Sugrue takes tight victory over Baker in the capital
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Photo credit: Crystal Hart - Lioness Photography

Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua, Wellington served as the setting for multiple clashes of gloves, heart and spirit. The 47th iteration of MTI’s Capital Punishment saw 17 fights ranging from kickboxing fights to boxing matches. All experience levels left it all in the ring to bring the audience a spectacle to remember.

Brent Sugrue of Fortitude Gym met Charlie Baker of Proactive Christchurch at 72kg in a main event that didn’t disappoint. Sugrue wasted no time in establishing his range and power. Baker, however, would not be deterred, throwing head kicks that, while blocked, shook the body of Sugrue. As the bell rung to signify the end of the first round, the crowd was left on their feet. Round 2 started with a slower pace but that was soon interrupted by a head kick by Baker. Sugrue retaliated with a hard punch-kick combo. With round three going much the same, a hard and close fight culminates in both fighters leaving it all in the ring and great display of respect and sportsmanship following the fight. The judges saw the close contest and ruled the fight accordingly with a split decision victory going the way of Brent Sugrue of Fortitude Gym.

The first of two TKO victories came in a contest at 69kg which saw Jordan Smart of the Lion Pit finish Brogan Hancock of the Fightshop in the first round. This fight ended in spectacular fashion. There was a high pace set by both fighters as they sought to impose their will on the other. With a brilliantly timed and placed right hand, Smart landed, sending Hancock to the canvas. As Hancock stumbled in an attempt to get back to his feet, the ref called the victory for Smart.

The second TKO victory came when Lau’c Taualupe of MTI faced Nathaniel Hastelow of The Fightshop at 86kg. The fight began with a touch of gloves - Hastelow came out feinting, looking for an opportunity to land. But as quickly as the fight began, Taualupe landed huge overhand right, sending Hastelow into the ropes trying to get his wits back. The ref had seen enough and stepped in to stop the action. Taualupe wins by TKO in dominant fashion. The smiling assassin walks away victorious.

Philip Luke of MTI managed to overcome Michael Eaton of Knight MMA as the ref was forced to step in to stop the fight. Eaton started off aggressively, putting pressure on Luke. Struggling to find a way in, Luke responded with kicks to the body and legs. Round two saw Eaton’s pace significantly slowed, allowing Luke to land a good knee to the head, forcing a standing 8-count. Shortly afterwards, a big leg kicked forced the referee to intervene, awarding the TKO victory to Luke.

The co-main event saw Waylon McLean of SMAC Dannevirke take on Corin Braddick of Oliver MMA at 75kg. The fight opened with a high pace of slick combos from both fighters. Braddick favoured the leg kick but was put under pressure in the clinch by the taller McLean. As Braddick started landing to the body, McLean was put on his back for a standing 8-count. Braddick continued to pressure, favouring the body and eventually forcing McLean to one knee in pain, resulting in another standing 8-count. As the fight progressed, Braddick continued to target the body with punches, proving to be a strategy that paid dividends as he took a convincing decision victory over Mclean.

The crowd was treated to a highly entertaining fight between Zair Hussein of SMAC Dannevirke and Patrick Nkunda of MAI Dojo at 63kg. The fight began with wild exchanges of kicks and powerful looping punches. The fight saw many big blows and throws. One throw that saw Nkunda throw Hussein in an MMA style throw resulting in a point deduction. This did not deter either fighter from going after it, throwing kicks and punches with malicious intent. After a hard-fought three-rounder, the split decision went to Nkunda.

Dominic Shaw of Knight MMA came up against Matt Croxford of MTI at 70kg. Croxford came out firing, throwing huge leg kicks and setting up massive right hands. The crowd was kept thoroughly entertained for the full three rounds. After receiving multiple repeated leg kicks in the opening segments, Shaw finally managed to slow the pace by checking kicks. Shaw took the centre and forced Croxford back. However, as the fight progressed, Croxford started to take over, earning a standing 8-count in round three through a series of punches and knees, folding Shaw and putting him on the canvas. A convincing decision victory for Croxford of MTI.

