It’s the first televised bout of the evening here in Toronto. The crowd has already been warmed up with some undercard action, but this is the first time that the television cameras are recording and ready to broadcast. The host on the broadcast for DAZN for the night of fights is, like usual, Laila Ali.
Laila Ali: “Welcome to another night of Laila Ali’s Thursday Night Boxing here on DAZN! We are here in Toronto with a great card of fights for all of you fight fans out there. I’m sure you are all here for the main event, but before we can get to the main course, we have the appetizers, and what a great fight this should be.”
Laila: “This fight is 8 rounds in the women’s Featherweight division, and we have two very different ladies ready to contest this match. First, we have Kasandra Sobieski, the Polish fighter that has relocated her life to right here in Toronto, where she works with Virani MacVicar as one of her main sparring partners. Not just a sparring partner, she’s a highly regarded fighter in her own right that is undefeated in 4 fights. There are even some whispers that she’s more talented than her gym mate.”
The Polish fighter looks confident as highlights of her past victories play on the big screen behind her.
Laila: “Her opponent has a unique story of her own. Leanne Storm is the more experienced fighter, with a record of 8 wins and 4 losses. She’s a scrappy fighter, fighting out of Northampton in England. If her name sounds somewhat familiar to fight fans in the United Kingdom it may be because her father, who is in her corner tonight, is James Storm, an all action fighter that had a long and much loved career in the 80s and 90s. He initially forbade his daughter to box, but after a rocky start to her career, she changed his mind and he is now the main man in charge of her career. It’s been a successful venture as she is 4-1 since they joined up.”
Leanne Storm certainly looks like a fighter. Anyone looking at those shoulders could come to that same conclusion.
The two ladies come to the middle of the ring for the referee’s instructions. The referee here is Clarissa Starling, an experienced referee that has been all over the world refereeing bouts. The two fighters stare intensely at each other but when instructed they touch gloves respectfully.
Kasandra thinks: Why am I always fighting redheads, I thought redheads were supposed to be rare.
Leanne thinks: This girl isn’t ready for what I’m going to bring her.
Emma thinks: I can’t watch this. I don’t even know who to cheer for. I think I’m cheering for a power outage.
Professor of Boxing, Kasandra Sobieski
The young Pole starts out the fight on the front foot. Like usual for her, she works behind a long jab, occasionally following up with a right hand to mix things up. ‘Bombel’ shows her technical class by moving smoothly in the ring, setting her feet to throw punches and once that is complete she gets back on her bike to move away.
Laila Ali: “Kasandra Sobieski is a lovely young woman and a lovely young boxer. Sometimes all you can do is admire someone who understands the sweet science at the level that Kasandra does. She might have missed a career in dancing though, as her footwork is that good.”
Emma thinks: This is the Kasandra I get to spar against in the gym, lord knows she’s a smooth as hell boxer.
Leanne thinks: Okay lady, lets see what you can do here. I just want your measure in this round. I’m playing the long game here.
It’s not all just light jabs from the Polish fighter as when Leanne tries to step up to punish the jabbing fighter, the Polish fighter turns in her hip and unleashes a left had with a lot of pep behind it. It lands over Leanne’s open guard and jolts the Englishwoman’s head backwards, a warning that she can’t just walk into range without setup.
Emma thinks: I think I’ve gotten hit by that exact jab at least 20 times. It smarts.
Kasandra thinks: You might want to avoid that one, next time.
Leanne thinks: Okay, you’ve got some power then. Noted.
The first round of this fight is a comfortable one for Leanne, as although she tries to force the action a few times, Kasandra easily fights behind a jab, reducing Leanne to trying speculative counters, and absorbing more than her fair share of leather.
With 42 seconds left in the round, Kasandra thumps home a right hand as Leanne’s slow counter only opened her up for punishment.
Laila Ali: “Kasandra Sobieski is en fuego here in the opening round as she lands a gem of a right hand that crunches Leanne Storm’s jaw. Leanne tried to counter but was a day late and a dollar short.”
Emma thinks: This isn’t right. I scouted Leanne. She’s better than this. What game is she playing?
Leanne thinks: Come to me girl, I can take this all day.
Having done more than enough to win the round, Kasandra slows down as the round ticks away. The lack of activity from the Polish fighter invites Leanne to try her luck to do something to change the story of the 1st round. She throws a straight right that Kasandra avoids before trying a wild overhand left hook that Kasandra easily slips.
Laila Ali: “As pure a boxing performance as you will see in the first round as Kasandra shows mastery of both offence and defence. Maybe it doesn’t have the power shots that some fans crave, but those that appreciate the sweet science will appreciate the gulf in class on display here.
Kasandra thinks: The hell was that?
Leanne thinks: Well that punch was wild. At least I hope you think this will be an easy fight now.
To the Corners
DING! The round is over. Time to see what the corners are saying.
In Kasandra’s corner, there isn’t much cause for concern.
Thomas: “Great round. 7 more of those and we can be out of here and eating a steak dinner.”
Kasandra: “It’s weird. It almost feels too easy.”
Thomas: “When it’s natural, it’ll feel easy. Just keep that confidence high. Don’t let this girl into the fight. We know she’s a scrapper.”
Kasandra: “I’ll keep my feet moving. She won’t be able to get close.”
Thomas: “That’s what I want to hear!”
In the other corner, the mood is surprisingly calm as the former fighter steps inside the ropes to advise his daughter.
James: “So, she as good as advertised?”
Leanne: “If boxing was judged as a dance competition, she’d win.”
James: “Okay, time to make this ugly just like you know how. Make her uncomfortable in there. She fights tall, so see what she does when you crouch low. Give her a high guard as well. We aren’t going to let this girl settle in. Once we start landing, we’re going to pick her apart.”
Leanne: “Just like your old fights.”
James: “These fights get to be in High Definition at least.”