Tanille makes a breakthrough
Prodigious talents on display
This one has more or less gone to plan for Tanille Taylor through three rounds, the Prodigy has sparkled at times, but is still looking for the emphatic finish that she is always looking for. Knocking out someone who has yet to be stopped is the sort of challenge that appeals to the Cleveland based fighter.
Tanille tries to start strong, pressing the tempo of the fight, but the pressure actually backfires, giving Sonia time to stand in the pocket, find an opening and deliver a clever little overhand left. It catches the hyped up American in a dangerous spot around the temple, but ‘The Prodigy’ is able to escape grievous harm.
Laila Ali: “A hot start from Taylor backfires as she tried to regroup to throw a left hook, but was beaten to it by Sonia Fox, who is brave, or stupid enough to stand in the pocket with Tanille.”
As happened earlier in the fight, Sonia landing a good punch early only serves to fire up the firey redhead to take this round a bit more seriously. A jolting reply comes not too long afterwards, as Tanille times a brilliant straight right hand to catch Sonia right along the jawline. It’s a big hit from the young American, and for one of the first times in the fight, Sonia feels the real effects of the punch.
Sonia thinks: Oh, there’s the power that flattened those other girls. More the timing than the pure power, but I felt that one.
Laila Ali: “When challenged, Tanille Taylor ups her game. That’s a wonderful attribute in a fighter, one that sees adversity and thrives under it. Fox doesn’t look completely steady after that shot and Tanille is hunting for the finish!”
As much as Sonia likes to pretend that right hand didn’t hurt, it has a notable effect on the American champion. An unsteady opponent is just a cue to attack. To her credit, Sonia does well to avoid the worst of the incoming assault, but it’s difficult enough at full capacity to avoid Tanille. At less than 100%? Impossible.
As Tanille throws punch after punch, Sonia makes defensive moves to avoid them – but sometimes those moves leave her open. As Sonia crouches down to avoid a right hand, Tanille adjusts the angle, transfers her body weight and throws a short, clean left hook that lands completely flush on the jaw. Jackpot.
Tanille thinks: “You’re going down after that one, girly.”
Laila Ali: “A crunching shot from Tanille Taylor! That one was short, but landed in a great spot – Sonia Fox has shown toughness, but her resistance has been broken here in the fourth!”
After taking such a wicked shot, Sonia’s legs weaken, and with a loss of balance, there’s only one way to go, and that’s down. Sonia’s butt falls first, but Sonia has enough wherewithal to get an arm down to prevent herself from going all the way to her back. Still, it’s a clear knockdown for the American in white and orange.
Sonia thinks: Fuck. That was a good shot.
Laila: “Down goes Sonia Fox! Tanille’s making a real statement in the fourth round. It was an eye-catching hook, and it’ll be tough for the American champion to beat the count here! This could be the moment for The Prodigy.”
The referee, Kendra Vickers, shoos Tanille to the neutral corner before starting the count.
By the count of four, Sonia has already gathered herself, and she is on one knee, waiting for the right moment to rise. The question on her mind is if she should rise.
Sonia thinks: That one rattled me for real. I could stay down here. Take my cheque and go home. But that’s not the way I was raised, that’s not why I took this fight, either. Tanille’s better than I am. But I don’t think she can finish me off. I really don’t.
Laila: “Sonia Fox is a tough cookie! She’s on a knee at four, but getting to her feet is the easy part – the hard part will be surviving the round against a Tanille Taylor that will no doubt look for the finish!”
At 7, Sonia stands. Her legs do not wobble.
Kendra: “8….Do you want to continue?”
Sonia: “Yes, ma’am. Tell her I’d like another.”
Kendra thinks: This girl is nuts.
Kendra: “Okay, box on!”
Laila Ali: “Sonia Fox will beat the count and continue on. Tanille will be looking to put her away emphatically!”
Tanille Taylor doesn’t just want to win, and win by knockout in this round. She wants to win spectacularly, with a punch that will put her on the front page of YouTube, Tik Tok and Twitter. That means not just landing some short punch to the body or something that the viewing audience has seen before, no that means going for the spectacular.
Tanille believes Sonia is just one punch away from winning the fight, but doesn’t seem to suss out that Sonia hasn’t capitulated to her power. ‘The Prodigy’ tries with a few speculative shots and then just starts throwing haymakers, the most powerful of which is an uppercut, that had it connected, could have ended just about any fight in history. Sonia calmly opens her guard to slip the punch well, and avoids getting her head taken clean off her shoulders.
Sonia thinks: If I was a bit more steady, this would be the time to throw a short right hand, but getting into a firefight with Tanille at this point is basically suicide. Survive and thrive, baby. Either that or she’ll polish me off. There’s not much choice in the matter.
Laila Ali: “A WILD Tanille Taylor is throwing it all to the wind, she wants the finish and she wants it now. Sonia Fox is doing all she can to just survive the onslaught. Really, what Tanille needs to do is be a bit patient, pick her punches better and land that one punch. She’s trying to end this with volume, when she should remember her skill.”
A funny thing happens on the way to what was assumed to be an easy knockout, Sonia Fox endures as Tanille struggles to put the finishing touches on what she thought was a nearly done fighter.
But Sonia endures as Tanille can’t find the telling punch. And as Tanille flags from throwing so many punches of ill intent, Sonia finds confidence of her own. After all, she’s taken the best from Tanille and though she got knocked down, she’s still standing. After an awkward exchange, Sonia stands in the pocket and lands a tight right hand to the ribs of the younger American.
Laila: “The courage of Sonia Fox is rewarded as she stands in there and lands a good right hand. Taylor does pay the price for being over eager when looking for a finish. That’s the kind of thing she will have to learn as she progresses in her career.”
Scott: “Good work in there, but you got stupid and you got sloppy, trying to take her out in one punch. She was smart and kept her hands in, so she didn’t give you a chance to counter.”
Tanille: “I hurt her, though.”
Scott: “She wasn’t that hurt. I want to see combinations from you – you are way faster than this girl, but if you keep throwing single shots, she’s going to keep coming.”
Tanille: “I can take her out when I want to.”
Scott thinks: I don’t think that’s true actually, but she’s not going to want to hear that.
Scott: “Remember, eight-round fight, we have to be there in the end. Pace yourself, be a bit more patient. She’s got to come to you, so you’ll get your chances.”
Margerie: “Good comeback after the knockdown. She got crazy, while you were cool under pressure.”
Sonia: “I’m comfortable. She doesn’t hit nearly as hard as she thinks she does. I can take it.”
Margerie: “You are going to have to. You’ve got to go at her. There’s no way to win this one by decision anymore. Those red gloves have to put her down. There’s not much more to say.”
Sonia: “She faded late in the round. I’ll have to use that.”
Margerie: “Work the body, slow her down. Everything you got, Sonia. Four rounds to go.”