
Virginie: “It saddens me, but you may be right. You’re not an inside fighter and she’s formidable from outside. She has to throw her hardest punches to get tired. She will only do it if you are there to receive. Then we can take her out in the late rounds. Do you trust your chin?”
Nadia: “Yes. I’ll do it. I can’t just let her cruise to a decision win. I’d rather risk everything. My title and career are on the line.”
The coach puts extra vaseline on her face.
Virginie: “Bite on that mouthpiece. It will be painful.”
The bell rings and the fighters meet in the centre of the ring. For all her willingness to “take shots for the team”, Nadia hesitates to do it early in the round. Anastasia takes the initiative, throwing punches from a distance. This reminds the defending champ how hard it is to get close.
Nadia thinks: “Dammit. I really have do this.”
The champ starts backing up slowly to invite pressure. She lowers her gloves a bit. Anastasia comes forward cautiously. She isn’t used to a pure attacking mindset. It proves that the French coach was right.
Virginie: “Come on!”
With a minute to go, Anastasia throws a sharp jab over Nadia’s gloves, landing it cleanly in the middle of her face.
Anastasia thinks: “She’s slowing down. I can run away with the decision.”
She gets more confident and marches forward. Nadia blocks many shots with her gloves, but the Russian increases pressure, puts more venom in her punches and lands with more authority.
Referee Rebecca thinks: “Rope a dope? Then I can’t stop the fight as long as Nadia seems to know what she’s doing.”
The second minute goes “according to plan”. The Fugitive carries the round easily.
Esther: “Nadia Monteil is unusually passive in her attempt to make Anastasia Orlova spend energy. It only worked to some extent. The Russian hasn’t gone mad with headhunting. This can easily backfire.”
Alesia: “I can’t figure out if Anastasia is too good or if Nadia is deflating before our eyes.”
Regina: “Me either, but it’s clear that Anastasia is better than expected.”
Roping or getting roped?
Between rounds 6 and 7, we once again see contrasting advice in the corners.
Anastasia hears that she should be more aggressive since Nadia seems tired. The defending champ hears that she should stay the course. Make her opponent throw, hope the chin holds up and save energy for the late rounds.
The Russian begins Round 7 with a flurry. The Frenchwoman takes several clean hits, rewarding her opponent’s investment. Throughout the round, Anastasia increasingly goes for power. The champ accepts pain and grunts. The local crowd goes silent. Monteil’s resistance is seemingly fading for the first time of her career.
In the last 10 seconds, Nadia is cornered. Anastasia peppers her with jabs to keep her busy, and once the defense has been split open, she slips a strong right cross between the gloves. PISH!
The bell rings to end the champion’s suffering.
Esther: “Monteil is taking big risks with the rope a dope tactics as discussed in her corner. Orlova’s punishment seems to take its toll. Can the champ recover and finish strongly? She will need a knockout to win.”
Alesia: “What is going on?”
Regina: “Nadia may have lost confidence. Anastasia hasn’t given her a chance.”
Coaches are eager to see their fighters after Round 7. Let’s join the corners to hear their words of wisdom.
In the red corner, Virginie Rossignol requires a change of tactics.
Virginie: “You sacrificed your chin enough. Now is the time to go on the offensive. You have three rounds to knock this girl out. She is a bit slower than two rounds ago. I need you to go in and give her the business.”
Virginie: “We have to do it the old-school way. First, take the body. Second, go to the head to make it fall off. Inside fighting is the only option. You must get closer than her optimal reach. When you will do that, her long arms will become useless.”
Nadia: “Got it.”
Virginie: “Short punches and shoulder pushes. Force her out of her comfort zone.”
In the blue corner, Dimitri Ivanov is more reassuring.
Dimitri: “Good job. We are far ahead on the scorecards. Nadia seems discouraged. It’s the first time we see that on her side. It’s essential to keep her in the right range to extend your arms. Make her feel your knuckles. She can’t take your punches forever.”
Dimitri: “She has more raw power, but you have the longer legs, the longer arms, the greater height and the greater talent. You are superior and it shows.”
The Russian boxer nods again.
Dimitri: “Don’t hunt for a knockout. Work patiently and if you have your chance, be swift. Be deadly.”
A fateful Round 8 is about to start. One of these boxers will come out as champion. Who will it be?