Too much to handle

Picasso can’t produce perfection and she folds

The bell rings and Round 4 can begin between Sophie Schumann and Elsie Nadege in Munich. Three rounds down, Picasso knows there is no margin of error. She must get back into the fight.

Elsie is more relaxed. She feels “in the zone”. As soon as the contestants are reunited in the middle of the ring, the black woman goes back to work. She makes the first minute and a half a complicated affair with many punches thrown, with high volume and varying speed.

Sophie finds herself on the defensive more often than she would like, shackled by the torrent of red leather coming at her. She defends to prevent clean shots from landing, but that’s hardly going to help her win the fight. She needs to pummel her opponent to gain her respect, not just avoid the pain.

With half of the round gone, Elsie still has the momentum. She swings a left to the body. The blonde steps to the right and lowers her left elbow to block it effectively before ducking under the right cross that follows, before getting out of there.

Sophie thinks: “When am I going to get a break here?”

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Sink of swim

That break doesn’t come. The veteran is steady and always keeping her under offensive pressure. It’s a sink or swim situation against a boxer who is a natural at this game, and it looks very much like the African chewed on some extra-long lasting energy bars all day long before this fight.

Sophie has two choices. Either she gets discouraged and gives up, or she attempts standing her ground against such a seasoned competitor. If you know her, you know what she’ll vote for. Win or lose, quitting is not an option for a Schumann sister.

With just over a minute left in the round, Elsie launches another lengthy combination and the German fires back with shots of her own. The young contender’s overhand left hook scores but it’s the Cameroonian’s right cross underneath that does the most damage. It lands cleaner, with knuckles thrusted in Sophie’s jaw.

Esther: “Nadege is the colourful version of the Energizer bunny. She simply never stops punching and Schumann’s problem remains whole in this fourth round. There seems to be no simple solution in sight.”

Anna: “It’s an impressive display of pugilism from a woman many thought was on the decline. It turns out that she’s rolling back the years, or showing she never lost a step.”

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Overwhelmed

Elsie sees that Picasso is shaken after taking that head-swivelling right hand, and she stalks her around the ring while throwing even more combos. The German does spend a few seconds trying to evade, and there’s one problem that one of the broadcasters is about to notice.

Esther: “Schumann is hurt again! What do you think, Anna?”

Anna: “I think that this fight is seconds away from a stoppage. Observe the body language. Sophie is there mentally and she wants to fight, but her body can’t do it anymore after taking that right hand, so she isn’t throwing punches back. I believe that Elsie broke her physical resistance and that Rebecca Linden won’t allow that to continue for long.”

Indeed, Sophie is trying to escape instead of hitting back. That’s the perfect recipe to get cornered when a pressure fighter keeps coming at you. Caught in tight space with her opponent, Sophie can only watch as Elsie throws a powerful right cross that lands flush in the middle of her face, knocking her back by a couple of inches, making her back hit the corner pad.

The crowd gasps. Akane and Alesia have no words.

Elsie thinks: “Come on, ref, stop this. I’m winning and I don’t want to damage this girl more.”

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Rebecca thinks: “Enough. I’m protecting her career. She doesn’t deserve more of this.”

The German official starts moving to put herself between the fighters. Elsie steps back as soon as she sees the the ref closing in.

Rebecca: “Fight’s over, kid. Had to stop it.”

Sophie: “I know.”

Esther: “It’s game over. Sophie Schumann gets stopped in Round 4 by Elsie Nadege, who put together a masterful performance in Munich tonight. Instead of a crowning moment for the young prodigy, we witnessed a shocking defeat.”

Anna: “It’s a surprise since the matchmaking was made to provide her a high-profile win, but not if you consider the credibility and quality of Nadege. A top Lightweight is reborn tonight after having fought at the highest level in years.”

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Veronica: “At 0:57 in the fourth round, we have a winner. By TKO after a brilliant display of fighting…. from Cameroon, Elsie ‘Your Highness’ Nadege!”

The pro-Schumann crowd is clearly not getting the win it wanted, but it still offers Elsie a generous round of applause. She earned this win.

Rebecca: “Congrats, girl. That was solid.”

Elsie: “Thank you!”

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Not a gatekeeper

Esther gets into the ring for the post-match interviews.

Esther: “Congratulations Elsie. That was convincing. Did you get here with a chip on your shoulder?”

Elsie: “Kind of. When you’re 36 and you get a match against a prospect, you know what the businesspeople of boxing are going after. You’ve got a name, they give you a payday, and they want to see their youngster climb up. I knew I had to deliver a strong performance tonight and I did it. I’m very happy.”

