V is for Vendetta 2 in Timaru
Photo credit: Crystal Hart - Lioness Photography
The ring lit up at Caroline Bay Hall in Timaru on Saturday night as the team from Lucky Nine Gym once again brought combat sports action to South Canterbury. Unique amongst fight events in New Zealand was the rule prohibiting fighters, in every fight other than the two title fights, from cutting weight, with a random selection of fighters having their hydration levels measured at the weigh-in.
It was the second time Scott Tweedie’s Lucky Nine Gym has hosted the event, one year after the first Vendetta was settled. New Zealand Fighter’s South Island Correspondent Harry Greenfield was on the ground to catch all the action of 13 full thai rules fights.
New Zealand Muay Thai Federation Title Fights - 5 x 3min Rounds
66.85kg Women's Welterweight New Zealand Title
Melody "Diva" Downs (Team Downs Hamilton) put on a technical display against Jess "Whiplash" Wilson (Lucky 9 Gym). Downs showed brilliant range control in keeping Wilson at bay, with good teeps and a seemingly impenetrable left check, repeatedly intercepting the right shin of Wilson with her knee.
Downs controlled the pace of the fight, either keeping range with the teep or sliding far enough out of range to avoid much damage, before unleashing her own effective combinations. Wilson the Timaru local was indomitable under pressure and kept up the pace with strong clinch work and a high output, but as the fight wore on and more kicks were checked she appeared tentative with the right leg kick.
Wilson's high-pace style waned in the 4th and 5th, her attacks still coming fast but without the sting they had in the opening rounds. Downs kept up the offensive volume, stalking forward to take a clear unanimous decision victory.
95kg Men's Heavyweight New Zealand Title
Two destroyers faced off with an unusual twist: with 2 minutes' rest between each round, this fight was an absolute slugfest. Brendon Wallace (Assassins Whanganui) vs Rawiri Wiperi (The Lab Auckland) was perhaps the most action-packed bout of the night. Wiperi the slightly taller man, they both swung to kill from the opening bell, Wallace hunting the knockout with heavy hands and Wiperi returning fire and pushing Wallace back with his varied attacks and dynamic clinch game.
Each fighter found success and was countered in turn, eating bombs before returning fire with skull-rattling punches. In the 2nd and 3rd rounds, the blood began to flow from the shins of both men, the power thrown in each exchange causing grievous consequences where bone clashed with bone. The hammers of Wallace's fists began to turn Wiperi's face into a scarlet mask from the nose down, but Wallace's limp accumulated as Wiperi continued to bludgeon the lead leg with a right shin slashing in like a dragon's tail.
As the damage mounted, both men were visibly drained, but both still threw with bad intentions until the end. Ultimately it was Wallace who dealt the most damage in two of the judges' eyes, being awarded the split decision victory.
76.2kg Men's Super Middleweight South Island Title
This title fight was held with a weight cut restriction, with John "Boi" Pyers (Maui Tu Moana) facing Shem "Money" Murdoch (Dunedin Kickboxing) at their natural weights, after they eluded each other in October's 8-man 69kg tournament in Christchurch.
Murdoch was relaxed early, taking the centre and backing Pyers up, controlling the ring as Pyers threw bombs from the outside. Pyers came out focused in the 2nd, pumping the jab to set up heavy body kicks and stealing the centre from Murdoch, eating a groin shot in the process. Many of the clinch exchanges saw Murdoch grapple Pyers and take him down to the canvas in a tangle of limbs. In the 3rd round, a leaping left hook from Pyers absolutely clobbered Murdoch, who clutched his head and fell to the canvas after the blow spattered sweat from his skull. He arose to answer the 8-count, after absorbing the most damaging blow of the fight.
After what appeared to be a head-clash during a takedown of questionable legality, blood leaked from a cut in Pyers' brow, down his nose and into his mouth. Both threw spinning attacks, but it was the punches of both men which had the greatest impact. The pace of Murdoch was constant into the later rounds, seemingly having conserved his energy. Pyers kept up though, and came back hard in the 5th, both men keeping a frenetic pace and landing punches until the final bell. After a hellish battle, all 3 judges awarded the victory to Pyers the new champion.
Levi "Hurricane" Hallet (South Island Lee Gar) vs David "the Rock" Ready (Lucky 9 Gym) 72.6kg Elbow Pads
The knockout of the night went to Hurricane Hallet as he earned his nickname, scoring a TKO victory over newcomer David Ready in under a minute of the 1st round. During the first exchange, crowd favourite Ready lost his mouthguard and was saved from a shin to the face not by the referee but by Hallet's restraint. On the restart, Hallet was a demon, backing Ready up and clanging a head kick through the guard to stagger him. Hunting the finish, Hallet tore into Ready like a chainsaw and dropped him with a vicious right knee to the head. The referee had seen enough, and waved off the fight after the 8-count, with Hallet victorious.
