Heavy duty leather flies and a huge body shot makes a difference.
We are still live at the Olympia Eishalle in Munich, with Alesia’s fans drumming and chanting for their world champion. The two fighters are less “bouncy” than before, but still very determined to win this intense contest.
The bell rings for Round 7 to begin.
This one marks a change in Virani’s strategy. She is a little more cautious when approaching Alesia in the middle of the ring. The Indian-Canadian was bitten a few times in the last couple of rounds, and she needs to control the energy spending. Her Bavarian counterpart is fine with that. Strategic and tactical are two words she could spell on a keyboard, even with the gloves on.
Jabs, feints and head movement are a staple in the early going. Until Alesia pumps the jab twice before going for the right hand. The Cobra replies with a counterattack. It’s a left hook over the top, throwm swiftly and accurately to bang the blonde’s cheek.
A power shot on target is just what the visitor needs to sign a renewed confidence lease. Although more disciplined, she treats herself to a new burst of aggression. It’s hard to make much of it since the slippery Diva doesn’t easily allow a decisive approach to work. That leg work and those shoulder rolls are slick and artful. The art of defense is on her side.
That’s why the brunette gets physical. The former Canadian Featherweight champion makes Alesia duck under a jab before lowering her arm to grab her. She pulls her in with her left hand, holding the head firmly with her glove and slamming her right hand into the jaw. PAFF.
Ally grunts. Taking a hit without being able to move your head is very painful.
Esther: “Schumann is fighting well, but she is once again the target of a Thai boxing move! The kind of tactic that flies under Kanti Agrawal’s watch, for a hard fist in the face that she can do nothing about.”
Ally thinks: “Dammit. This chick really likes beating me up. We gotta talk after this rough relationship after the fight. Maybe with counseling?”
The thought doesn’t prevent the former German champion from raising her level once more. Fast and furious combinations repel Virani, who now knows better than to engage with a Raging Diva. She bides her time and, gasp, works the defense. To everyone’s surprise, the girl in pink and black turns on the shutdown mode to ensure that a resurgent Minister of Defense can’t turn into the Minister of War.
Then, the second surprise. Alesia intensifies the effort and lets the white leather fly until pressure becomes unbearable. Virani has two options at this point. Either she keeps falling back until cornered, or tries to stand her ground. She ticks the second box in the middle of the ring.
Virani opts to throw a left hand while flat footed, and Alesia makes herself small to drive a left uppercut to the body on the counter. A stunningly sharp blow to the midsection. More accurately: straight in the solar plexus, which is one of the most tender parts of the human body.
If you ever took a well-timed and accurate blow at that level, you know what happens next. Where are Virani’s air supplies? Nowhere near her lungs. Her legs? They turn into tofu. She goes down within a second, making the Munich crowd explode.
Esther: “MACVICAR IS ON THE CANVAS! Taken down by a body shot on the button. What a good punch by Schumann.”
Anna: “Head punches tend to make the headlines, but a perfectly thrown one to the body will make you wonder why you ever dared to climb in the boxing ring. At this time, every breath Virani takes is a painful one, and she is about to have 10 seconds to drum up the willpower to get up and say: I can still fight.”
Kanti looks down to assess Virani’s state. At the same time, Alesia doesn’t need a signal. She turns around and heads to a neutral corner without boasting.
Kanti: “One… two… three… four… five…”
The five seconds were painful ones for the downed fighter, who is halfway to her feet.
Kanti: “Six… seven… eight…”
Virani is up. She’s still hurt and she can’t hide it. This knockdown took something out of her.
Kanti: “Do you want to continue?”
Virani thinks: “… I think.”
Alesia takes a cautious approach at the restart. She knows that an injured animal is a dangerous one because survival is at stake. The boxing ring is no different than the jungle in that regard. While she applies some pressure, she doesn’t overdo it because any excess may bring about fistic retribution.