Esther: “It looks to me like this fight went exactly as you planned.”

Elsie: “Yes and no. I fought my way and got the result I wanted. However, I credit Sophie for boxing intelligently. Had she not, this would have ended much faster. If you watch this match on a replay later, look at a few things. She made adjustments, showed defensive skills and hit me with very hard punches in the third round.”

Esther: “It’s always easy to be kind after a win, though. Many observers will probably say that Schumann wasn’t ready for this level.”

Elsie: “This was my night, but I also think that Sophie has a great future and I’ll watch with interest as she grows. Look, she’s 23 and she has yet to hit her prime. This was her fifth fight. I’m part of the present and she’s the future. I mean every word. To be fair, this fight came a little early for her.”

Esther: “Do you see a rematch in that future?”

Elsie: “I honestly don’t know. I believe that this match puts me back in contention for the world title, where I have much more to win than in a rematch. Unless the title is on the line. Then it makes sense for both of us.”

Esther: “Do you see yourself fighting Zohana Patel once again?”

Elsie: “Do you know any top fighter who doesn’t want a title shot?”

Esther: “Fair enough. Congrats again.”

Elsie: “Thank you.”

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Too early

Esther: “It’s Sophie’s turn. Why do you think you lost tonight?”

Sophie: “I don’t know if I’m in much of a position to analyse after getting stuffed like that. But I mean, she killed my power game. I was ready to be patient to create my moment, but it never came. She threw so many punches that I never got going. I’m not happy to get stopped, but look at how she fought. I can’t take credit away from her.”

Esther: “Did you make mistakes tonight?”

Sophie: “Not that many, I think, except dropping my left hand in the third round. I think I showed maturity and the ability to adapt, but her hands were always in my face. All the time.”

Esther: “Do you agree with Elsie that this fight may have come too early for you?”

Sophie: “I don’t know if I have the neutrality to answer that.”

Regina: “With hindsight, yes, it came too early. It’s a different story in a year, though, because Sophie is growing very quickly as a pro boxer. She did nothing wrong today.”

Esther: “You won’t like this question, but many will draw a comparison with the loss against Chelsea Carter in London a couple of years ago. What do you say about that?”

In her San Francisco flat, the American rolls her eyes. “Not the same, you idiot.”

Sophie: “Watch the matches back-to-back and you’ll see the difference. Back then, I expected everyone to roll over and play dead after a couple of power shots. I was smarter tonight, but Elsie was too much to handle. It’s as simple as that, and I’ll get back stronger.”

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Esther: “Thank you. That’s it from us tonight at the Olympia Eishalle in Munich. See you again soon!”

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Sophie Schumann Elsie Nadege Round 3
Sophie Schumann
The little sister of Alesia Schumann is a born troublemaker but supremely talented puncher. The mandatory challenger in the Lightweight division.
Sophie Schumann
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15 comments

  1. Good fight, and a perfect stoppage. It is nice to see the maturity that Sophie has gone through in her story arch. I cannot wait to see what happens after this loss. Another great one in the books

  2. Alesia,
    Excellent and Awesome work on the fight! A very realistic ending in that a very capable fighter (Sophie) came up short against a more experienced (Elsie) fighter!! Sophie stood her ground, but was just overwhelmed by Elsie. Both fighters showed real professionalism. Again, Awesome story and artwork ?!
    Mike

    • Thank you. It’s a tough fight ending for Sophie, but she will grow and mature again with time.

  3. Smart call by Rebecca. 6 more rounds of that could have been little more than a bloodletting if Sophie had stayed on her feet and history is full of a bit too many examples where a contest should have been stopped a lot earlier than it was.

    • It’s Rebecca’s approach to protect the fighters that way. We’ve all seen fights that should have been stopped in that manner, and it feels logical when an official says “enough is enough”.

  4. Oof. I think this is perhaps the first time or at least a rare time seeing Sophie dominated throughout a fight. She lost every round and then Elsie finally finished her a minute into the 4th. I think Sophie will bounce back though but it will be a harder and longer path to get back up there. As for Elsie, it is a great win and I think she will get another shot at the title. At 36, she knows she has a short window left for her career. It’s either the top or retirement as she won’t let age slow her down just yet.

    • It was a risky fight for Elsie, who had a lot to lose. However, having managed to perform, she’s amply rewarded for taking the risk against a dangerous prospect.

  5. Ah poor Sophie, she did her best out there and was able to land some good punches, but Elsie was proving that she was more prepared and the better boxer tonight.

