Alesia brings Virani to the deep end with creative pugilism in Round 6.
Esther: “We enter the second half of Schumann-MacVicar after a change of pace in the last round. Will the Super Lightweight champion flip the table on her Featherweight number one friend?”
The bell rings.
True to the game plan that worked so well, the pink skirt clad Canadian sets out to attack early with fast flurries that look dangerous. There’s strength in those gloves of hers, and she wants to use it.
The German blonde wants to use her own strengths as well, starting with defense. She rolls her way out of trouble, making pink leather slip and slide on her shoulders. Probably an improvement over taking hits at full impact on the chin.Click for HD
Roll and rock
Right after rolling to block a straight right with her left shoulder, Alesia has a Savannah Marshall moment. She throws herself forward with a speedy and heavy right hand. With a defensive pull-back in mind, Virani wants to reset her position before the counterattack comes in, but it happens too fast. A glove in the mouth. Pish!
Esther: “Someone has watched the tape of Marshall-Rankin closely to pull off moves that we hadn’t seen from her before. It results in a strong right hand that MacVicar was definitely not prepared to take.”
Anna: “I can confirm your hunch, Esther. Alesia is a huge fan of Savannah Marshall and she has practiced the evade-and-strike tactics of the only woman to have defeated Claressa Shields and to have knocked out Hannah Rankin. Come to think of it, it makes plenty of sense. Both like to work their way into a fight until the opponent can’t take it.”Click for HD
Spooked by the sneaky work, Virani withdraws for a little while. She jabs to prevent serious exchanges while trying to use the arena Wi-Fi to download a new software update. The download is successful, with the addition of feints. She fakes the left hook, her biggest weapon, twice to provoke the counter. When Alesia steps forward to throw a right hand against the withdrawing left, the Cobra steps back and twists to send a right uppercut flying up. It lands on the Diva’s forehead. Pish!
Anna: “Virani had difficult moments for a few minutes but she’s not out of this fight, Esther. Not by a long shot. With a lead on the scorecards, she raises the stakes by baiting with her favourite punch and landing her opponent’s fave. Cheeky.”
Esther: “You mean foreheady, given where she applied it.”Click for HD
Climbing the ladder
While Virani just updated her software, Alesia’s firmware reveals that it’s still very flexible to adapt to new code. The Featherweight resumes attacking dangerously with sharp straight punches that come very close to scoring.
With one minute gone, she almost reaches the chin with a straight left from an angle. Alesia has to lean backwards with chest movement and keep her hands split to avoid any form of contact.
Virani: “Dammit. So close.”Click for HD
Hitting a snake
Although the position and angle are different, the Bavarian does a near copy-paste of the last power shot on target. She’s close enough for the effective counter, leaning forward to unload a smashing right, this time in Virani’s nose. The crowd emits a big collective “ja!”
On the spot, Virani has the kind of sensation she never had in the competitive ring. This right hand opens the floodgates and blood drops out of her left nostril to stream down her face.
Esther: “Savannah… I mean Alesia… scores with another powerful right after making an incoming punch miss. She is marshalling her way back into the fight.”
Anna: “Good one there. Gotta give you credit for that.”
Esther: “It’s about time.”Click for HD
While she can be inspired by another professional fighter, Alesia can also fight in her very own way. The next 30 seconds are marked by the Philly shell, shoulder rolls and elusiveness that have become her trademarks. Virani’s mindset doesn’t change because she knows that the only way to send her friend crashing to the canvas is not cutting her any slack.
What follows is a pure Alesia moment. Virani throws a right hand that should lead to a chin crunch followed by a lean to the left to avoid the counter. Yet, the blonde makes a successful positional change. She steps outside and lowers her weight to throw a left bolo punch that thumps the upper right side of the Canadian’s face.
Esther: “We all heard what the coaches said during the previous break. It looks, to me, like Regina Halmich’s tactics are working while Thomas Nagy’s are not. What do you make of it, Anna?”
Anna: “It’s not like Nagy said something foolish, but I believe that the tactics on the Canadian coach’s side are outdated while the German’s are ever so flexible. Halmich is a true genius who manoeuvres a boxer who can do exactly what she is told.”Click for HD
The Thai boxer
Virani is losing the round as we enter the third minute. Are her spirits down? No. She stiffens her resistance by smacking Ally’s face with many jabs. Nothing that hurts, but it sends a signal about not being out of the fight, while working on a solution to regain the upper hand.
