The two boxers come out of their corners for round 2, both confident and expecting to win the round. Kasandra starts out where she left off from, working smoothly behind the jab, never staying in place for too long. However, unlike the first round, Leanne works from a low crouch, proving harder to hit than Round 1. It’s a small adjustment, but it keeps Kasandra at bay for now.
It also provides Leanne with easier access to the taller Kasandra’s body, which she proves by landing a solid right hand to the body after sneaking into range. Kasandra feels the hardness of Leanne’s knuckles against her midsection, a warning sign that the girl from England isn’t exactly a light puncher.
Kasandra thinks: Tricky. But I can adjust.
Leanne thinks: Step one to breaking this tall bird down – first take the body.
Emma thinks: Damn, I don’t know if Kasandra is ready for this adjustment.
But the Polish fighter sticks to the gameplan given to her by her coach, and stays working behind a long jab. It’s not entirely without success, as she smacks Leanne nicely with the ‘2’ part of a ‘1-2’ combination. The Englishwoman nods as if to say, ‘you got me with that one’ but goes right back to her aggression.
Laila Ali: “This second round is hotting up here as both fighters are landing early. It’s a contrast in gameplans here, as Leanne has made a tactical adjustment, but Kasandra is sticking to hers. This one might not just be a battle of young fighters – this one might be a tactical battle too. I’ll guide you through the tactics behind the punches…because that’s what they pay me for!”
Thomas: “That’s how you do it!”
Leanne knows that if this is a pure boxing contest, Kasandra will still win, adjustment or not. But if she can make it a fight, she’ll have the fight in her playground.
Leanne raises her guard, which draws a feint from Kasandra as Leanne steps forward and Kasandra steps back, and pivots to throw a left hook, but Leanne changes levels, blocking her head and smothering Kasandra’s punch, which misses. Leanne steps in close before the young Pole can react and throws a pair of blasting hooks to the body, which Kasandra feels.
Laila Ali: Kasandra Sobieski has been good at range early in this fight, but it is the slightly stockier Leanne Storm that shows some success working in those tight corners. That may be something that she continues to go back to during the fight.
Kasandra thinks: Ow…that hurts.
Leanne thinks: I hope your abs are ready for a beating.
The Leather Express
The Englishwoman uses her strength to push Kasandra into the ropes, where ‘Bombel’ finds her senses and ties up Leanne before the more powerful fighter can brutalize her to the midsection any more.
After referee breaks up the clinch, Leanne steps immediately back into range, causing Kasandra to raise her guard as she looks to back up and find space again. But Leanne keeps her left arm extended, touching Kasandra’s high guard. For the Englishwoman, it’s a rangefider – an easy way to know what distance she needs to punch to. And it’s also a distraction.
A bit confused, Kasandra steps to her left to open an angle to throw a left hook, figuring that might be a good move, but Leanne sees Kasandra shift her weight and throws her punch first, a huge right hand, which she puts her whole body behind.
Leanne thinks: Knuckle sandwich, served with a nice side of coleslaw. Or should that be Poleslaw?
Emma thinks: This girl ain’t no ordinary fighter. Kasandra is going to be in a fight.
A Tactical Retreat
Kasandra is a bit stunned from that big shot, but she smartly uses her missed left hook to pull Leanne into a clinch, just barely able to tie up Leanne’s left hand before she drives it again into her stomach. The Englishwoman again uses her strength in the clinch to bully Kasandra, as she tries to break herself free. But Kasandra doggedly hangs on for the referee to break it up.
Laila Ali: “Leanne Storm landed the biggest punch of the night and it seems to have done some damage to Kasandra Sobieski. A neat little trick from the Englishwoman as she seems to be using a bit of a pressure game to unnerve Kasandra and take her out of her natural environment.”
Emma thinks: Leanne is made of some stern stuff. Makes sense considering who her dad is. Kass needs to get back to fighting at range. She can outbox this girl… if she’s careful.
The Polish fighter fights off the back foot for the remainder of the round as Leanne doggedly keeps chasing the taller fighter and keeping the pressure on. Kasandra tries to use her jab as a defensive weapon, seeming not to have another option in her bag of tricks. However, off her back foot, Leanne does a good job of avoiding the incoming leather.
Emma thinks: Yeah, a jab that weak… that’s just going to invite more pressure.
Leanne thinks: It’s a nice jab, but at a certain point, I’m just going to walk through it. There’s nothing on it.
We first go to Leanne Storm’s corner. The Englishwoman has had a good round and she seems confident in the corner as she talks with her father.
James: “That went well. She’s going to try to get a bit more aggressive this round, and it’ll suit us fine. We can trade 1 for 1 no problem. Encourage it if you need to. She loves that jab, but she’s fighting too upright behind it. Slip the jab and whole body is open – and if she tries to keep fighting, go body and then head. You slip her jab and the world opens for you.”
Leanne: “Okay. Her footwork is pretty good though, she might not want to stand and trade at all.”
James: “The ropes are your friend. She doesn’t have to be against the ropes, she just needs to have the threat of being in the ropes. That is enough to make her stand her ground.
Leanne: “Got it. I’ll make this a tough round for her.”
And we now go to Kasandra’s corner, where the young Pole looks a bit concerned after a bit of a shaky round where she got hit hard by her foe.
Kasandra: “That was a tough one. She’s not giving me time to think in there.”
Thomas: “You are getting a bit predictable. Your jab is a good weapon, but when you are using it constantly it’s natural that she’s going to come up with a solution to it. Don’t discard it, but be a bit more discriminate about using it.”
Thomas: “You are going to need to fight a bit more on the front foot here. Don’t be afraid to lead. You have the range advantage, so you should be able to get off first. Her defence isn’t too impressive, so you can hit her. Once you start landing, she won’t be so keen to engage.”
Kasandra: “She hits harder than me though…”
Thomas: “Doesn’t matter when you land 3 punches for every 1 she lands.”
Kasandra: “Okay, I’ll try it.”
Emma thinks: Kasandra looks a little unsure. I think she needs a good round right here to get on track. Her confidence comes and goes very quickly in my experience in sparring with her.