Zaw "Mowgli" Tin (Maui Tu-Moana) vs Zen "Waffle" Neethling (MTI Wellington) 72.58kg Full Thai
These two warriors met for the second time and put on a violent spectacle over 3 x 3 minute rounds, Neethling taller and thinner the southpaw; Tin orthodox and shredded with thick legs, seeking revenge in this fight. Tin took the 1st round with forward pressure, throwing spinning attacks on the end of his combinations which reddened the nose of Neethling. Round 2 was closer, with Tin having success on the outside but slowly succumbing to the brutal clinch game of Neethling. This culminated in the 3rd, as Neethling scythed into Tin with wicked knees and elbows, one of which sent Tin to the canvas unable to answer the count. TKO Neethling.
Yoshi Matsuda (Qtwn Muay Thai) vs Tom Dacre (Spartans New Plymouth) 66.7kg Full Thai
In a whirlwind of violence, Matsuda imposed his will on Dacre over 5 x 2-minute rounds, using his superior reach to great effect, crashing steel shins into the guard and following with crisp straight punches. Dacre landed hard shots, but Matsuda returned fire and controlled the bulk of the fight, battering Dacre and wearing him down with superior timing and distance control while claiming the centre of the ring. A very impressive performance from Matsuda, who hurt the body of Dacre late in the fight, targeting the liver with his left kick to take the unanimous decision victory over a tough opponent.
Waimatao "the Huntress" Hiro (Team Downs Hamilton) vs Kaitlyn "the Tornado" Tucker (Lucky 9 Gym) 63.5kg Elbow Pads
In Hiro's first fight in the adult rankings, this 3-round fight was chaos from the outset, with Hiro the taller fighter controlling the early stages, countering the aggressive style of Tucker with hard body kicks, good range control, and effective knees and sweeps from the clinch. However, the frantic pace could only be kept by one fighter, and it was the Tornado who took over the fight in the 2nd round, with throws and sweeps of her own along with rapid hand combinations. Hiro's mouth was hanging open by the 3rd, with Tucker giving her no rest, crashing forth and dealing damage all the way to a unanimous decision victory.
Rosie "Spicy" Sandiford (MTI Wellington) vs Leysa "Money" Matity (Lucky 9 Gym) 69.85kg Full Thai
Matity the crowd favourite took the centre early and threw with vicious intent, seemingly the more powerful fighter. Sandiford pumped the jab off the back foot, but it was Matity who dealt the damage, cracking her with a hard cross in the 3rd round, and dropping her with a body knee in her own corner. As Sandiford fell, Matity landed a brutal pair of knees to the face (of dubious legality) leaving her unable to answer the 8-count. Nasty TKO to Matity.
Luke Vivian (Muay Thai Chch) vs Kodie Huffam (Hydras Kickboxing) 69.85kg Full Thai
Vivian the taller fighter controlled the action early, pushing forward throwing body kicks to crash against the arms of Huffam's high guard and landing a brutal left head kick which left him staggered. The story of the fight was Huffam walking through the woodchipper of Vivian's offensive output and unloading thunderous punch combinations on the inside. Once Huffam started initiating the clinch exchanges he had success, but it was Vivian who took a majority decision victory.
John Relihan (Muay Thai Chch) vs Ben McCarthy (Hammerhead Dunedin) 76.2kg Elbow Pads
Relihan took the centre early, clobbering McCarthy to the ground twice in round 1, his blows carrying more grievous consequence. In round 2 Relihan kept his momentum, catching a kick beautifully and dumping McCarthy to the canvas with a crash. In the 3rd McCarthy began holding the centre, pushing Relihan back and injuring his leg badly. Relihan took a knee and was given an 8-count, but could not answer it, giving the TKO victory to McCarthy.
Margaret Rouvi (Hammerhead Dunedin) vs Asher "Bang Bang" Bennie (Lucky 9 Gym) 61.24kg Elbow Pads
In a 5 round battle under Thai rules, these two women left it all in the ring in a closely-fought contest. Bennie the taller fighter used her range well, but Rouvi appeared stronger, controlling the clinch exchanges and meeting her advance with hard body kicks while clinching to avoid damage on her way to a unanimous decision victory.
Boyd "Mantis" Timanus (Spartans New Plymouth) vs Brayden "Bomber" Carroll (Lucky 9 Gym)
42.5kg JUNIOR (Elbow Pads; no elbows/knees to head)
Two youngsters clashed under the spotlight, with Timanus imposing his will and defeating Carroll via decision.
Quinita Hati (Toa Ngatahine Muay Thai) vs Miriam "Hummingbird" Tio (Whakatane Fightclub)
These two experienced fighters put on a show of skill, displaying fast hands and great control over three rounds to warm the crowd up. No winner was announced in this exhibition match.