Fighters Prepare for battle in tough sparring
Preparations for a fight are nothing new for Virani MacVicar, but her main sparring partner for the upcoming fight is. Helping out in this one is the lovely Delara Salimi a Super Lightweight contender from the UK, via Iran.
Virani: “We’re sparing no expense with these sparring partners. Delara’s significantly better than Sonia. Maybe I should fight her instead.”
Sandra: “I believe in high quality sparring and Delara is both bigger than you and skilled. Always helps to practice against those natural advantages that she has. Plus, if she tags you, it’ll hurt, and I want you to remember not to make mistakes.”
Virani (jokingly): “Can we bring in some newbie just so I can tee off on her for a bit?”
Sandra: “That’s why we have a heavy bag.”
As predicted, Delara provides tough competition for Virani. The UK based fighter pressures Virani constantly, making Virani step backwards and away from the continual pressure. That pressure opens up opportunities for leather, and Delara lands most of the good punches in the early going, including an overhand right that finds the chin of the former world title challnger.
Sonia: “Think faster! Act faster or Delara will bury you. Right Delara?”
Delara: “I’m not opposed to it.”
Virani thinks: This chick is hard to deal with. Need to move my feet.
The best type of learning is learning on the job. Virani knows she’s not really a natural counterpuncher, so the best way to deal with Delara, is to not get caught – she wants to keep her distance and stop getting run over.
Late in the session, forced back into the ropes, Virani doesn’t panic, she knows where she is in the ring and simply leans back and away from a right hand from Delara. The former Canadian champion remains comfortable, and mostly in a position to strike back.
Sandra thinks: I’ll make a complete fighter out of this girl yet.
Sandra: “Time! Thank you Delara. That was good work. Virani – good adaption – Delara, loved the work rate.”
Virani: “Thanks. I love your hair. Suits you.”
Delara: “Thanks. I like your style too.”
Virani: “Let’s get a pic. My social media will love it.”
Delara: “Just make sure to retweet me. I need the followers.”
The Champ and the Empress
Off in an unassuming part of San Diego trains the Empress, Hee Jung Park, licking her wounds after losing to Kayleigh Parsons. The Korean isn’t taking her loss lying down though, clearly intending on having at least one more kick at the can. Her coach, Darius Miles, has brought Sonia Fox in to be a sparring partner, and conveniently enough it coincides with Sonia’s fight with Virani. A win-win scenario.
A little intimidated by the multi-weight world champion, Sonia doesn’t say much, but when asked to get ready to spar, she’s eager to impress.
It’s not an easy first few rounds for the American champion. Hee Jung’s polish and skill is like nothing she’s quite seen before. The Empress is getting good work, but there’s no question who is getting the better of it.
After a few rounds, something strange happens. The American champion doesn’t lose heart. She adjusts. She gets better. She forces Hee Jung to find another gear to keep the upper hand.
Sonia thinks: She’s just another boxer. A very good boxer. But just a boxer,
Darius: “Time! Thank you Sonia that was good work. Make sure you get paid for your rounds.”
Sonia: “Yes. Thank you for the opportunity. Empress, the honor was mine.”
Hee Jung: “My name is just Hee Jung. Thank you Sonia. Good luck against Virani, she is not an easy competitor to face.”
Sonia: “Thank you. Any advice?”
Hee Jung: “Tuck your chin. Try not to let her power spook you.”
Sonia: “Thank you! Call me if you need sparring any time!”
Sonia leaves the coach and the former champion alone.
Hee Jung: “Not the usual mentality of a national champion.”
Darius: “She’s only champion, because no one cares enough about the belt to take it from her. Tough gal, I’ll give her that.”
Hee Jung: “Disagree. I thought she showed talent. Her techinque and footwork are a bit rough but her instincts in the ring are good. We should look to bring her into camp next time. With a bit more work, she can be something more.”
Darius: “I don’t see it, but she’s at least tough.”
Laila: “Wecome welcome to another fine evening here in Toronto, which lately has become a hotbed for boxing events. While our main event is coming up, we have an excellent fight to start off proceedings here tonight as Virani MacVicar will take on the Featherweight champion of the United States in Sonia Fox. I’m joined for this one by Mechelle Gauthier, who you may have seen in a pair of wars against Emma McGale for the Canadian Featherweight title.”
