Fouls abound as the fight gets heated
The fourth round of this WBU title fight commences. It’s been a pretty good night so far for the champion, who is certainly up on the scorecards heading into the middle rounds. It creates an air of intrigue – can the challenger come back or is this going to be a short and sweet night for the champion? The impetus is certainly on the challenger.
She is up to the task early in the fourth, moving fluidly and shifting well, keeping the advancing Michaela off guard. The Canadian lands the first clean blow of the round, a crisp overhand left that strikes Michaela dangerously around the temple area – always a place that can disrupt the equilibrium of a fighter if it lands just right.
Laila: “A decisive start for Virani here in the fourth round. It’s been a tough fight so far for the popular Canadian, but she is the type of fighter that can win any fight with one well placed punch. Of course, so is the champion. Which is what makes this fight so tense.”
An intense start isn’t going to make Michela back down providing the action. The champion knows only one way in the ring and that is forward. She pressures Virani into balancing both attack and defence.
Virani gets low to avoid some incoming punches from Michaela, but the German adjusts after missing a punch to slam a quick left hook into Virani’s jaw.
Laila: “A clever cleaver of a left hook from the champion who continues to showcase her talents at this kind of technical slugfest. She’s simply the more accurate and aggressive fighter.”
Virani and Michaela engage in a furious fourth round. It breaks down into something a little less like classic boxing and becomes a little more like a backroom brawl. It’s intense enough that even the usually well intentioned fighters, well, they get a little bit heated.
When tussling towards the ropes, Virani turns away for a moment in an attempt to get out of a disadvantageous position. Michaela throws a punch whose target can only be the sensitive part of the back of the head of the Canadian. The punch does strike its target, drawing a pained groan from the Canadian.
Akane: “Michaela! Watch the back of the head!”
Michaela thinks: She turned her back, so she got what was coming.
Laila: “You don’t see a punch like that every day – directly to the back of the head. That was is sure to sting the challenger a bit.”
Virani is both a little bit hurt by the punch and really, really angry at Michaela.
Virani thinks: Alright, I can play at this as well, champ.
Later in the round, the two tussle in close range as both end up too close to each other to get in a decisive blow – essentially smothering their own punches. As Michaela and Virani fight each other in tight, trying to create space for arms to throw punches, Virani decides that she’s had enough of that. Instead of pulling free, Virani pushes Michaela backwards. With the ropes giving way, the champion find herself nearly out of the ring.
Laila: “Some loose ropes here tonight in Bremen have Sommer almost out of the ring!”
Unable to fight gravity, Michaela tumbles over and through the ropes, ending up on her side, just outside. Referee Akane Watanabe is on scene quickly, while Virani stares down at the champion and has a few choice words for her.
Virani: “On the canvas where you belong.”
Michaela: “Try it with a punch next time, bitch.”
Laila: “Akane Watanabe will need to get this back under control. The fans are here for a boxing match, not a backyard brawl. Fortunately, Watanabe has the fighting credentials to gain the respect of these two fighters, one would think.”
Laying down the law
Akane thinks: Gotta get control now or this will get worse.
Akane: “Michaela up. Virani, step back.”
The two boxers comply, grudgingly.
Michaela: “She pushed me!”
Akane: “Shut it, both of you.”
Akane: “Shut it NOW!”
Akane gives both boxers a shove and both take a step backwards.
Akane: “You are both better than this! You want to brawl in the back room after? Fine. But in this ring, we box. Next one that does any sort of foul, I am taking a point away. Another one, I will disqualify you. Do NOT test me. Am I clear?”
Michaela: “Fine. Yes.”
Virani: “Yes, ma’am.”
Akane: “Good, now BOX!”
There isn’t much time remaining in the round, but the calmer of the two fighters after the break is the challenger, who waits out the remainder of the round behind a long, stiff jab that keeps Michaela at bay. The Cobra keeps the right hand cocked, but doesn’t really use it as an offensive weapon either. Simply, she jabs and moves.
A bit anxious or maybe a bit upset about what happened earlier in the round, Michaela gets caught by the jab a few times as the bell rings to signal the end of the fourth round.
Laila: “MacVicar again makes good use of the jab here as a tool for both offence and defence. I wonder if her coach will advise her to continue with it, as it’s been her most consistent punch by far in the fight.”
Axel: “This fight is a brawl, but you are a brawler. She’s acting this way because she’s desperate. You’ve hurt her a couple of times before, it might just take one more good one to finish this.”
Axel: “The longer the fight goes, the riskier it is. I leave the risk taking to you.”
Michaela: “I don’t mind.”
In the challenger’s corner, Sandra doesn’t bother with a motivational speech. She just gives Virani one instruction:
Sandra: “You know what to do. Let’s see it.”
As soon as the round ends, Emma turns to Alesia.
Emma: “Geez. That turned nasty.”
Alesia: “I don’t think they will invite each other to the next house party and trade nicely wrapped gifts.”
Emma: “Wasn’t it rough for Michaela to hit the back of the head?”
Alesia: “It was, but you’re not supposed to turn around and give that target or shove someone to the ground.”
Emma: “Come on. Shoving’s the best thing in boxing.”
They look at each other and laugh.