Virani lands power punches but can she hurt Sonia?
A bit annoyed at having lost the last round, Virani vows that she will not be outworked by her American competitor. Virani leads with a strong jab, using it as the basis upon which she will dominate the action.
Sonia does her best to try to cope with Virani, and fight back but the jab of the Canadian is on target more often than not, derailing any hopes of Sonia building on the momentum of the previous round.
Laila: “Another jab on target for MacVicar here in the early part of the fourth. As always an underrated part of Virani’s game, she has a very disruptive jab that she can often use to mask the power punches that are so feared.”
The Canadian Cobra is not the type to stick behind a jab for the entire round. The jab is a tool to set up other punches. In particular, the classic 1-2 combination is a classic for a reason. It’s a natural flowing action. Everyone and their mother can throw a 1-2. Just some people throw it harder than others.
Sonia finds out that lesson the hard way. She’s able to avoid or block some of the right hands, but some find their mark. Of particular note is a shot landed at 1:02 of the fourth round, as is gets right through Sonia’s guard to connect with Sonia’s chin.
Laila: “What’s it like to be in there with someone with power like MacVicar.”
Mechelle: “I was in the ring with Heather Barker. She could throw hard when she wanted to and when she landed flush, it was like getting hit with a club, not a fist. That’s probably what Sonia is feeling at the moment.”
It’s a one-sided round that inevitably has Sonia looking for anything resembling a safe space. Unfortunately, there’s not much room for safety in the boxing ring. The only safe spot is the canvas, and that’s still not an ideal spot for a prizefighter to be.
Late in the round, Sonia finds herself backed into the ropes, and a clever cobra sneaks a right hand around the raised guard of the American champion.
Mechelle: “Boxing is not all about the techniques you can learn classically with perfect footwork – sometimes it’s about knowing how to manoeuvre yourself so that you can slip in a punch from an unexpected angle. Only the best offensive fighters are capable and confident enough to pull it off.”
Round 4 is a rout for Virani, who wins it handily.
One fighter wants things to change and one of them was pretty happy with how the last one went.
But if you had somehow fallen into a coma during the last round, it remains broadly the same. Sonia adapts, trying to defend against the puncher, and she often is able to block the worst of the barrage. So, like any good predator, Virani adapts.
A long jab to the body isn’t the punch that may have been expected, but with Sonia’s guard up, it is where Virani can punch. So she does.
Mechelle: “People who have never boxed very much underrate punches like that one. It’s a direct, clean shot to the body and it hurts! Sure it’s not flashy, and it won’t make any highlight reels, but it is effective offence.”
Sonia’s dogged defence means that Virani doesn’t get the breakthroughs that she had in the prior round. But the Canadian is superior in this round again, landing the heavier, cleaner punches.
The tenor of the fight generally goes further and further in Virani’s direction. Sonia tries to punch with Virani, but she lacks the speed and technique of the Canadian Featherweight. A highlight comes when Sonia tries to throw an overhand right. Virani’s shorter right hand beats Sonia to the punch, catching her directly in the face. PAFF!
Laila: “Another great punch from Virani MacVicar! She is putting on a masterclass here, but Sonia Fox isn’t showing too many ill effects.”
Virani steps up her attacks late in the round. She wants a knockdown, or better yet, a knockout. She’s winning, but she wants to finish. Now.
Virani ends a furious three-punch combination with a lovely overhand left hook, stepping in to get extra power. She pierces Sonia’s defences and finds the chin of her opponent.
Sonia nods, accepting a punch that landed flush, but shows no ill effects from Virani’s most dangerous weapon.
Virani thinks: What the hell is happening? Is this a bad dream?
At the bell, Sonia turns and walks back to her corner, unphased by another punishing round. A frustrated Cobra throws her hands up in disbelief. She can’t believe what her opponent is enduring.
Laila: “It’s another round in the books for MacVicar, no doubt, but she seems somewhat flummoxed. She hasn’t had a moment where Sonia Fox seemed hurt. She’s winning on points but perhaps Fox has a mental edge at the moment.”
Sandra: “That is one tough chick. You hit her with some bombs and she didn’t even wobble.
Virani: “I don’t think I can knock her out.”
Virani thinks: It feels very strange to say that.
Sandra: “Maybe if I gave you a baseball bat. No point dwelling on it. Change of plans. I want you to box. Stay at a distance, work behind a jab. Grab the points and let’s get out of here. You’re more likely to break your hand than knock her down.”
Virani: “I’m not really comfortable with that style.”
Sandra: “I don’t care. Boxing’s not just about how hard you can punch, though it often is for you. I need you to make an in-fight adjustment. Can you do that for me?”
Sandra: “Because one day in a world title fight, I might need you to do something similar. How about we practice right now.”
Virani: “I get it. Fans won’t be happy, though.”
Sandra: “The fans would happily watch you get knocked out. Are we going to listen to them? Fuck no. Go out there and jab that girl’s face off. Box like the well-rounded fighter I know you can be.”