Mechelle: “It’s a pleasure to be here – I’ll try to provide insight for the viewers at home. But it looks like we are ready for the official introductions.”
Ring announcer: “Welcome to the arena. Fans, it is fight time!”
The crowd in Toronto responds, happy to see one of the local favourites in the ring.
Ring announcer: “Introducing first, fighting out of the blue corner, this woman comes to us today with record of 7 wins and 3 losses with 2 of those wins coming by way of knockout. She is the current American Featherweight champion. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sonia Fox!”
There is perfunctory noise from the crowd. Given the sporting rivalry between Canada and the United States, it is not unexpected.
Laila: “Sonia Fox is a national champion and a tough customer. Her losses have only really been to top competition but it begs the question if she has enough to fight at the level she is being placed at. One thing is for sure, she has a chin like iron.”
Ring announcer: “Introducing second, fighting out of the red corner, this woman comes to us today with record of 12 wins, 5 losses and 1 draw, with 11 of those wins coming by way of knockout. She is coached by Sandra Blohm of Germany. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the former Featherweight champion of Canada, The Canadian Cobra, Virani MacVicar!”
The crowd salutes the local hero, and Virani’s opening pose exudes confidence.
Virani thinks: This is one of the best feelings in the world. The best is the feeling after knocking someone out, of course.
Laila: “The Canadian Cobra needs little introduction. A former world title challenger, and a ferocious puncher, she is looking to rebuild momentum with a new coach, Sandra Blohm. A victory over game but overmatched Zoey Whittaker earlier this year was expected, but for now she seems to be taking it slow.”
Mechelle: “In charge of the action will be Tina Twellman, one of the best young referee’s in Canada. Let’s hear her last instructions to the fighters.”
Tina: “Fighters. This fight is being conducted under the unified rules. This is a 10 round fight. There is no three-knockdown rule or standing eight-count. You cannot be saved by the bell in any round. If you knock your opponent down, you have to go to a neutral corner before I start a count. When I say ‘break,’ it’s not for my own health – you are to break. Obey my command at all times or expect consequences. Fight hard, fight clean. Now, touch gloves.”
Sonia extends her gloves forward, and Virani taps lightly on them. There’s not any attempt or mindgames, just stern expressions shared between the fighters.
Laila: “What should we expect in this fight, Mechelle?”
Mechelle: “Virani is not necessarily a fast starter, but her power often makes opponents wary in the early going. They want a taste of leather before they can decide what kind of risks they are willing to take. Sonia knows she is the underdog here. I’d expect her to be cautious.”
Laila: “Wouldn’t an underdog try to start fast and try to surprise her opponent?”
Mechelle: “That sounds like a quick way to have your night end very quickly. The Canadian Cobra only needs one punch to change a fight.”
Laila: “So what does Sonia need to do to win?”
Mechelle: “Make it a tough fight and a long fight. Virani’s fights tend not to go deep into the later rounds, so I’d be wanting to try my luck late and see if I can make an impression then.”
Laila: “It sounds like you are predicting a win for Virani.”
Mechelle: “Aren’t we all? No disrespect to Sonia Fox, who is a solid fighter. But there’s a gap in skills and experience here that is hard to overcome.”
Laila: “The fans are ready, the fighters are ready. Round one is coming up shortly!.”
Ooh, this is a tremendous learning opportunity for both of them! For Virani, to prepare against an American underdog, it is to prepare in a similar situation herself by mixing it up with a highly ranked boxer in a higher weight class and survive. However, for Sonia, this is potentially the best sparring partner you can ask for preparing for Virani besides perhaps a Emma, Kayleigh or Alesia! Even if it felt out of Park’s league for her, it has to mean something to have the Korean multiweight champion believe in her, even when her coach disagreed. To what Darius said, it is true that the Featherweight division has a lot of tremendous foreign talents, but they also have to keep in mind that Sonia Fox has not been knocked out in her career before despite not being the favorite for many of her fights, even when those losses involved a broken hand, Steffi Slater, and Tanille Taylor.