Deeper into the round, Virani has resumed pressing to force Alesia to step back near the ropes. She wants to throw a straight right while stepping forward, but the Queen of Uppercuts comes in with a left at the same time. In a split second, the former Canadian champ has to make a decision. She won’t be able to fully extend her arm. Should she pull it or continue the motion? She goes for the second, and it results into a semi-accidental elbow in Alesia’s chin.
The German groans. So do a few people in the arena.
Kanti thinks: “She was trying to throw a punch. I can’t punish that.”
The lack of a call makes the Diva reflect. “Damn. Regina was right. Virani can throw a Thai boxing elbow and get away with it!”Click for HD
A little submission
Virani wants to get physical after that elbow, while Alesia keeps a healthy distance after being rocked by one of the human body’s hardest bones.
With 15 seconds to go, the Canadian brunette is eager to get close and the German blonde figures she can’t evade that for much longer. Virani gets inside, in the middle of the ring, with every intention to clinch and hit.
The Cobra rapidly wraps her left arm around her friend, who offers no resistance as she gets manhandled. Virani’s right hand is totally free, and Ally chooses not to tie it up. From the shortest of distances, the Canadian uses her pink gloved fist to hit Ally repeatedly on the cheek, under the chin, the jawbone, in the mouth, in the nose. No surface is left uncovered. Each hit makes her face tingle, but none has the weight needed to truly hurt.
Alesia thinks: “Keep hitting. You’re burning fuel and I’m saving mine.”
The crowd cheers the combativeness.
Kanti thinks: “She’s using the body to set up punches.”Click for HD
Alesia stays in the Cobra’s clutches and takes the hits for a few more seconds, before pulling her arms up and tightening them for a gridlock. She wastes time and makes Kanti intervene to break it up, just before the bell rings.
Fatigue sets in
In the blue corner, Virani sits down for the first time in this fight.
Thomas: “Good to see that you’re taking a full rest.”
Virani is catching her breath. This time, she’s feeling the effects of giving a big effort over three-minute rounds.
Thomas: “V. Look at me.”
Thomas: “We’ve got to pace ourselves a little bit. Attacking her all the time is draining you. You gotta pick your shots because she’s picking hers, and that’s exactly her game.”
Virani: “It’s like… I come close to hitting her and the next thing you know, she lands a big shot.”
Thomas: “I need discipline from you. Start the next round strongly but don’t give too much away. Adapt to what you see. Alright?”
Virani, drawing a deep breath: “Yeah.”
He tends to her nosebleed, but the cuts in her nostril are hard to contain.
In the red corner, Alesia and Regina have little to say.
Regina: “How are you feeling?”
Alesia: “Great. She’s got a lead, but I got the fight. I just know.”
Regina: “Be steady. Flexible. Defense first, leather second. That’s how boxing works and nobody knows it better than you.”
The German legend puts more cold metal on her eye, puts coconut butter on her face and gives her water.
Regina: “This is your fight.”Click for HD
Anna: “I’m with Sophie Schumann, a Top 10 Lightweight fighter and sister of Alesia. How are you feeling about this?”
Sophie: “Pretty good. Alesia is still behind on the scorecard but look at the way these two are fighting. Do you doubt who’s the best woman in the ring? I don’t. Alesia will get this, whether it’s a decision or a knockout.”
Sophie: “Look at the tactics. Virani spent a lot of energy to build a lead and Alesia ate her black bread. But now? The more energetic fighter is my sister and she is mastering the art of making you miss by a hair and draining you before stuffing your face with her hands. It’s the kind of edge that makes her more dangerous than any one-punch knockout artist. I think Virani expected this fight to be easy after three rounds.”
Anna: “What do you make of the mind games that were played?”
Sophie: “My understanding is that Ally didn’t want to have anything to do with that in this fight, but she went ahead anyway because either she were to do that or risk losing. Now, Virani has to face a Diva who’s on top of her game, and I wonder if she can handle it. I’m not saying she’s unable to win, but this a big test at a whole new level.”
Anna: “Thank you.”
Sophie: “Thanks for having me.”
Anna: “As for my scorecard update, it’s pretty simple. Alesia took a second consecutive round to narrow the gap with a good display of her skills in Round 6. We are entering the decisive phase of this bout, with the possibility of a win on either side. Who will prove herself as the best?”Click for HD
Kanti: “Seconds out!”