Cruising for a Bruising, King in the Ring
KING IN THE RING 8 MAN ELIMINATOR - 13 April 2013
Make no buts about it.
Elite Thai Kickboxing’s ‘King of the Ring’ tournaments should be the standard by which all other fight tournaments should be judged as Jason Suttie and the crew put on such great shows that their dramatization should, at the very least, feature Jean Claude Van Damme.
This was once again the case last Saturday as a packed ASB Stadium was treated to the cruiserweight instalment of the tournament which showcased 8 elite fighters from the division.
Alpha Muay Thai’s TY Williams showed indelible fitness and a stern desire to win in turning back three opponents, including overcoming a massive height disparity with Whanganui’s Kyle Gallacher in the final of the tournament.
After a tactical first round the Wellingtonian was to able use his pressure and find openings on the over 2 metre Assassin’s Guild opponent with the unanimous decision an almost unfair reflection of the competiveness of the bout.
In the heavyweight co-headliner, Andrew Peck [Fighting Fit Academy] fought smart and tactically in gaining a unanimous decision over King of the Ring heavyweight tournament winner, ETK’s own Tafa “Thumper” Misipati.
Peck managed to use his size to distance himself from Misipati’s vaunted power and target his legs as “Thumper” was knocked down in every round with the accumulated damage severely hampering his ability to close the distance and land anything of note.
Team Hardcore stalwart Richie Hardcore also bid an emotional farewell to the fight game with a split decision win over Hayden Todd [Strikeforce].
The 20 year veteran of kickboxing, Muay Thai, boxing and MMA was able to weather the early pressure and started to win the exchanges over the second half of the fight.
The judges had it even after three rounds however Hardcore’s resolve and desire saw him win the decider.
In the tournament semi-finals Jamie Eades [ETK Northshore] and Gallacher waged an absolute war with Gallacher walking away with a much deserved unanimous nod while Francis Vesetolu [SMAC] simply did not have enough left in the tank to back off the fresher Williams in the other semi as Williams beat up on Vesetolu’s legs, knocking him down in the second round and continued with a targeted assault.
Although he lost a decision, Vesetolu showed real resolve in not capitulating.
The quarterfinals all went to decision with Eades getting by Slava Alexicheik [City Lee Gar], Gallacher outlasting Pati Afoa [Elite Thai Kickboxing] and Williams turning away Joey Trevan [Elite Thai Kickboxing].
The final quarterfinal bout between Vesetolu and Jan Antolik [City Lee Gar] was originally ruled in the favour of Antolik until a recount by the judges revealed a draw.
With redemption in his eyes, Vesetolu took the fight to Antolik, knocking him down to take the round and advance.
In the other super bouts, WMC New Zealand champion Ra Redden [Alpha Muay Thai] dismissed challenger Joey Baylon [Elite Thai Kickboxing] with a spectacular head kick in the third round to defend his title.
Reddon dictated the exchanges in the first round with his length while Baylon used his speed and movement to seemingly take the second.
Both pressed furiously in the third however Reddon found his rhythm before finding Baylon’s head with his foot as Baylon was left crumpled in the ropes.
The referee called a halt to the contest with Baylon unable to beat the count.
Also, Masterton’s Brendan Varty used his precision striking to win a split judge’s nod over “Electric” Edwin Samy [Elite Thai Kickboxing].
Samy pressed with high output and momentarily stunned his opponent with a right hand at the end of the first round while Varty used his kicks to establish distance and was otherwise economical and exploited openings.