Eight punches in a combination? Elsie keeps testing Sophie
After a difficult opening round, Sophie Schumann is raring to go just before the bell rings, so she can establish herself as the best. Elsie bounces confidently on her toes.
The black woman leaves nothing to chance at the restart. She lets her hands go for flurries that are fast and accurate enough to defy the puncher in front of her.
Sophie thinks: “Damn girl never stops. I’ll need an extra effort to score with my shots.”
When the blonde comes in with the intention of penetrating the fortress with a left to the body, the African guard levies a fee. She makes Sophie pay with a swat of red leather, as her right cross clashes with the German’s chin. It makes her grunt.
Sophie thinks: “Gawd. That was clean. Right. I gotta defend more.”
Esther: “Nadege doesn’t stop throwing. She keeps a high work rate that forces Schumann to dodge instead of firing back immediately. The ring is not a comfortable place if you share it with the Cameroonian.”
Anna: “Schumann is handling it with maturity, though. Her slips are accurate enough to make an attack miss without getting out of position or losing balance. I like what I see. What matters for her is grasping the timing of her opponent to counter.”
About 30 seconds of red aggression later, the counter that Anna expected comes. Elsie is getting ready to unload a left hook to finish a combination and Picasso reads the motion accurately. She takes half a step back, bounces forward again and throws a crunching right cross with a bit of an angle. PISH!
The crowd cheers.
Esther: “What a punch by Schumann! She cracks the visitor on the tip of the chin with the accuracy of a blacksmith hitting the iron while it’s hot.”
Anna: “And power. Given the solidity of the Cameroonian woman’s chin, iron is probably the best word. She did feel this punch, however, given her bothered facial expression. Sophie Schumann hits hard, if any of you aren’t up to speed yet.”
The woman in dark gray’s legs don’t flinch, though. She steps around to circle and take a mini-breather to recuperate from that hammer in the face. Sophie follows her around with a teenage Tyson stance, ready for anything. They have a few inconsequential exchanges that make the blonde slip back into a more defensive mode.
Well into the dance, Elsie ramps up the aggression. Not far from the ropes, she feints the left hook but throws the right instead. Sophie doesn’t swallow the bait, lets her left drop Philly shell style, and rolls her shoulders to make the punch miss by a wide margin.
Elsie is stupefied after missing by a foot, and first-row fans laugh.
“Was that even close?”
“I think she threw that with a remote control or something.”
Having heard that ringside exchange, Elsie’s pride is stung and she’s livid.
Elsie thinks: “No one… no one… humiliates me that way.”
The African speeds in to pop Sophie’s bubble, getting so close inside that she can press her red gloves against Picasso’s orange.
Sophie thinks: “Dafuq is this? Isn’t she an outside fighter?”
Esther: “I believe that Nadege isn’t taking ringside laughs too well.
Elsie attacks from a short range, but that’s widely inefficient. Sophie refuses to trade shot for shot, dodging some more and eventually pulling out of the danger zone.
Anna: “That’s a great sign of wisdom from the number nine contender. She refuses to let emotion guide her game as her opponent is trying to alter the flow of the match with a radical tactical change.”
Esther: “You mean that she’s sophie-sticated.”
Rebooting the machine
Aware that this reaction reaps no rewards, Elsie lets Sophie back away to fight from a longer range. She reboots her punching machine to throw combinations that range from three to five, six and seven punches at times. Her best moment comes at 1:50, when a straight left is the seventh punch in a combo. The German is opening up to fire a right hook on the counter, but the red glove flies faster and cracks her on the right side of the chin. Paff!
Elsie thinks: “Alright. Got it.”
The Top 5 boxer rapidly follows up by twisting her body to deliver a long-range right cross. Sophie has no time to react. Her right cheek absorbs the second punch before she can even try to move her head.
Esther: “Nadege scores with a rapid and powerful 1-2 to finish an eight-punch combination. She is already known for being active, but I gotta say that it’s impressive to see her fighting when she’s that motivated.”
Anna: “She’s still an extremely fit athlete at 36 years of age. A second factor is that she must win this fight to stay relevant in the Lightweight division. It shows in her desire to get a much-needed result.”
The Bavarian starlet shakes off the pain, resets and gets back into the game. However, she faces a zealous opponent who looks like she just finished digesting an oversized caffeine pill. Elsie just doesn’t stop throwing punches that disrupt any attempt by the blonde to settle down and find rhythm.
Sophie can avoid taking too many clean shots, but she can delay the onslaught only for so long. After yet another flurry, Elsie fakes the left hook. Sophie ducks. Wrong move because the black-haired woman withdraws the sword before thrusting it in her liver in the form of a left hook.
Sophie grunts, steps away and keeps the visitor at the end of her jab for the rest of the round.
That power thing
The two boxers walk back to their corners. Regina is quick to see that her fighter is bewildered. She never thought that Elsie could take two straight rounds against her.
Regina: “Sit down and breathe. Difficult start. I get it, but let’s remain calm.”
Sophie: “I know but…”
Regina: “Just listen. It’s good that you’re not freaking out. Look, we’re in a contest with another top fighter and she’s in-form tonight. I’ll need you to be more active. She’s probably been throwing two punches for each one you sent her way, and we’ve got to take advantage of the power differential. If both of you land clean, you hit harder.”
Regina: “Throw more so you can get closer and land the power shots that count. Alright?”
In the other corner, coach and fighter smile at each other.
Clifford: “This is going well. You’re fighting well but I don’t want you to repeat what you’ve done when you got super close to her. She didn’t want that proximity, but she’s more dangerous than you in that situation.”
Elsie: “Yeah. That was a mistake.”
Clifford: “So, no more of that and let’s stick with the game plan. I know you can still find another gear, but do it with changes in intensity. Don’t just throw long and rapid combos. Sometimes just go with a punch or two to make it looks like you may slow down. That will make her think she can hit back, and that’s when you accelerate again to nail her.”
Clifford: “I want you to be unpredictable, so she can’t figure you out.”
Esther: “Two rounds into this one, how do you have it?”
Anna: “A second consecutive 10-9 for Nadege, making this a rare ‘dry spell’ for Schumann, who made it a habit to rarely drop a round. Getting back into the game is something that the local woman has the ability to do as long as she maintains a positive mindset and executes her new plan correctly.”
Rebecca: “Seconds out!”