Also, happy Independence Day! About the perfect time for some USA vs Canada action as we could see Sonia wanting to do some fireworks in this bout, but with it being in Canada, perhaps Virani might need to remind her about the Canadian law: No fireworks can be discharged in a public property like this arena.
Learning doesn’t stop when you leave school. At least for these two 😀
Virani’s in tough against Delara and Sonia’s in tough with the Empress. No punching bags for either of these two, no matter how much Virani would have wanted it!
It’s a good point that Sonia’s losses have been to very good opponents – Steffi is the champion in divisions far above this one and Tanille is a quality featherweight. She’s had some bad luck and some tough matchups. So not someone to take too lightly.
Happy independence day. Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend :).
It’s starting to look like Virani will follow Sandra’s lead but not without a verbal protest here and there 😆
Surely someone would step up but Delara proves a better preparation 😆 She doesn’t let Virani bossing her around, so the Cobra has to use her ring IQ to deal with a tough brand of boxing. Something shared with Sonia.
The same can apply to Sonia’s preparations. Going in the ring with a legend who is in control of the ring at all times is as difficult as it gets. However frustrating, sparring with someone superior challenges you like nothing else – as long as she doesn’t punch your lights out right ahead of the match.
I see a slight contrast between Virani and Sonia at the touch glovesl. We know that the American has a good chin but size favours the Canadian. What if she decided to get physical? Could she throw her around and create vulnerability to score with the most hurtful punches?
For the physical nature, you also have to keep in mind two aspects. The first being that Virani/Emma discussed in a past post that Sonia reminded them of Emma and her physicality, though Emma is refined. So even with size disadvantage, I think that the physical style might still favor Sonia unless Emma provided any tips to Virani in private beforehand on how to prepare for her own style. The second aspect is that Sonia survived a decision loss against Steffi Slater, probably the most physical out of them all with her iron grip. So even when outmatched in the physical department, it wasn’t easy.
I think the main key for Virani might be footwork. Park mentioned that Sonia was rough in that category, and I can definitely imagine Virani would give her a stern lesson in that department if she fired up Sonia’s feet and go to work around her limitation there.
Virani is a lawyer. Lawyers don’t like to be followers. Their egos won’t allow it 😀
Delara proves capable opposition. She’s just constantly in your face and making you make decisions. Instead of trying to find a counterpunch, Virani finds the simple joys of evasion. Considering blocking with your chin is probably not for the best, that’s a good lesson learned. And we get Delara a few more followers on social media. Win, win!
Sonia gets a taste of some very high level sparring and while she certainly doesn’t get the best of it, she gets to spend time in the ring with a legend. Not bad.
Virani’s slightly taller than Sonia, but in close, I’d certainly favour Sonia. She’s tough and though Virani doesn’t shy away from the rough stuff, Sonia isn’t a pushover.
I really do want V to win this fight but I also really want Sonia to give V one hell of a fight to remember!
Looks like training camp went well for both of them. Funny Virani says that her sparring partner is better then her opponent, she may be right but she needs to face someone better that fights like Sonia. She’s gotta be careful of that pressure in the ring. And one thing is for sure Sonia has a better chin then V probably.
Wasn’t expecting to have Sonia training with Hee Jung, and it looks like she’s doing well to after her big loss to….big mouth blondie 😒….anyways Sonia may not be on the same level as the empress but I feel with the right coach and training she can make it far in the boxing world, I feel a lot of people are underestimating her.
Both have cool introductions to the ring, seems like they have a good ref for the fight as well.
And there seems to be no mind games either. There’s confidence and seriousness on there faces, looks like V is gonna take Thai seriously I hope.
I don’t think this will be easy for either fighter. It may not be a close fight per se, but its going to be a tough fight. We know Sonia has the ability to hang in fights and then when her opponent drops off a bit, she can really go for it.
Delara was a lovely sparring partner – a highly ranked Super Lightweight that is totally legit. She makes sure Virani learns to respect the pressure she can bring!
Sonia trains with Hee Jung and gets a decent grade from the former champion. Maybe there is more to come there.
Both are not playing any mindgames at the face off. It’s serious time for both.
Big mouth blondie….I think there is more than one for that description, Phoenix. lol
Oh she has a lot of hateful names lol
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