In a closely fought contest which saw many clinches and throws, Kate O’Neil, representing Proactive Christchurch took on Vivian ‘Hotpot’ Ma of MTI. The fight was characterised by a desire for Ma to get in close as she was getting countered by a taller O’Neill. The contest was fought in the clinch on many occasions. As the 10-second countdown was heard, both fighters moved forward, stamping down their last combinations to make an impression on the judges. Split decision victory for Ma of MTI.

Serin Edwards of Fortitude Gym fought Daniel McWatters of Scorpion Thaiboxing at 88kg. A closely fought rounds one and two started going the way of McWatters as he proved to be more effective in the clinch, with knees and a pace which put Edwards under pressure. As McWatters started to get into his game, both fighters gave it all, demonstrating furious close-quarter exchanges. Eventually though, a decision victory for McWatters.

Boxing Bouts

The first boxing bout of the evening saw Claudia Ellen of 10 Count Boxing fight Brit Finucci of MTI. The bout took place at 75kg and saw Finucci land good counter jabs which were met by Ellen’s overhand rights. While Ellen worked to use her reach and land one-two combinations, Finucci started to work the body. A close contest of wills and skill resulted in a decision victory for Finucci.

Emma Maaka’s faceoff with Talei Aldiss proved to be a wild and exciting affair. Meeting at 62kg, both fighters left it all in the ring, leaving no spectator disappointed. Both fighters came in hard, exchanging blows as fast as they entered the centre. Absolute mayhem continued as Maaka bobbed and weaved, throwing combos. Both fighters were unwilling to take a step backwards, resulting in a flurry of punches with the intent to put the other down. The end result was a highly entertaining affair which saw Talei Aldiss take a decision victory.

The match between Sarah Clarke and Lana McCarthy was relatively one-sided. Clarke worked to get her groove but was shut out by McCarthy’s accurate punches, snapping back the head of Clarke. During round two, Clarke’s corner had seen enough and threw in the towel, giving the victory to Lana McCarthy by corner stoppage.

Novice Fights

Jemma Lam of The Lion Pit and Bhavani Dayal of Kru Chain Muay met. Highly entertaining and fast-paced, teeps and overhand rights were the story for Lam. Round 1 saw both fighters throwing kicks to check distance – the clinch was closely fought but saw Lam put Dayal on the canvas. Round 2 and 3 saw Lam edge closer to victory, using powerful teeps and using a flurry of punches to force Dayal onto the ropes. Dayal would not be put away though, responding with hard leg kicks and knees in the clinch – decision for Lion Pit’s Jemma Lam.

Jackson Thompson took on Ryan O’Gorman at 68kg. Looking fresh as round three came, O’Gorman continued to move forward, hitting hard and finding a home for that right hand. Thompson showing amazing heart, moving and hitting back; neither man can be denied for the show of heart and tenacity. Decision victory for Ryan O’Gorman of MTI.

Fight 3 of the night saw Shiva Reddy of He Toa Petone face Arama Wihapi of Alpha at 60kg. A competitive fight which saw flying knees to the body and big kicking and punching combinations. This fight had the crowd on their feet. Perhaps as the culmination of the fight, Wihapi forced Reddy against the ropes, earning a standing 8-count. This fight ended in a decision victory for Arama Wihapi of Alpha.

The heaviest fight of the evening pitted Taani Jnr of J’s Gym Palmerston North against Wehi Walker at 95kg. Characteristic of fighters at this weight, it was easy to see the ring shake as these men exchanged blows. Taani’s impressive spinning techniques were met with Walker’s big leg kicks. Ultimately proving to be the deciding factor, Walker took the decision victory.

The fight between William Bartlett and Matt Philips Rudowski had the crowd highly entertained due to their desire to land big superman punches. Both fighters using this technique and other big punches got the crowd fired up and screaming for more. Both fighters fought hard, giving it their all, but ultimately resulting in a decision victory for William Bartlett.

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