Opening Round Jitters

The Fight Begins


Chantal: “10 rounds or less of championship boxing for the Featherweight championship of Canada starts now.”

The two boxers start out cautiously, as befit fighters more known for their intelligence than one punch knockout power. They circle gingerly around each other, throwing jabs that don’t have much menace behind them.

The crowd is about to get on the fighters for a lack of action, when the first major action of the fight occurs. It’s a simple bit of skill from Mechelle, who throws a double jab, and as Emma backs up, Mechelle steps forward and throws a blistering right hand. Emma probably should have blocked it, but an unusually sloppy defence allows it to crash through.

Chantal: “The first real blow of menace lands here as Mechelle gets Emma backing up with her jab before following through with a serious right hand. This has been an unusually tense start to this fight, lets see if the action picks up now.”


Early Struggles

If that right hand allows Mechelle to settle into the fight, it seems to make Emma even more nervous. Her footwork, which is usually solid, if never spectacular, seems off. The power of a boxer comes from having a solid base, and Emma’s base is not solid at the moment. She doesn’t keep her feet planted when throwing her punches and that disrupts any power that she might get behind her punches as is shown with a particularly off balance right hand being missed by The Peach.

Chantal: “An unusually wayward punch from McGale, who didn’t really seem to have her usual technique early in this fight.”

Mechelle thinks: Emma’s not fighting the way she usually does. I better up the pressure, maybe I can gain the mental advantage early.


Mechelle pressures Emma with her jab, and The Peach again seems to only retreat, or on the occasion fire off a speculative counter. ‘The Pretty Warrior’ considers for a moment what she wants to throw when she has Emma on the back foot. She throws a speculative jab which has the desired effect of bringing Emma’s attention high, before quickly changing levels and slamming a hard uppercut into Emma’s stomach. Emma had just enough time to prepare herself for the blow, but she still feels Mechelle’s hard knuckles smack against her midsection.

Chantal: “Mechelle Gauthier is boxing well here as she’s really got Emma McGale on the back foot. We’ve heard from her camp that Mechelle’s been working on her uppercut, and that one landed completely clean. That’s the kind of punch that will sap the strength from a fighter. A smart punch from a well drilled fighter.”

Emma thinks: Oof, that one hurt. Just managed to tighten up in time or that could have hurt a lot more.


Settling In…

It’s not completely one way traffic in the round, as even though Emma is struggling, she does have her moments. Emma’s footwork is still a bit unsettled, but she settles it for a moment to land a glancing right hand as she catches Mechelle’s left hand a little out of position.

Mechelle thinks: I was sloppy to get caught, but that one didn’t hurt that much. What happened to the girl who loved to fight inside? I’ll fight at this distance any time.

Emma thinks: That was glancing, but it landed.

Chantal: “Finally something for fans of Emma McGale to cheer for, as she gets Mechelle with a grazing punch that probably gets Mechelle’s attention more than it hurts her in any way. But it could be something to build on.”


…Or Not

That right hand from Emma only seems to light a fire inside Mechelle, who has no intention of letting the first round of this title fight slip away. She attacks with strong footwork and puts Emma under pressure, taking The Peach completely out of her element.

Before long, Emma find herself backing up and backing up even more, and so, she feels a sense of urgency to reset. To do so, so she fires off a pair of jabs to try to sneak away and stop the pressure. The first brushes Mechelle’s guard, and the Québécoise reads that another jab is coming, and shifts her weight into throwing a whipping right hook. Mechelle’s red glove crashes home before Emma’s weak jab can make its way, distorting Emma’s cheek and sending sweat flying from her head.

Chantal: “Oh, a nice right hand again from Mechelle Gauthier! She’s setting the pace and taking McGale right out of her game here in the first round and that is the biggest punch of the round so far.”


Emma steps forward and ties up Mechelle, who doesn’t try at all to fight it. She knows that Emma is stronger than her and has no intention of wasting her energy trying to break free.

With the end of the round approaching and the round lost, Emma does the smart thing and retreats, though Mechelle pursues, feeling very confident that the first round has gone completely to plan. As the bell rings, the body language of the fighters tell the full story.