At 0:45, the woman in black and white wants to go to the body once more with a straight left. She dives in the attack, but Virani reads the move. She uncorks a massive right hook that might as well behead the Diva.
In a split second, the German realises that she’s about to walk in a most dangerous power shot. She discontinues the attacking move, lowers her left knee and rolls her shoulders to duck under the potential hit. The pink glove misses, making the audience cheer.
Sophie: “WHAT A MOVE!”
Akane: “THE QUEEN OF DEFENSE!”
Emma: “How can she avoid that shot?”
Kayleigh: “I don’t know how she could see it coming, but it’s a cool move! Admit it.”
Emma: “… yeah.”
Esther: “Since Floyd Mayweather has retired, can we say that Alesia Schumann has the best looking defense in boxing?”
Anna: “Yes, you can.”
Virani isn’t done throwing punches, though. Her next move is following up with a left hook. The Fierce Fraulein has to adjust her footwork very quickly and pull her upper body back. She watches the left hand fly a couple of inches away, which is enough to avoid a collision. This draws an “oh” from the crowd.
Elusia, I mean Alesia, invites pressure in the final phase of the round. She dodges lefts and rights with an intricate composition of legwork, torso work, shoulder rolls, hand shuffling, blocks and whatever the hell you can think of when an opponent fires punches at you.
Past the 10-second mark, prospects are more promising for the Cobra, who has Alesia nearly pinned in the red corner. She goes for a rising right hand but the Diva leans to the right and plays downstairs hitman once more. A right uppercut to test the abdomen.
Alesia: “Translation: this hurts.”
The two women engage into a clinch. Virani’s body took enough abuse for her not to want anything else than hearing the bell. Alesia, knowing she has a 10-8 round in the bag, simply enjoys the closeness with her friend. Being Bavarian, nothing feels as good as cashing a deposit and looking forward to future earnings.
The bell rings, and the contestants go back to their corners.
Esther: “Listen to this crowd! Munich is roaring in approval of its Diva. She scored a knockdown and produced defensive magic in ways that only she can, after facing a dangerous wave of attacks early in the round. The Schumann show is on.”
What’s the situation? In the red corner, there is a swollen eye but also swelling confidence.
Regina: “Tell me how you’re feeling.”
The trainer smiles.
Regina: “This fight is yours. What do you want?”
Alesia: “Doesn’t matter, as long as I win.”
Regina: “You know what? I want a knockout. I believe you have to put her away. Got three rounds to do it.”
Alesia: “What’s the best way?”
Regina: “You’re gonna have to dare a little. Stand your ground. Stay in the pocket and look for big counters. You’re feeling strong and she’s slowing down. It’s the right moment to stand up and say: I’m the Queen.”
Alesia: “That’s hard.”
Regina: “Look. I know she’s your friend, but she’d be very happy to beat you down and stand up as the winner. Drop those doubts and drop her! You can always be nice after the fight. For the time being, this is about sport. Stand your ground, load up for the big counter and watch her fall. You got me?”
Then they fall silent, as they often do. Regina applies coconut butter on the fat lip as her protégée looks her in the eye.
Alesia thinks: “She’s right. Wrap this up, be nice later.”
In the blue corner, Thomas and Virani try to sort themselves out.
Thomas: “Look. This is worsening fast. Alesia is more dangerous by the minute. You have to land a couple of big punches to slow her down. Can you do that?”
Virani: “I think so!”
Thomas: “Nothing foolish. Stick to the basics. Let your hands go without overcommitting. Give this girl a feel of your leather! She was afraid of it a couple of rounds ago, so a couple of power shots will remind of her that you can give her pain.”
The Cobra nods.
Anna: “Still a bit down on unofficial scorecards, Alesia is doing well in the ring as she is stretching the fight into what we call the championship rounds. It’s the first time Virani steps into that territory since 2018, while it’s the third time for Alesia in that same period. Can Virani change the momentum with a decisive punch, or is she stepping on a banana peel?”
Kanti: “Seconds out!”