Alesia regains the title but friendship is in danger
Action is over and Veronica Lillegard is in the ring to deliver the judges’ verdict, from three scorecards.
Veronica: “After 10 rounds of boxing, we go to the scorecards. Judges Jérémie Girardin, from Belgium, Annalena Frankenberger, from Austria and Joep van den Hoorn, from the Netherlands score the bout 97-93. All in favour of your winner…”
She pauses to test people’s patience.
Veronica: “… and… TWO-TIME!”
She pauses to let Munich audience cheer.
Veronica: “Super Lightweight champion of the world… the one and only… ALESIA ‘THE DIVA’ SCHUUUUUMMAAAAANNNNN!”
An elated blonde gets a standing ovation for having overcome the greatest adversity. The TV crew gets ready for questions and answers as the newly crowned champion gets congratulatory hugs.
Esther: “Alesia Schumann. Congratulations. It’s a win and most people agree that it was your toughest opponent. First thoughts?”
Alesia: “Ah man. This is my most satisfying victory because it was the toughest one to earn. It’s not easy to face an opponent who knocked you out. Regina’s work as a coach was critical. She gave me a plan with solutions to work against Chelsea, and the confidence to come back much stronger.”
Esther: “We saw a lot of new things in this ring. Why?”
Alesia: “She had figured me out before that. I had to be 100% different today, and even there. You saw what happened in Round 8. Chelsea is adaptable and she found a way to knock me down. But I learned to switch-hit, to change things up over the course of the fight and even play rough inside. I delivered.”
Esther: “She’s not happy with the result and we all know that it’s about the count in Round 8. It was very long. What can you say about it?”
Alesia: “I’m not about to give the belt away. She stepped out of the neutral corner before being told to do that, and that’s a foul in boxing. The rules are the same for everyone and you don’t see me doing the same. Anyway, I was getting up from that knockdown and she made the mistake of giving me more time to recuperate. Yeah, I would have been more vulnerable without those extra seconds, but guess what. It’s her problem, not mine. I did my job by outboxing her over 10 rounds, and that’s a clean win in this sport.”
Esther: “Why did you go for a straight rematch? Defeated champions usually get a tune-up first.”
Alesia: “It wouldn’t have solved a thing. She had the belt and I wanted it back immediately.”
Esther: “Chelsea Carter. Let’s get to it. You feel like you haven’t really lost, do you?”
Chelsea: “I was totally cheated tonight. Rebecca Linden gave Alesia a long count on purpose to stop me from winning, which I was doing when I knocked her down.”
This draws angry whistling from many in the audience.
Chelsea: “Had she gotten up, I would have stopped her on the spot. Then, the scorecards are too wide. I want a third match.”
Alesia: “I don’t owe it to you, but you’ll get your trilogy. And the next time, I’m knocking you out. I’ll close the show.”
This is followed by a good number of “ohs” in the crowd.
Esther: “Now… a number of people ringside know the rules. Getting out of the corner is a no-no until you get a hand signal from the ref.”
Chelsea: “I’m not a cheater! I just wanted to get back to fighting as soon as possible.”
Esther: “You’re also challenging some of the most experienced judges in the world when it comes to the scores. Do you really think that this flies?”
Chelsea: “I was in the fight. They were not! This wasn’t a 97-93.”
Esther: “Will you at least tell us something else about the way the fight went overall?”
Chelsea: “Um, yeah. She surprised me with that stance, the left crosses and the tactical changes as the rounds went. But then, I did a lot of damage with my right hand. I just don’t think we’re done here. There’s a score to settle and I’ll get the job done in the third match.”
Esther: “Alright. Thanks for taking questions.”
With proceedings over, Alesia asks for others to leave the ring. She makes her classic eagle pose, and has the audience making one last round of noise. Years of building a high profile and a relationship with the locals allow this celebration to happen before she walks out.
Before eventful stuff happens in the background, Anna Schwartz delivers her final thoughts to close the Box TV broadcast.
Anna: “Many boxing legends have suffered defeat, and some have been knocked out. Given a chance to rise to the occasion, they came back and conquered. Tonight, this is the story of Alesia Schumann. She faced the one fighter who had her number, changed her stripes and won. An iconic champion writing women’s boxing history in her own way.”
The camps go back to the dressing rooms separately for showers, clothing change and a final bit of chatter.
About half an hour later, once ticket holders and nearly everyone else is gone, the boxers and their close ones are among the last roaming in the arena before leaving. Alesia comes across Chelsea in a corridor. She asks for a little space to talk to her friend.
Alesia: “Hey Chelsea…”
The American keeps walking without a word and without eye contact.
Radio silence. The brunette’s body language remains steely as she walks past the blonde. For the first time since they first met, the two women aren’t getting along and it’s one-sided.
Alesia doesn’t need her Psychology degree to realise that this is estrangement. Thoughts are racing in her mind. What to say? Keep trying? Say something conciliatory? Get pissed off?
Emotion takes over for the third option.
Alesia: “HEY. What happened to the ‘THRILL OF THE BATTLE’ while being friends?”
It’s a fail. Chelsea walks away without a single hint that she’ll ever look back.
Alesia thinks: “Fuck. I never asked for a thing when helping her before and now she does this.”
The Diva gets a lot more warmth in her hotel room. Sister Sophie Schumann and friend Heather Barker take over care duties from Regina.
Heather: “I know it’s frustrating, but you got us.”
Sophie: “And you know we’ll love you more than anyone else.”
Anna: “Ahem. No more than I do.”
The couple comes together for a quick ‘safe for work’ kiss.
Heather: “They’re so cute.”
Sophie: “I think this is where we turn to each other and also make out.”
Four women almost die in laughter.
The frustration remains in Chelsealand. Including when she goes back to social media.
Referees rarely say anything in public, but this official decides not to let it slide.