Finding their range
The fight starts out with Virani starting in a very tall and technically correct stance, where Michaela starts off with her hands a bit lower, trusting in her head and upper body movement to keep those red gloves away from her.
The first stage of the fight has Virani trying to keep the shorter, stouter, German at her preferred range. After a couple of misses, the Canadian finds a home for her jab on Michaela’s chin, snapping her head as it finds her chin. The first solid blow of the fight goes to the Canadian.
Virani thinks: Gotcha. If I can keep you right there you can’t hurt me.
Michaela thinks: Sometimes you have to take a punch or two to see what your opponent can do. Virani’s got some pop in those gloves. Even with that jab.
Having felt Virani’s jab, Michaela ups the use of her footwork, rarely standing in front of the Canadian for any length of time and making herself unpredictable.
A little while later, the German steps forward, which draws the jab from Virani, but Michaela’s head isn’t there anymore as she moves low and to the side, finding her target – Virani’s midsection.
Virani thinks: Nicely done. It’s not a tremendously powerful punch, but I get the sense she has power to spare.
Michaela thinks: I may not look like a dancer, but I know how to move in the ring.
Alesia thinks: “That’s the Michaela I know. When she gets a little bit close, she’s unstoppable.”
Virani and Michaela are both fighting fairly cautiously in this opening stage. There’s leather being thrown, but more often it is not landing flush, and often is being blocked or avoided by good upper body and head movement. A case in point is an overhand hook thrown by Virani that is gracefully blocked by the German before it can find the pink-haired slugger’s chin.
Laila: “Those who may have expected this fight to start out as a massive slugfest will be disappointed by the opening bit of this round, which has been far more tactical than a brawl. However, these two ladies are not just sluggers, but boxers that just happen to be powerful punchers and those that enjoy the sweet science are probably enthralled.”
Michaela, frustrated slightly by her inability to get inside on Virani, uses her next opportunity to push Virani backwards and into the ropes. The two fighters tussle for a bit, looking for an opening, before Michaela sneaks her left hand free and lands a short uppercut right on the chin of the Canadian.
Laila: “Sommer connects with one of her favourite weapons in close range. The Canadian will not want to tussle too much with the German as she is clearly stronger in the clinch and she paid the price this time.”
Michaela thinks: That’s why my nickname is Queen Kong, Cobra.
Alesia thinks: “Yeah. You don’t wanna get in this kind of physical altercation, Virani. Michaela will do this all night long if you let her.”
The Cobra’s Measured Strikes
After extracting herself from Michaela, Virani goes back to fighting at a distance. It’s not easy, as Virani works hard to keep the tenacious ‘Queen Kong’ at an appropriate distance for her longer arms. The Cobra keeps moving and catches Michaela with an excellent right hand at full extension. Michaela’s shorter arms prevent a reply.
Laila: “The Cobra has found her measuring tape out and has found the right distance for her right hand and she introduces it to the head of Michaela Sommer. Not a knockout punch, but a great show of fundamentals from the Canadian.”
Virani thinks: This is exactly what I want to do in this fight. Red glove in Michaela’s face, no chance of reply.
Virani is able to box fairly comfortably at a distance, though she’s not exactly landing massive power punches either. Still, the Cobra does manage to find a home for her red adidas gloves on Michaela’s face, including one that distorts the German’s face slightly.
Michaela thinks: Ow. Need to move my head more or Virani is going to move my head for me.
Alesia thinks: “That was clean. At range and from angles, this is Virani’s fight.”
First Round in the Books
Virani walks back to her corner fairly happy with her first round display, she has to believe that she has won the first round in this ten round fight.
Thomas: “Good work, Virani. Good use of distance. We want to force her to beat you.”
Virani: “I can already tell she hits hard. Gives me some good incentive to not get hit.”
Thomas: “Let’s keep that pretty face pristine, okay?”
Virani: “Don’t worry, nothing can wreck this face.”
Thomas: “Yeah, well keep focused, Michaela’s not going to let the fight be easy. Don’t let her push you around inside like she did there. That’s bad news.”
Virani: “Who would have thought someone with the nickname ‘Queen Kong’ would be strong…”
In Michaela’s corner, the German is a bit chagrined at her performance in the first round. Her coach, Axel Plesner is not so amused.
Axel: “So, do you think that was a good round?”
Michaela: “I’ve had worse…”
Axel: “If you want to be target practice for Virani it was a good start. Let’s see a tight guard, better movement and a focus on taking the body. You may be shorter than her, but it’s easier for you to go to the body. High guard will take away her easy options to the head.”
Michela: “I copy. If I can get inside too, I’ll keep pushing her around.”
Axel: “Exactly, you must fight where you are strong. This girl is not a pushover like some of the other girls. She’ll make you work.”
Michaela: “I’m ready for it.”