Fading star

The fifth round. Sonia has been down, and Tanille has a nearly insurmountable lead on the scorecards.

But the underdog doesn’t feel defeated at all. That’s usually the recipe for an intriguing few rounds. Let’s go down to ringside.

Business as usual

Laila Ali: “Tanille Taylor had Sonia Fox ready to go at the end of the previous round, let’s see if she can continue the momentum here.”

The verdict comes quickly. No, she cannot. While Tanille undoubtably holds the upper hand, some of the fire from the fiery prospect has gone out of her. ‘The Prodigy’ boxes a bit more reservedly, she still throws haymakers, but with nowhere near the same volume as before.

A little more passive Tanille only invites Sonia to throw punches of her own – which makes sense, given that she needs to start hurting Tanille, and unless Tanille slips and falls, she’s going to need to do that with her fists.

One problem though, Tanille still has a lot of defensive tricks at her disposal, and she uses one to parry a nice looking jab from Sonia, something indicative of the tenor of the round so far.

Laila: “A lower tempo round here from Tanille Taylor, but she still seems to be firmly in control. This could be just a little bit of maturity from the young fighter, just to keep the fight ticking along in her favour.”


Tanille’s able to keep the fight at a good distance for her, one that allows her to dictate the fight with her technique and speed. Sonia struggles to find the openings to break through, finding it tough to find the courage to swing and miss, opening her up for counters. It’s also difficult to predict Tanille’s creative offense, as she jabs well to the head and the body.

Sonia thinks: I am not making headway, but I’m in the fight. That’s more than what most would have thought before the fight.

Laila: “Tanille Taylor has done well here in this round to win it convincingly. She now has a stranglehold on the fight on the scorecards going into the final few rounds. Sonia Fox will have to come to her.”


An even sixth

Sonia decides that she will take the body in this round, given that it is something that Tanille may not expect. It pays dividends as Tanille doesn’t have the energy to throw the counters that would have deterred Sonia earlier in the fight. Plus, ‘The Extinguisher’ is a little more desperate at this point and willing to take the risks.

The punches take their toll. Sonia isn’t the heaviest puncher in the division, but neither is she punching with feather fists either. A pair of shots up high bring Tanille’s guard up, before Sonia goes low with a crunching punch to the ribs of the young redhead.

Tanille: “Ow…”

Sonia thinks: You are a fading star… but I have to be aggressive to pressure her. She just won’t fall on her own.

Laila Ali: “A clever little ploy from Sonia Fox makes Tanille pay for taking her foot off the gas here in the sixth round. Taylor has shown that she might not want to expose herself to the risk of getting knocked out, and instead looks to be trying to use this as a bit of an extended sparring session.”


The dangers of attacking against a fighter as talented as Tanille become obvious to Sonia quickly. Though she doesn’t move with the same alacrity as she did in the early rounds, Tanille’s ability to strike quickly has not fully diminished. While Sonia’s having more success, now, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t pay the price.

Tanille’s best work on the counter is when she gets put into the ropes by Sonia – the black clad fighter looks to take advantage, but after missing with a right hand, Tanille fires back a stinging right hand of her own. The white glove distorts Sonia’s face and makes a satisfying sound when it connects with her cheek and jaw.

Laila: “A lovely shot on the counter from ‘The Prodigy’ who shows you the classic skill of hit and don’t get hit that is the #1 lesson in ‘the sweet science.'”


A sluggish seventh

The seventh round sees something that most would not have predicted. Tanille Taylor is fading. She is looking tired, and she is looking vulnerable. It might have been the body punches from Sonia, but more than likely, it’s just her gas tank running to empty. Cue a challenger who is only too ready to take the fight to her.

Margerie: She’s tired! Go at her!

Sonia’s coach provides the obvious incentive, and Sonia does attack. Relentlessly. The part-time firefighter, part-time fighter has enough in the tank to keep fighting, despite being seven rounds into a fight. All Tanille can do is delay.

Even delaying tactics like trying to hold on to her opponent aren’t working for Tanille. While Tanille holds on after an exchange in the middle of the ring, Sonia smartly keeps working. Seeing that the fighters are still punching, the referee lets the fracas continue. Sonia repositions and then starts landing good shots. Tanille struggles with the stronger Sonia, having to retreat before she gets demolished by short, solid punches from the American champion.

Sonia thinks: Run, but you can’t hide, girl.


The difference in the seventh round is that Sonia is imposing herself physically on Tanille, who doesn’t have the same sort of strength she had earlier in the fight. The unheralded underdog becomes a bully and a battering ram, pushing Tanille all over the ring, while the prospect doesn’t have the strength left in her legs to stay away.  

Pushed into the ropes, all Tanille can do is cover up and escape when she can find an opening. Sonia Fox doesn’t make it easy to escape, and when Tanille protects her head, Sonia throws red leather to the body, putting everything she can behind those punches.

Scott: “You gotta MOVE Tanille!”

Sonia thinks: I would have paid good money to have had this fight be three-minute rounds. Or 10 rounds. Just longer. PLEASE! 

Laila: “Tanille Taylor is enduring a bit of struggle here in the seventh round, but she does have a large lead on the scorecards.”


Tanille survives the barrage, and goes back to the corner, while Sonia wishes she had more time to continue beating on her fellow American.

Crucial corners

Tanille’s corner

Tanille just about collapses onto the stool, spitting out her mouthpiece and taking deep, gasping breaths.

Scott: “Okay, last round. I need two more minutes of everything you’ve got. Now, you know why we ask you for all those fitness drills at the gym.”

