Rumble by the River – Boxing & Muay Thai in the Heart of Hamilton


Forget Rumble in the Jungle, Hamilton city was treated to a Rumble by the River on Saturday, with a set of novice boxing matches followed by some high octane Muay Thai clashes.

A strong crowd was surprised when the first two fighters, Paikea Gym's Tevita and Carson Tuimata (South Auckland), came out and took up boxing poses - thinking the night's action was strictly a Muay Thai affair. But the pair fought ferociously, proving they were there to put on a good show. Victory went to the leaner and meaner Tevita, who unravelled Carson's guard with snappy combos, and finally put him down 55 seconds into the third round with a furious overhand right.

In the second fight, boxers Dean Garmonsway (San Bu Kai) and George Strickland (BOOYAA) stared each other down, both refusing to concede the mental advantage. Dean however, literally was staring ‘down', being the much taller and bigger warrior. Which ultimately proved the deciding factor in the fight. George was forced to swing his punches upwards, sacrificing his power and resulting in a dislocated shoulder and TKO victory for Dean in the second round.

After two more boxing matches, that ended in bloody KO's, the night turned a corner with the arrival of the Muay Thai fighters. The rumblings grew louder and the intensity skyrocketed when Liam Harris (Waikato Thai Kickboxing) and Ultimate Kickboxing's Dylan Cleaver went at it in the first Muay Thai fight of the evening. Fighting for the first time, Liam surprised the crowd by putting the more experienced Dylan through a clinch-clinic in the first round. Dylan couldn't combat Liam's rigorous pace, and fell prey to some nasty knees to his torso. He fought back in the second, forcing Liam to respect some powerful punches, but Liam cancelled his offensive efforts by employing his longer reach and effective front kicks. The final round came down to a battle of the fittest, with Liam coming out on top through a solid boxing display, and securing a unanimous victory.

Phillip "Ginger Ninja" Wilson (WTK) and Jeff Abbott (Terry Hill) gave the crowd another titanic showdown that came right down to the wire. The two combatants kept viewers on the edge of their seats as they traded punch for punch, knee for knee. Both warriors battled for clinch ascendency, with Phillip coming out on top with a better technical display. But Jeff favoured his fists in this trade-off, and used impressive speed and superior range to land some heavy bombs on the Ginger Ninja. Jeff's weighty punches made the difference, earning him a split decision victory.

In the first of two big fights on the night, Jordan "Jolly" Wehrman (WTK) and light-middleweight titleholder Johan Voss (Ngakaunui) battled it out under full Thai rules. Jolly revealed how he earned his nickname, by dancing out to his entrance music sporting pink toenails and matching Muay Thai shorts - not to mention pink and green ankle guards. Jolly carried his playful spirit into the first round, but Johan schooled him with an efficient counter-attacking strategy that forced him to put away the joker and get serious in the following rounds.

Deciding playtime was over, Jolly hitched up his shorts and put his superior fight experience (30-plus fights) on the line in the second round; he controlled the ring space by tracking Johan, and forced him into the corners where he hurtled whip-kick after whip-kick into Johan's legs. The crowd let fly a collective gasp - that seemed out of character on the night - when Jolly forced Johan into a corner and struck him in the forehead with a slashing elbow, making a sickening thudding sound. Many thought the battle was over when a scarlet red trail began creeping down Johan's face, but the 19-year-old warrior proved he was made of sterner stuff by going on the offensive.

Unfortunately Jolly could sniff victory in the air, and unleashed a thundering leg kick in the third round that turned Johan's left leg to jelly. It was the beginning of the end for Johan, and Jolly closed the fight off by targeting the weak leg of his brave opponent for a unanimous victory.

With the show finally arriving at the main event, cruiserweight titleholder Ra Jonathon (Ngakaunui) stepped up to light-heavyweight veteran Kooms Peters (Ultimate Kickboxing). The two Muay Thai soldiers spent the majority of the first round feeling each other out, trying to sniff out a weakness, until Ra felt he had Kooms' measure and brought a jumping elbow crashing down on Koom's guard. Ra fancied another jumping elbow might have more success, but this time Kooms was ready and caught him with a right hand on his descent. Neither fighter look undeterred, and they launched into the second round swinging.

Ra continued to favour elbows as his weapons of choice, employing several reverse elbows to keep Kooms in check. Kooms was looking dangerous when he caught an axe kick attempt from Ra and threw him to the canvas. But Ra bounced back quickly and flew at Kooms, unleashing a flurry of lightning punches that culminated in a shattering right elbow that dropped Kooms like a stone.

The forty second KO in the second round was a great way to clinch the evening and the crowd left with their bloodlust satiated.

Fight Results
(Boxing Bouts)

Tevita 90kg (Paikea Gym) WON by KO-R3 vs Carson Tuimata 95kg (South Auckland)

Dean Garmonsway 106kg (San Bu Kai) WON by TKO-R2 vs George Strickland 110kg (BOOYAA)

Tom Peoto 105kg (Ngakaunui) WON by KO-R2 vs Cio 115kg (SOUTHSIDE)

Saia 110kg (Huntly Kickboxing) WON by KO vs Fred Uesi 120kg (Paikea Gym)

(MuayThai Bouts)

Liam Harris 69.9kg (WTK) WON by Unanimous Decision vs Dylan Walker 70kg (Ultimate Kickboxing)

Jeff Abbott 74kg (Terry Hill) WON by Split Decision vs Phillip Wilson 73.8kg (WTK)

Jordan "Jolly" Wehrman 70.6kg (WTK) WON by Unanimous Decision vs Johan Voss 71kg (Ngakaunui)

Ra Jonathon 85kg (Ngakaunui) WON by KO- R2 vs Kooms Peters 85kg (Ultimate Kickboxing)

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