The champion shows her pedigree
Laila: “One of the most important rounds of Virani MacVicar’s career begins…”
Keen to the challenge, Virani attacks patiently as commanded by Sandra. Behind this slow but effective pace, she gradually begins to claw her way back into the fight. Getting into good exchanges and avoiding Kasandra’s attempt to dictate the fight from range.
A bit frustrated by sensing that her opponent is getting back into the fight, Kasandra makes one of her only mistakes of the fight so far. She commits to an exchange that brings her in range of Virani’s left hook. When Virani is given the chance, she doesn’t miss, connecting with a clean left hand right on the chin of the challenger.
Sandra: “That’s good! We’re the thinking fighter here!”
It can’t all just be offence from the Canadian Cobra. That was the Virani of five or 10 fights ago. Tempered with decent defensive fundamentals, Virani takes back the momentum of the fight by not letting Kasandra get going with offense of her own.
Stymied, Kasandra unleashes a wicked right hand, but Virani smartly ducks out of the way and escapes back to the center of the ring. She demonstrated a flashy and effective defensive move.
Kasandra endures a tougher round against Virani, preventing it from turning into a rout by making sure the big punches from Virani don’t get through.
Adjusting to this, Virani displays increased confidence as she is being allowed to be the partner leading the dance instead of the partner that is being forced to follow. Fighting smart, she abandons her hopes of throwing a big headshot that ends the fight right then and there. Instead opting for a high efficiency attack, often targeting the open body of the Polish fighter.
Laila: “This is a measured attack from MacVicar and she is keeping Sobieski on the back foot. It’s what the doctor ordered. If that doctor was named Sandra Blohm.”
After dropping the round to the champion, Kasandra adjusts her expectations. She comes into Round 7 intent on fighting off the back foot and looking to counter when the opportunity arises. Virani continues with her more methodical attack, doing her best to be unpredictable.
This leads to a sort of stalemate in the first portion of the round, with Virani not throwing enough to get through Kasandra’s defence and Kasandra not forcing much of the action as she sits on the counter.
That being said, Kasandra shows excellent defence to keep herself safe, blocking a rising right hand by blocking it with a well placed white glove.
Kasandra thinks: I can’t win rounds if I’m not active. I have to do something.
Lured by the knowledge that deep in her heart, she cannot expect to win an even round against a popular hometown fighter, Kasandra forces herself to engage. She must be first in the engagements.
That suits Virani more than fine.
As Virani and Kasandra have an even exchange of blows, it is Virani who manages to grab the advantage by stepping away and using her trailing right hand to throw a hard punch to the body. Kasandra attempts to use her right hand to disrupt the punch, but is too late. Pink leather meets abdominal muscles and pushes them inwards.
Laila: “Sobieski felt that one. MacVicar doesn’t punch to the body that often, but she’s really hacking Kasandra down to size here. A lanky frame does give more available area to punch and the Canadian Cobra seems fine to use that as her canvas of violence.”
While falling short of a meltdown, Kasandra struggles in the remainder of the round, often just trying to block, hold on or otherwise deny the champion the chance to really do damage. Those kind of negative tactics might work out when trying to hold on to a last minute lead in a hockey game.
Virani can’t get the home run punch she wants and actually spends a fair amount of energy trying to do so. As the round heads to a conclusion, after feinting with a punch to the midsection, Virani goes high and connects with the jaw of the redhead.
Laila: “Virani MacVicar’s work to the body is opening up Kasandra’s defence with feints she cannot ignore. Those punches to the body may not pay off in terms of damage, but you can tell that Sobieski doesn’t want to take much more of those. It leads to her getting her bell rung instead.”
Laila: “Well, I have this one 67-66 for Sobieski as we head towards Round 8. Let’s see what the coaches have to say as we reach the end stages of this very close fight.”
Sandra: “Okay, good work. No big flashy highlights but solid, effective work.”
Virani: “It’s tough out there, but I’m making headway.”
Sandra: “We’ve shown her the change up. Now it’s time for the fastball. She’s biting on the feints to the body, probably because you’ve punished her there throughout and she can’t afford to take more. Use that to open the head with the big guns. We’ve got the mental advantage now. Time to capitalize.”
Virani: “So, punch tall girl hard?”
Kasandra: “What’s the score?”
Thomas: “3-1 Blue Jays. It’s in the third inning.”
Kasandra stares back blankly
Thomas: “This isn’t scorecards time. It’s figure this shit out time. They’ve realized that they can’t knock you out. You’ve got the chin to endure and it’s scared them. They’re trying to outbox you. You aren’t going to let her, are you?”
Kasandra: “What adjustment should I make? She’s waiting me out and I feel like I have to go on the offensive.”
Thomas: “You’ve got to fight fire with fire. Hurt her and she’s yours. Virani doesn’t go late in fights often. You’ll have the better stamina.”
Kasandra: “So, commit to the offence.”
Thomas: “Time to show the world, Kass.”