    Sophie just wasn’t ready for this level of opponent, but like I said she tried her best out there. And then there’s Elsie, I’m not really upset that she won, I’m happy she won, she earned her victory by dominating. Now she has a chance to have rematch with the champ.

    I also like that Elsie didn’t want to keep hurting Sophie more then she already was, she knew she was winning there was no need to keep on pounding her up.

    Do love that Elsie still gave props to Sophie for the hard fight, we know she lost but we know she has a lot of potential and will come back stronger, really like the last pic with Sophie, Regina and Elsie ❤️

    • We saw class from Elsie there. A big performance delivered, and still the ability to credit Sophie for what she did right.

      The task for too big for Picasso on that night. A lesson learned for her and the promoter.

  6. Well the end comes quickly but at the same time, it has been the theme of this fight – Sophie is just outgunned and outclassed by the veteran. This could have been a punishing 10 rounds with Elsie, but in the end, the stoppage was the right call. No use having the prospect get sparked out (though Elsie might have enjoyed it). The fight stopped being a contest in this round. A good, progressive stoppage.

    Elsie’s relentlessness really was tough to handle – as Regina pointed out in the post conference, its not that Sophie fought badly, she just wasn’t ready for someone of this quality and experience quite yet.

    Sophie was on the back foot for much of this fight and when Elsie found the breakthrough, she had the veteran experience to put the youngster away. After a bevy of right hands – I’m thinking back to the one that Sophie took at the end of the 3rd that hurt her, Sophie’s reistance cracks.

    Sophie gets pushed towards the corner and although mentally, Sophie is there, physically, there’s nothing left for Sophie. An emphatic right hand makes that very clear that this fight is over, its just a matter of when

    Elsie thinks: “Come on, ref, stop this. I’m winning and I don’t want to damage this girl more.”

    Hmm, I thought this girl was a savage :D. But there’s sportsmanship too. Elsie will do her job, but she doesn’t want to damage Sophie if it can be avoided.

    In the postfight, Elsie is of course delighted, she likely could not have planned it any better. A second showdown with Zohana seems inevitable.

    Sophie is contrite, saying she wasnt ready for the challenge. It’s tough bringing up an A+ level prospect. Too many weak opponents and their development stagnates. Put her in there with a shark and watch her get eaten. It’s not an easy job and Regina, seems to say that she got this one wrong. That might be the first mistake she’s made!

    • Elsie is a savage, but she also likes Sophie. So, yep, she wants the stoppage when she feels she has been brutal enough. With a big win in the bag, she has more leverage to negotiate a title fight than before. Will that work for Zohana?

      Now, there is a little rebuilding to do on Sophie’s side. Not major, but definitely adjusting to get ready for a higher level of competition in the future.

      Regina takes it upon herself to say that evaluating Elsie didn’t work out. She doesn’t make too many mistakes, but no one is ever perfect.

  7. Well. frankly I think that Sophie should have a rematch against Elsie when she’s good and ready. Even though Elsie pretty much overwhelmed Sophie in the end, I believe that Sophie will have the capability to have a second chance to beat Elsie when the time comes. Either way, I certainly do believe that Elsie is ready for a second chance at Zohana just as how Sophie should have a second chance against Elsie when the time comes. Oh, and I also appreciate how there’s damn good sportsmanship between Sophie and Elsie in the end. Plus, I certainly don’t compare Sophie’s loss to Chelsea in this fight either because Sophie was too cocky back then. This match was fought much smarter for her, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who agrees.

    • You could think that Sophie is unstoppable, but she needs more experience to take on this kind of elite opponent. We found out in this fight, when Final Bell took more risk than promoters tend to do with their starlets.

      It backfired a little, although I don’t think that our bitter orange performed badly.

      In terms of a rematch, it’s Elsie’s decision. She won convincingly, so she’s in the driver’s seat.

      • Well, first of all, Sophie most certainly did not perform badly, she just took on too much for her own good. This time. As for Elsie, she won convincingly with interest in my book and earned a lot more than just the driver’s seat! Of course, if Elsie does get a second chance at Zohana, she (Elsie) had better bring her A-game.

  8. Creator’s notes

    Sometimes you try hard to turn the action around, but it doesn’t work. Elsie’s style and liveliness on the night posed an intractable problem for Sophie, who was overwhelmed.

    This result has a couple of meanings in her story.

    First, she wasn’t ready yet to face someone who has as much experience as Elsie, who came in boasting 28 pro matches. Had she not been in-form, Sophie could have won, but the older woman came out strongly.

    Second, it’s a mistake in matchmaking on the part of Final Bell. Heidi and Regina are rarely wrong, but they misjudged the opposition this time. The coach admits it openly instead of hiding.

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