Scott thinks: And how you don’t apply yourself at those drills.

Tanille’s quiet, which is a rarity, and a sign of how tired she is.

Scott: “Okay, I know this is crunch time, but you have such a lead on the scorecards, that if you ever get in trouble, just take a knee. There’s two minutes left. Two. Waste them. Just be on your feet when the bell rings, Tanille.”


Sonia’s corner

Sonia sits in the blue corner, a bit tired a bit hurt, but full of confidence, given she bossed the highly hyped prospect around during the last round.

Margarie: “She’s dead tired. You’ve got nothing to fear from her, because she’s got nothing left. You have to throw everything at her, and don’t expect the ref to stop the fight either, she knows which side the promoter wants to win.”

Sonia: “I’m guessing it’s not me.”

Margarie: “Good guess.”

Sonia: “I can get her.”

Margerie: “You have to. Prove these people wrong. Get her. GET HER CHAMP!”

Sonia: “Everything I’ve got.”


Scorecards – Tanille on top

Laila: “Well fight fans, we enter the last round of our fight, with an expected lead for Tanille Taylor. We might call this one insurmountable.”

Laila thinks: Too bad I have to be biased towards Tanille, because it would be a great story if the late replacement upset the applecart.


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  1. Fitness. Fitness. Fitness. The deeper into the water they’ve gone, the more this fight has favored the one who is familiar with said waters in Sonia. You love to see it. Tanille’s trainer is really approaching this final round smartly in asking her to take a knee if she gets too tired. The real question is whether Tanille’s pride and arrogance will prevent her from doing so… and whether that plays right into Sonia’s hands.

    Wonderful job on the renders!

    • Yup. Fitness is important. Sonia’s not got the talent advantage, but fitness? Sure!

      Tanille’s trainer is smart. Is Tanille herself? Unclear!

      And thank you 🙂

  2. This has been a very exciting turnaround and right now, it seems Tanille wanting this fight to be 8 rounds instead of 10 might become her blessing in disguise! If she has to last 3 more rounds instead of 1 more round, who knows how much longer she can stay standing. With 2 occupations, Sonia has the drive and determination to last this long. She’s been to decisions before on the losing end, but she can’t afford another one here. It’s knockout or lose at this point. This is probably the first time in a long time we ever see Tanille get tested to this degree and it can make or break her young career. If she wins, her reputation stays and fight experts only have question marks about her performance. If she loses, the media will never let her hear the end of it. It’s make or break for both boxers now.

    • Tanille must not have played much video games when she was young, because she would have known to not let her stamina bar get to empty…

      If this fight was 10 rounds, I think it would be a different story, but right now we have a simple calculus – one round left and Sonia must knock Tanille out.

      We do see the difference in comittment, Tanille has been blessed by the boxing gods and given talent to dream of, but Sonia has put in the blood, sweat and tears in the gym, and her fitness is quite clearly superior.

      Tanille’s been damaged already – but lets see if Sonia can claim the victory she desires.

  3. This has to be the most satisfying round in the fight so far.

    Tanille is just all hype, yeah she has the talent but not the commitment lol o he an amazing or top 10 boxer. She’s already gassed out.

    Sonia may not have the same talent but does have the commitment and apparently better stamina to go for longer rounds. She dominated that round pretty well. This makes me like Sonia even more ❤️

    If she can keep that up for one more round hopefully she can pull off a knockout and give Ms hype her first defeat. But if Tanille survives the last round she wins. Hopefully it’s the other way around so let’s see if Sonia can finish her off.

    • I told you that I had a plan for this one :).

      Tanille’s talented, but she is used to finishing off opponents whenever she wants. Sonia…not so much. She needs to put in the work if she wants the results.

      Sonia’s got a task in front of her – 1 round. She needs a knockout. Tanille’s gassed out. Can Sonia do it? We’ll have to see.

  4. If anyone needed confirmation that some athletes get by on pure talent without working super hard, they have it here. Tanille knows she has technique, hand speed and instinct to punch you silly, but what happens if someone can just take it?

    At this point, the result doesn’t matter for Sonia’s credibility. Win or lose, she will get huge credit for hanging in there with a fighter who is superior to her in almost every aspect of the game. Except fitness, of course. That can make the difference between winning and losing, and we have yet to see if Sonia can pull off the upset with a late knockout.

    What’s the best render of the round? You can argue that the overhand right hook by Tanille is a thing of beauty. Boxing technique at its best to score with a clean shot against the incoming attacker. However, due to the circumstances, we have to give it to Sonia. The right she sticks in Tanille’s midsection hurts.

    It’s hard not to like someone like Sonia. She’s the girl who doesn’t have other people’s talent and marketability, but whose toughness makes up for it. Cute, in her very own way.

    • Some people just have unfair levels of talent – there’s not much that hard work can do – talent can take you a long way in sport, and not just boxing.

      Tanille’s steamrolled her way to this point, with fast hands a decent power, she’s been able to just dispose of her opponents. But Sonia is rugged. Sonia is tough. Sonia has mental toughness (given her day job, that makes sense!). Sonia is not going away.

      Fitness in boxing is so key, and Tanille doesn’t seem to have it. She’s thrown a lot at Sonia, and now that she’s spent her bullets, the chamber is empty. Oops. That’s a big problem going into the last round.

      I think Sonia’s the admirable underdog here. She knows she’s outgunned, but she doesn’t just want to be another number on Tanille’s undefeated streak, she’s bloody tough. And not too hard on the eyes either :).

      The right to the body is a good pick for render of the round – I kind of like the overhand myself, so good taste is confirmed 😀

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