Diamond takes his second crown at King In The Ring
Sporting a new blue hair-do, Mike "Blood" Diamond romped through three bouts on Saturday night to be crowned a King in The Ring for the second time.
Diamond won his first fight by TKO late in the second round invoking the two knockdown rule. A tough battle with Welterweight King Arshia Ebadi played out in the semi-final but the more experienced Blood controlled the fight most of the way through earning a unanimous decision to make his way to the final. Facing off against Terrence Montgomery in the final most people expected, Blood managed the distance well for a relatively one sided battle whilst Montgomery appeared to be sporting a leg or foot injury from the earlier bouts.
The victory gives the CKB fighter his second crown, and with his recent record in MMA he's looking more and more likely to follow gym mate and fellow multi KITR champion Israel Adesanya onto the world stage.
The tournament featured a collection of New Zealand's top talent in a night supported by a series of exciting super fights. With a sold out crowd and a series of sporting stars in attendance, ETK's King In The Ring announced its return from lockdown in stunning fashion. A full breakdown of the tournament fights follows below:
Quarter Final 1: Oscar Remihana vs Nick Taylor
Remihana controlled the fight throughout, establishing his dominance early in the first round. He sent Taylor to the canvas with a brutal knee to the head of the Dunedin fighter who managed to find his feet for the standing 8 count but couldn't match the speed and length of Remihana.
The second and third rounds saw Taylor turn to attack but fail to catch Remihana who defended a series of flurries effectively and caught his opponent on the return.
Judges have it... UD Victory for Oscar Remihana
Quarter Final 2: Terrence Montgomery vs Haamiora Parsons-Grace
In the first fight on his road to the final, pre-tournament favourite Terrence "The Machinegun" Montgomery found a tough opponent in Haamiora Parsons-Grace who held a slight reach advantage over the City Lee Gar fighter.
Advancing forward through most of the rounds, Montgomery constantly attached with flurries of heavy hands to the body and head of the Strikeforce fighter. He appeared to pick up a foot injury at some point through the fight and shied away from kicking to close the distance, a theme that would carry for him throughout the tournament.
Judges have it... UD Victory for Terrence Montgomery
Quarter Final 3: Blood Diamond vs Mike Kapi
The most experienced fighter on the card and former king, Mike "Blood" Diamond, looked considerably more calm than the rest of the ladder as he squared up for his first fight. The first round was a closely contested battle as both fighters looked to find their range. Blood excelled in the feeling out process, measuring and matching his opponents speed.
The second round opened with a brutal combination Blood, eventually catching his opponent's back and collapsing him to the canvas. Kapi returned to his feet and managed to stay the execution for most of the round but a continuous onslaught of kicks and punches from the CKB fighter seemed to take it's toll and a series of brutal punches to the body sent him crashing down once again, invoking the two knockdown rule and ending the fight via TKO shortly before the end of the second round.
TKO Victory for Blood Diamond
Quarter Final 3: Arshia Ebadi vs Jesse Morrow-Wilson
King In The Ring's youngest champion, Arshia Ebadi, opened the final quarter final fight with flash and flair as a flying knee immediately landed on his opponents chest, forcing him backwards. Easily the most exciting fight of the night so far, they exchange heavy body kicks which are blocked by both fights before Morrow-Wilson catches Ebadi's kick and lands a decent kick of his own to the body. Catching Ebadi again, Morrow-Wilson threw the Welterweight king to the mat, while a leg trip from Ebadi gave Morrow-Wilson his own taste of the canvas shortly after to end the round.
Round two opened with Ebadi showing some early bruising around the body, clearly having worn a few of those body kicks in the first. Both fighters landed decent leg kicks and Ebadi's leg was now looking bruised and battered with a graze sending blood down his shin. Ebadi used the ropes effectively, ducking and weaving around his opponents blows to escape into the centre of the ring where he continues to bob around skilfully avoiding being hit and drawing some energy from his opponent. A flurry of blows from Arshia lands and sends Morrow-Wilson back against the ropes now as one of the best moments of the fight from the reigning welterweight champ. Arshia advanced forward, hands down and throwing from the hop but Morrow-Wilson landed a knee to his chest before going back on the attack himself. A strong round for Ebadi but it's starting to take its toll.
