Lights Out! T Y Williams is the new KITR Cruiserweight Champion

In his return to King in the Ring, pugnacious slugger T.Y. Williams was victorious, defeating Mose Afoa and Mandela Ale by decision before finishing Hayden Todd in the tournament final to regain his cruiserweight belt.


Quarter Final Bouts

Zeke Thompson vs Geordie Bateman

The first quarter-final saw Zeke Thompson take on South Island Lee Gar veteran Geordie Bateman in a back-and-forth battle. Bateman started strong in round 1, pushing the pace and countering the kicks of the taller Thompson with ferocious punch combinations, backing him up. Thompson fought well on the outside, avoiding most damage.

At the close of round 2, Bateman's guard slipped enough for Thompson to land a thudding right hand which sent him crashing to the canvas. In round 3 Bateman brought the pressure again, but Thompson appeared to have his timing, catching him again with a right cross which sent him down once again. On the restart, Thompson could sense the finish was close, putting the pressure on Bateman and again catching him with a thunderous right cross on the end of a combination.

Bateman crashed through the ropes and the fight was over. An impressive TKO victory for Zeke Thompson as he advanced into the semi-finals.

Winner - Zeke Thompson

Cole Davids vs Hayden Todd

In the second quarter-final bout, renowned MMA fighter Cole Davids met hardened King in the Ring veteran Hayden Todd.

Todd with a fierce intensity in his eyes as he advanced with a tight guard, bouncing on his front foot and waiting to counter the probing shots of the taller Davids with hard teeps to the chest. A couple of shin-to-shin clashes early saw ice applied between rounds. Davids had his moments of success, landing some straight punches, but Todd displayed excellent timing, catching kicks and repeatedly dumping his opponent to the canvas. In round 2, the nose of Davids was bloodied.

As the fight progressed, Todd was relentless, pursuing Davids trying to set up a knee to the head on the end of his combinations. In the 3rd, Davids knew he was down on the scorecards, with blood smeared across his face. Davids landed a hard 1-2 combination late, but Todd the more active fighter countered well and kept a ferocious pace to take the unanimous decision victory and advance to the tournament semi-finals.

Winner - Hayden Todd

Mandela Ale vs Stefan Harrison

In the third quarter-final, WKBF New Zealand champion Mandela Ale made short work of WKA New Zealand Champion Stefan Harrison, stopping him in the first round with a pair of knockdowns. After a brief feeling-out process, Ale advanced with a punch combination ending with a left knee to the body which narrowly missed.

On the break, Ale threw the same combination again, this time smashing the liver of Harrison with his knee, crumpling him to the canvas in his own corner for an 8-count.

Ale was patient on the restart, pursuing Harrison across the ring and drawing the guard to land a perfect left straight from the southpaw stance which saw Harrison crash backwards into the ropes. Under KiTR rules, two knockdowns in a round means the fight is over, with a TKO victory coming quickly for Mandela Ale as he advanced into the tournament semi-finals.

Mose Afoa vs TY Williams

The last quarter-final bout saw crowd favourite T.Y. Williams meet Mose Afoa in the centre of the ring in an absolute dogfight. Both men known for vicious power, it was Afoa who took the centre of the ring, with Williams fighting on the outside. Williams did a great job of blocking the body kicks of Afoa and returning fire with his own thudding leg kicks, while Afoa kept the pressure on with fast hand speed and head kicks on the end of his combos.

Both men displayed their power, crashing blows into the other's guard. Willaims' footwork was excellent, stepping into stance-switches to unload punches before angling off to avoid damage. Afoa read this a few times, landing glancing punches to the chin of Williams. Afoa turned up the heat in the 3rd round which was his best, but it was Williams who was awarded the split decision victory as he advanced to the semi-finals.

Winner - TY Williams

Semi-Final Bouts

In the first semi-final, Zeke Thompson took on the staunch figure of Hayden Todd. Thompson the taller fighter found a lot of success early, with excellent range control using his reach to great effect as Todd attempted to play counter-fighter. At the end of round 1, Thompson clipped Todd's head with a kick and followed up with a clubbing right cross which wobbled his opponent on the bell but didn't drop him. In round 2, Todd adjusted his tactics, fighting on the outside and feinting to set up leg kick after leg kick. Thompson was still dangerous, but Todd's ferocity was relentless as he continued to chop both legs out from under him.

By halfway through the 3rd round, Thompson's legs were battered to purple. Todd continued to draw the defence to set up leg kicks and Thompson wilted, falling to the canvas for an 8-count. On the restart, Todd knew victory was within his grasp and advanced like a berserker, with slashing leg kicks which crumpled Thompson to the floor unable to continue. A spectacular TKO stoppage for Todd as he advanced to the tournament final.

Winner - Hayden Todd

TY Williams vs Mandela Ale

The second semi-final was absolute chaos, as T.Y. Williams faced slick southpaw Mandela Ale. The first round was close, with Williams circling on the outside and Ale attempting to time his entries. In round 2 though, Ale began to beat Williams to the punch, forcing him to the ropes and unloading a relentless barrage of punches.

Williams shelled up, unable to find his way off the ropes, and Ale found a home for his punches, cracking his head back and pouring on the pressure until referee Sone Vannathy stepped in for an 8-count. On the restart, Williams came back hard on the offensive, using beautiful head movement to evade damage and land stone fists to the head of Ale, wobbling him in return.

Round 3 saw Williams pressing the action and Ale doing a good job of breaking his rhythm to land his own counterpunches. It was anyone's fight, and both men were slinging with ill intent to the final bell, after which the fight was announced as a draw. As per tournament rules, this meant a further round of action to decide the winner.

The fourth round saw more of the same back-and-forth mayhem. Williams with forward pressure, using slick head movement to land counterpunches and Ale timing his own accurate blows on the break. After a close fourth round, the judges gave a unanimous decision to T.Y. Williams as he advanced to the tournament final.

Winner - TY Williams

Tournament Final

The two warriors came out for the final. Battered but unbowed after a combined 13 rounds fought between them on the night. Todd took the centre early, bouncing his lead leg and throwing teeps and switch kicks.

Williams feinted his way into range to unload to the body. It didn't take long for Williams read the timing of Todd, slipping off-centre to deliver a brutal right hand which blasted Todd clean on the chin and send him crashing to the canvas.

Ever the warrior, Todd got to his feet in an attempt to continue, staggering to the neutral corner.

However, referee Victoria Nansen had seen enough, waving off the fight and awarding the KO victory and King in the Ring belt to the now two-time cruiserweight champion T.Y. Williams!

KITR Champion 86 KG - TY Williams

Written by Harry Greenfield

Harry Greenfield is New Zealand Fighter’s Executive Editor. Residing in Christchurch, he has a passion for combat sports, especially MMA, and is our man on the scene down south.

Promoters wishing to contact Harry can reach him at: harry@nzfighter.co.nz