The chase

Four rounds are in the books. Namid Henderson has the first and only knockdown of the fight and the general flow of the fight is now in order. It’s Namid retreating and fighting strategically, striking out when she has the chance and Emma trying to force the action, get in close and land the powerful punches she is known for.

Emma thinks: Getting real tired of chasing this chick all around the ring.

The frustration of Emma McGale is nearly palpable to the observers at ringside. Namid refuses to engage, except for hit and fade attacks and ‘Shining Owl’ is a master of such actions. As Emma tries to open to throw a left hook, Namid quickly lashes out from her back foot to throw a strong right hand right on the button. The impact jolts Emma’s head.

Laila: “More of the same from Henderson here. She’s been a thorn in the side of McGale who is really not helping her cause by forcing the action.”

Thea: “I can sympathize with Emma. We’re in this sport to hit things and Namid isn’t letting herself get hit.”

Emma visibly pauses midway through the round, gathering her own thoughts.

Emma thinks: This isn’t working. It’s madness to do the same things over and over again. That’s just beating myself.

Emma lowers her stance and adopts a high guard, advancing while keeping her upper body ready to react to incoming punches from Namid. The Peach finds this much more successful, as Namid doesn’t want to lower her own stance to fight at Emma’s level. As Emma advances, Namid tries to throw warning shots to keep her away, but isn’t overly successful. Though Emma doesn’t have much success either.

Emma has clawed her way back into the round, but Namid still probably holds it on the judges scorecards as the round ticks away.

Namid thinks: You gotta come to me, girl.

Emma does. She has to get those pink Paffen Sport on target to even have a prayer of swinging the round in her direction. The English-Canadian fighter bobs and weaves, hoping to draw a reaction from Namid, but when one isn’t coming, she has to go for it – she tries a long overhand right – a punch she hasn’t thrown much today. No matter – Namid’s counter beats her to the punch, a left hand that finds the chin of Emma, sending a plume of sweat flying from Emma’s head.

Thea: “Boxing is not often a game of cat and mouse, but it is here. Namid is pulling Emma around the ring and putting her in bad situations, and then taking advantage of them. It’s hard not to admire the veteran guile on display.”

Round 6

Sandra encourages Emma between rounds – she knows that Emma lost the round, but it was at least close – she reminds The Peach that Namid’s head may move, but her body doesn’t.

Emma doesn’t rush out from the start, not letting Namid build an early lead off of mistakes, but instead making it a slower, more tactical affair. The crowd doesn’t love it, but it unnerves Namid, who is faced with a more passive opponent – and a style that reacts off the aggression of her opponent.

Namid is thus a bit too slow to react when Emma bursts into life, feinting and faking before slipping and throwing a strong left hand to the breadbasket of Namid. The punch draws an audible groan of pain from ‘Shining Owl’ as she engages legs to get away.

Laila: “One of the best punches of the fight from McGale, right on the beltline – Thea was that legal?”

Thea: “Legal or not, that was painful.”

Emma is playing a tactical game too now. She doesn’t force the action, but lets it come to her.

Emma throws a left hand to the body a few times – Namid either blocks or avoids it, but its all part of the set up. She stalks Namid, putting pressure on her footwork, and then makes the motion for the left hand again, drawing the expected reaction from Namid, who lowers her guard to protect while also leaning away to create space.

But with Emma actually throwing an overhand left, that leave a clear path for the pink Paffen leather to collide with Namid violently, making her head swivel as sweat comes flying off Namid Henderson.

Laila: “That is a lovely shot from Emma, who is really rising to the challenge here in the sixth round. McGale has a reputation outside of the ring for being a boxing strategist, but we are finally seeing it in the ring as well.”

Thea: “A fighter’s mind is a tool that most underrate. Can they make adjustments? Can they win the mental game? McGale is here in the sixth. And I think Namid is hurt from that left hand.”

enlarge

Thea Karras’ comment is correct. Namid is seeing stars after being hit by a clearn, powerful, unexpected punch. The legs carry Namid away, but not with the same grace that she has earlier.

Emma thinks: Got her. Got to add to my lead.

Emma ups the pace, throwing leather lightly towards the head, drawing Namid’s guard high, before throwing a hard left hand to the body, landing almost at the exact same place as punch earlier in the round.

Laila: “Emma McGale is investing to the body, as she has Namid hurt here late in the round.”

Thea: “I hear returns are good. Up to 5% with a minimum deposit.”

The crowd noise rises as the local fighter has her opponent on the ropes. Literally.

Emma forces Namid into the corner and, knowing she doesn’t have a ton of time left, aims one big right hand.

Namid, displaying resilience and tenacity, somehow senses the right hand coming, and contorts her body to get out of the way of the blistering punch.

DING!

Emma’s out of time to add more to her lead.

Laila: “They don’t teach defence like that in boxing schools, but that is just natural talent. Sensing the punch and getting your head off line. That was a great set up from Emma, met with even better defence.”

Thea: “If that one connected, I think it’s fight over. Instead, we get more rounds. Not that I’m complaining, this is good fun!”

Laila: “We go now to the corners of the fighters.

Corners

Emma’s Corner

Sandra: “Good, Emma. Better. She doesn’t like your power at all. You’ll make her slow down. Just keep forcing on her. You have to grind her down.”

Emma: “She’s going to keep tagging me though. Her counters come from everywhere.”

Sandra: “This is what happens when good fighters meet. Namid’s very good. There’s a reason people avoid her. But you are better.”

Emma: “How does my face look?”

Sandra: “Can you see?”

Emma: “Yes.”

Sandra: “Then stop worrying about how it looks!”

Emma: “Last time I come to you for fashion advice.”

Namid’s Corner

Namid: “Are we sure those gloves are the right size? Every time she lands, I feel it. That left hand had my head spinning.”

Jennifer: “She knows how to punch. But you are landing more. If you need a breather, you can just back away, as long as you are careful.”

Namid: “Hit and fade. Name of the game.”

Jennifer: “Listen, she’s down on the cards, so the ball is in your court. When you get the chance, sit down on a counter. You can do real damage when she opens herself up. We know her chin isn’t unbreakable.”

Namid: “The more I sit on punches, the less evasive I can be.”

Jennifer: “Did I say it was easy? You know this is a good opponent! Be better!”

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Emma McGale
Emma McGale
A self admitted boxing nerd and friend of Virani. Especially powerful and dangerous working from in close Super Featherweight contender.