The third and final round gets underway with a strong right followed by a jab landing for Ebadi. Ebadi continues to advance hands down, ducking and weaving before throwing flurries at his opponent, occasionally wearing a jab for his troubles but looking good overall. An attempted question mark kick fails but a flurry of blows and another flying knee against the ropes lands for Ebadi. Ebadi appears to get the better of the exchanges as the talented young fighter continues to duck around Morrow-Wilson's hands and a less eventful round final round comes to a close.
But... The judges scorecard shows a Draw!!! and we have one more round to decide the fight!
The tiebreaker round opens with both fighters drastically picking up the energy, Ebadi’s kick is caught early, and they exchange punches again. Arshia throws a head kick which is blocked but rings out through the stadium. An attempted body kick sees Ebadi eat a strong right hand to the face. Both fighters are looking tired with a minute left in the round and they clinch before Ebadi eats another shot but he comes back with some strong leg kicks and a couple of right hands of his own. Back to the hands down stance for a bit of showboating against the ropes before wearing another couple of punches right before the bell… will the showmanship hurt him?
Judges have it... Ebadi wins the tiebreaker round!
Semi Final 1: Oscar Remihana vs Terrence Montgomery
Round One and Terrence lands an early knock down as the City Lee Gar fighter dominates the early exchanges. He continues to bully his opponent with Remihana having to coverup for much of the round. Terrance catches Remihana and sends him to the mat again. A series of high kicks land for Remihana, managing to land a head kick in the middle of the late exchanges.
Montgomery relaxes a little more in the early stagers of round two feeling his opponent out and allowing a body kick before going back to work and looking dangerous landing heavy hands. Terrence looks ready to knock Oscar out but 2 minutes in and the crowd erupts a series of strong shots rock the favourite.
Terrence looks gassed in the third with his punches starting to lack any power. He’s feeling these rounds and he’s looking like he’s sparring at the gym rather than fighting for a final spot at KITR. Round Three ends with Remihana looking to try and score some late points to sway the judges... It’s a draw!!! And another fight goes to the tiebreaker.
Oscar comes forward controlling the ring in the fourth but Terrence continues to throw more and land more as he moves off the back foot. They both battle throughout the final round but the fatigue is starting to show. Montgomery manages to throw more and land more using only his hands to occasionally catch Remihana as the fight draws to a close...
Judges have it... Terrence Montgomery wins the tiebreaker round!
Semi Final 2: Arshia Ebadi vs Blood Diamond
Blood comes forward early manhandling Ebadi as he stumbles landing kicks on the significant thighs of Blood Diamond. Clearly a larger frame, Blood struggled to make weight ahead of the tournament needing extra time to just scrape in. Arshia managed to get off a greater number of shots in the first but Blood pulls Arshia’s head to land a decent knee before nodding in approval to the younger fighter. Halfway through the round and Arshia stumbles, he rises to a feint and then wears a right from Blood. A scissor kick to the head lands for Ebadi sending the crowd roaring, but Blood immediately returns fire landing heavy hands to end the round.
A spinning back fist sends Arshia stumbling early in the second and both men look angry with Arshia shaking his head. Arshia runs to avoid the blows and narrowly escapes another spinning back fist against the ropes. A knockdown on Blood, a knockdown on Arshia and then a lowblow lands from Blood and Arshia looks in pain as the referee calls time. Both fighters suck in breath and seem happy to let the time stay off for a decent rest. Time back on and Blood sends Arshia to the mat again. This is the hardest round the youngster has ever had.
Round Three and a question mark kick lands before two huge knees to the body injure Ebadi. Blows to the head and Ebadi is down again. The final round sees some brutal exchanges from both fighters but the experience of Blood Diamond allows him to control the fight all the way through, making the current welterweight king look almost out classed.
Judges have it... Blood Diamond wins and advances to the final!
Semi Final 2: Terrence Montgomery vs Blood Diamond
Having attended so many King In The Ring events in the past, I've seen some extremely close final matchups, but this was not one of them. Still appearing to be sporting some sort of injury, Terrence Montgomery struggled to close any range with the CKB fighter. Leg kicks and body kicks land throughout the first and second rounds with Blood looking far more relaxed than he did in the semi finals against Ebadi.
A third and final round opens with Terrence looking desperate to gain any advantage over Blood but it wasn't to be. The boxing ability of the City Lee Gar fighter is clear, but without engaging his kicks he can't get close to Blood Diamond and the former King continues to dominate one of the most lopsided KITR finals in recent memory.
Judges have it... Blood Diamond is the new Middleweight King In The Ring by UD!!!