Emma McGale v. Tanille Taylor – Round 1

As remembered by Emma McGale

After that annoying staredown, I went back to my corner and got my mouthpiece from Thomas. I think he told me some words of encouragement, but I was already so locked in that I couldn’t for the life of me remember what he said. I hoped it wasn’t some sort of very important advice that I needed.

I turned to face Tanille across the ring. She still had that stupid grin on her face. Jesus, girl, this is about to be a fight, the least you could do is look serious. Thankfully, when the bell rang, her expression changed to something more serious as we walked to meet in the middle of the ring, touching gloves before stepping back and getting to the task of boxing. The plan for the opening rounds was to make Tanille feel like she’s in a fight, going to the body and seeing how she reacts to that. Tanille doesn’t have the fittest looking midsection in the world, and I plan to test it.

Tanille snapped a few jabs off her back foot. I eat the first one (ouch), but managed to parry the next few. Seeing Tanille’s speed up close and personal, I have to admit, it’s a bit frightening. She’s absurdly quick with her punches. The Prodigy seemed rather passive, content to just let the fight play out, so it’s time for me to go to work. I threw a jab before changing levels and swaying to my right, making sure to keep my guard up. My body torqued as I have an angle to Tanille’s midsection and my pink glove connected against Tanille’s body with a satisfying thud. The fight’s first real punch landed went to me.

Emma v. Tanille - 1

Tanille jabs again to make me back off. I can already tell that her jab is going to be a problem. I’m going to end up getting my nose flattened by one or two, I’m pretty sure. Oh well, if I wanted to be pretty, I’m in the wrong sport. Tanille and I trade minor punches, mostly the American girl is pretty passive, waiting for the fight to come to her. She throws the odd right hand to keep me honest, but mostly she works with the jab, keeping me from getting too comfortable in the pocket.

The flame haired girl takes a step forward and fires a jab, I block that one and I see her try to fire another, so I try to meet it with a jab of my own, but Tanille’s target wasn’t my head, but the body, and her jab lands right at my breastbone, while my jab just misses. Ow, fuck. That’s a great location for a punch and I feel it as I back off. I almost wish she would have hit me in the boob. Hmm…maybe not. Probably would have hurt about the same, but at least I was spared the ignominy of getting my boobs punched in public.

Emma v. Tanille - 2

I wasn’t going to let Tanille get all the momentum – the last thing I wanted her to do is win this 1st round and put me behind on the scorecards, especially as she she seems to be taking this round a bit easy. I was not going to wait to be awed by Tanille Taylor, I wanted to go right after her. I found a good opening and fired home a right hand that caught Tanille with her guard low. Her head movement isn’t enough to stop this one as it caught her around the eye. Tanille fired a wild left hook that dissuaded me from following up, but I showed that I can land proper punches on ‘The Prodigy.’

Emma v. Tanille - 3

So far, I was feeling good, and I could feel the pro-Tanille crowd getting a little nervous that I was doing so well early on – and that is like music to my ears. Tanille’s guard was tighter now, she’s a bit more wary of the fact that I can do damage to her. I’ve earned her respect, hopefully. Tanille slides to her right and I tried to track her with a right hand, but she slides into a bit of philly shell stance to avoid it. Okay then missy, you’ve got some tricks, but I’ve seen you use this one before.

Tanille stayed in that stance for a few moments as I cautiously probed at it. This isn’t entirely unexpected, but Tanille almost exclusively uses this stance to counterattack, from what I’ve seen on tape, so I’m not going to be drawn in. That’s one advantage I’ll always have – I will do my homework, I will decode your tendencies. Virani has called me a boxing nerd before and…you know what, I totally am.

Emma v. Tanille - 4

If fans were expecting Tanille to blow me away, they must have been pretty disappointed with this round so far. I’m winning it, being the more aggressive, accurate fighter and it’s not like I’m doing anything special either. I’m not going to just walk into a big punch and I’m not going to get crazy and try to end a fight in one punch either. I’m having fun targeting the body too. I keep my punches balanced so I’m not predictable, but I put a little more oomph into my punches to the body and I don’t think the American appreciates that.

Near the end of the round, I got Tanille with a pretty good shot to the body that got an audible grunt from her. This girl doesn’t quite have the same abdominal fortitude as someone like, say, Virani. There’s a bit of flesh here to hit that doesn’t like being hit. There’s a little ‘give’ there. This seemed like a promising target for the future, as long as I don’t get caught when going to the body.

Emma v. Tanille - 5

As the round ticks away, Tanille seemed to accept that she’s going to lose this round, so she stayed passive, waiting for the bell to bring a minute respite and then a blank slate of a round for her to get back on track. I saw this as an opportunity to add some damage to Tanille, this being a boxing match and all. Frankly, my chances of winning a decision are small, so I need to hurt Tanille at some point. So it’s time to throw some punches with evil intent behind them. My best punches are my hooks, so I threw my right hook, which Tanille swayed to avoid, but I follow it up with a left hook that lands solidly, sending Tanille’s head jerking sideways.

Emma v. Tanille - 6

Emma v. Tanille - 6a

Tanille stepped forward and tied me up, preventing me from following up on my punches, but I’m satisfied with the round, I landed pretty much all the impactful punches and despite Tanille showing that she has some real skills, my own skills carried the day. For round 1 at least.

I walk back to the corner and take my seat on the chair. Thomas does the usual thing, removing my mouthpiece giving me a quick sip of water while I take a moment to control my breathing. That round had been pretty darn good, pretty much exactly what Thomas must have wanted from me. It’s almost too bad there’s a break.

“Okay, Ms. McGale, that was really good. She’s a quick little thing isn’t she?” asked Thomas.

“Yeah. Annoying.”

“I think we need to keep working the body, make her pay when she misses. Let’s try to rough her up a bit, make her uncomfortable in there.”

“I agree, we’ll stick with the plan.”

“She’s probably going to come at you hard. So expect it.”

“I’ll be ready.”

“Win another round and put her in a tough spot,” said Thomas as he applied some vaseline on my face. “But watch her angles, she’s going to try to throw you off. You know how to adjust.”

“I know.”

Thomas grabbed my mouthpiece back, washed it a last time and gave it to me as I stood from my stool. “Make us proud, Em.”

I smiled as I bit down on my mouthpiece. Oh, I intend to make everyone proud.

Emma v. Tanille - 7 - Emma's Corner

Laila Ali: “After a disapointing first round, lets see what the mood is in the corner of Tanille Taylor.”

Scott: “Are you sure you don’t want to sit?”

Tanille: “That girl did nothing to me. I’m good.”

Scott: “Well she whupped you in the last part of the round. I think she hurt you with a body punch too.”

Tanille: “I am NOT hurt, and you told me to take it easy in the first round, get a handle on what she can do.”

Scott: “And…do you now?”

Tanille: “Yeah. She’s…decent. Hits pretty good. But, she doesn’t have great footwork or head movement.”

Scott: “Okay. Now it’s time to give her the full Tanille Taylor experience. Attack from angles, and I want to see punches in bunches okay? Let’s hurt this girl, make her afraid to come and exchange punches with you.”

Tanille: Thank you.”

Laila: “The Taylor camp is promising to unleash the full force of ‘The Prodigy’ in the 2nd round, but we’ll have to see if Tanille can find that top gear after stalling out a bit in a tentative first round.”

Emma v. Tanille - 7 - Tanille's Corner

Emma McGale
Emma McGale
A self admitted boxing nerd and friend of Virani. Especially powerful and dangerous working from in close Super Featherweight contender.