Round 6 begins. The Canadian born Englishwoman feels very light on her feet. She hasn’t taken much in significant damage, excepting some of the blows in the first round. Emma knows that as long Takara is on her feet, she’s dangerous. She also knows one important thing – she’s winning.
It takes a few moments for the round to kick to life, but Emma, as she has done so very well against Takara, slips into punching range, getting to her perfered distance without getting hit. This time because Takara cannot connect with the elusive Emma, whose head and upper body movement have so far denied many clean hits.
Laila: “McGale is not known for being a defensive fighter, but she’s being tough to hit so far. It’s not advanced defensive tactics, it’s just the fundamentals done well by ‘The Peach.’”
Takara’s punches haven’t lost their snap, not yet. However, the Japanese fighter is simply trying to hit a homerun with a punch – a one-punch knockout that would just end the fight then and there. No doubt that Takara has the power and that Emma isn’t iron-chinned but those punches are easier to avoid.
What happens when Takara misses – often she’s slow in getting her defence back or getting her balance back. Emma is more than happy to take advantage. With 1:05 of the round remaning, she slips a right hand and then uses her new angle to throw a powerful hook to the liver area. Emma’s punch doesn’t provoke the reaction that sometimes happen when a fist meets that sensitive area. Takara’s grunt of pain shows it didn’t tickle either.
Laila: “That was lovely from McGale. She has landed some excellent shots to the body of Oshima, and she must be feeling those punches now. Heck, I can almost feel them.”
Slowing Down/Speeding UP
The punishment makes Takara slow down, and the first one to notice that is the woman in the ring with her.
A tired Takara becomes a bit more predictable and ‘The Peach’ notices a pattern. When she motions for a left hook, Takara ducks low to stifle the range. The Englishwoman is noted for her intelligence in the ring and soon she devises a plan – she feints the left hook, drawing the expected reaction before shifting her weight and throwing a scything overhand right.
The dark grey glove meets no resistance as she smashes Takara’s chin, sending sweat and hair flying.
Laila: “Now a HUGE shot from McGale! Takara Oshima looked like she was trying to take a bit of a breather but she got caught with a lethal overhand right from McGale. That one was right on the button!”
Takara’s legs buckle immediately and she collapses back into the ropes, which support her momentarily. The first knockdown of the fight goes to Emma McGale and it’s a hard one.
Emma thinks: Her eyes look bad. She might be gone.
Monique: “Down! Emma, neutral corner!”
Laila: “And DOWN GOES OSHIMA. That right hand was perfect from McGale and Oshima went down very hard. She might not be able to beat the count.”
Emma walks to the neutral corner. But not fast enough for Monique Deschamps.
Monique: “Neutral corner! Emma!”
Emma looks around perplexed. She is by all rights completely in the neutral corner. She’s not celebrating, just paying attention to the action.
Sandra: “Your job is to COUNT! Start COUNTING!”
Monique eventually does start the count.
Takara is able to extract herself from the ropes with the extra seconds that have been granted her, but she still looks rough as she sits on the canvas with half the count remaining.
Takara thinks: This one ain’t over. Not yet. I am seeing so many stars right now though.
Takara is just barely able to drag herself to her feet before the count of ten. She puts her gloves up and tries to present a brave face. It’s not entirely convincing.
Monique: “Move to your left.”
Monique: “Move to your right.”
Takara is not entirely convincing but she does so.
Sandra: “Ref! Let them FIGHT!”
Emma thinks: This ref gave her so much time to recover. Unbelievable.
Monique: “Okay, box on!”
Laila: “Well, the referee took her time in both the count and before letting Oshima continue the fight. McGale will have less time than she would like to maybe bring this one to an end.”
Hurting and Holding
Takara is still hurt. She knows it. Emma knows it. The drink vendor in the 10th row knows it. That means there’s not much point in subtlety. Emma tries to fire away, but Takara is able to avoid it. The Japanese fighter grabs on to her opponent, desperate for a break and a few more seconds to tick off the clock.
Monique is a bit slow to break the clinch so Emma gestures to her, mostly in frustration.
Emma: “I’d like to be able to punch, please.”
Monique: “Okay, break!”
Takara takes the longest time she can before breaking away.
Emma thinks: It’s okay. I just need one.
Takara doesn’t engage with Emma, but the boxing ring is a surprisingly small place to be, especially when your legs aren’t working as well as they usually are.
‘The Peach’ doesn’t have time to get in any serious offence, but she does send one last message right at the bell, as a winging overhand right gets through and crunches the jaw of Takara, sending her reeling backwards as the round ends.
Laila: “A last blow from McGale almost sends Oshima down for the second time in the round. Durability has cost Takara before and she doesn’t seem to be able to send up to the accumulated punches of McGale. We may be on the verge of a massive upset.”
Sandra: “Excellent work, my Peach. If I thought this ref would change her mind, I’d still be hollering about a slow count. Do you think she’s ready to go.”
Emma: “Absolutely. Her legs were gone. She’ll get the break to recover, though.”
Sandra: “Yeah, I’m not saying walk up to her with your hands down. Put a little more pop into some of those shots and I think this is done. Get her in the ropes, tee off and the ref will stop it.”
Emma: “I want a clean knockout.”
Sandra: “This isn’t make a wish night. Get the finish whatever way you can.”
Emma: “Gotcha coach.”
Clifford: “How you feeling champ?”
Takara: “Still standing. Well, right now I’m sitting.”
Clifford: “I’m going to stop this, she’s beating the hell out of you, and you were out last round.”
Takara: “No. This is my career on the line. So help me god I will go out on my shield if I have to, I don’t need your protection.”
Takara: “You wouldn’t understand. I have to do it this way.”
Clifford: “This is my last fight as your trainer, then.”
Takara: “So be it.”