Mechelle thinks: I got you, girl.

Emma thinks: This girl is way better than I gave her credit for. She’s making this look easy. I’m in tough here.


The First Break

In the red corner, the French-Canadians get to celebrate a first round that went well for ‘The Pretty Warrior.’ Mechelle sits on her stool and has a quick chat with Sylvie, who basically tells her – good work, keep it up.

In the blue corner, things are a bit more urgent.

Emma thinks: I got my butt kicked in that first round, it’s amazing it wasn’t worse.

Thomas: “Sit, Emma, take a deep breath.”

Emma: “So, not a good round.”

Thomas: “Emma, you need to calm the heck down. You look like you are in your first ever sparring session out there. You aren’t moving properly, you are dancing on your toes. You look nervous. Look, this is just another fight, that’s just another fighter out there. Take a deep breath with me. In and out. In and out.”

The fighter listens along with Thomas and complies, breathing deeply and admitting to herself that she had gotten a bit nervous in the first round.

Thomas: “Let’s focus on what we worked on here – get inside and start roughing Mechelle up. We didn’t see anything special from her this round, so let’s make her not look special out there, okay?”

Emma: “I’m on it. Use the shoulders, be a bully.”

Thomas: “Make it an ugly fight if you have to. We are here to win, not make friends.”


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

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  1. Hmm well I can’t really say much for this round, it was pretty obvious even before the fight started that Emma was nervous about this fight, and that nervousness did not help her at all, it really just helped Mechelle dominate the first round.

    Nice job on Mechelle taking advantage of Emma’s nervousness but she needs to step it up next round if she actually wants to give her a good fight and I’m sure Thomas knows what to do, I’m sure Emma will be fine and I’m sure she’ll give the audience and her opponent a surprise;)

    I have to say my favorite pic in this has to be the uppercut to the body. ❤️

    • Emma’s got to settle those nerves if she wants a chance in this one. Can’t be letting too many rounds slip away.

      Mechelle was on top that round, and landing the best punches for sure. But Emma seems like she might have her head on straight now. She needs to come back and show everyone what she’s made of!

      You are going to like a lot of pics in this fight, I guarantee it 😀

  2. Some people have a knack for transforming body language into a fist in the face, don’t they? Mechelle certainly remains the more confident of the two women in this first round of the title fight, and I dare say it’s aesthetically pleasing to see her throw – and land – punches. Yes, I’m that kind of person.

    The French speaker starts nicely with that right cross and the English-Canadian does look a little unstable on your feet. Footwork and legwork decide a lot more in boxing than most people know, as everything from balance to power comes from the legs. It’s very unsurprising that being slightly out of stance puts Emma at a disadvantage.

    Uppercut? Check. Mechelle surely gets an A for timing, accuracy and pain delivery. A side of fries with that?

    Emma does get a little blue in Mechelle’s face, but the face-squishing red she eats later leaves no doubt. This is a Warrior round. I bet the right hook made a sound she will want to have on her phone and listen to anytime she needs a little pick-me-up.

    While most will look at the punches first, my render of the round is the first one at 0:01. Mechelle’s body language is confident and a bit dominant. Emma is only in a mood to make it to the bell, and a few more seconds could have meant more punishment. The psychology of boxing is right there.

    • Mechelle’s confidence is straight up flowing in this opening frame, while Emma is slooow out of the gates. Yes, Mechelle is aesthetically pleasing as a boxer no doubt, with nice curves, nice confidence and a nice outfit. Emma’s no slouch here though :D.

      Emma’s perhaps overthinking this whole thing. There’s bound to be lots on her mind, even if she’s not thinking about it right now, but the pressure that she places on herself to prove her father wrong must be playing on her at some level.

      Mechelle’s not showing tremendous power, she’s certainly showing that she’s a solid fighter. Emma will have to up her game. That right hand, as you pointed out, may make Mechelle’s highlight reel.

      The last render of the action do tell the story of the round. Mechelle smiles as if to say ‘9 more rounds of this sounds fun, doesn’t it?’ wheras Emma is hoping time goes faster because she’s quite had it with this round.

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