King for a Day, Cool for a Lifetime: King in the Ring MAX
Elite Thai Kickboxing (ETK) has long been one of, if not the, premier kickboxing promotion in the New Zealand scene. Headed by former K1 World Champion Jason “Psycho” Suttie, it’s fighters embody a pedigree not often seen on these shores.
Their latest instalment, King of the Ring MAX, would contain an 8 man middleweight tournament headlined by Anz ‘Notorious’ Nansen facing off against Erik ‘The Mustang’ Nosa for the vacant WKBF World Heavyweight championship.
City Lee Gar prospect Brad Riddell quickly established himself as a front runner with his second round decimation of Brendan Varty. Varty’s early volume and combination punching couldn’t rattle the super cool
Riddell, who picked his openings and landed dynamite lead hooks. Varty continues to press during the second round, as he is able to corner Riddell and rip hooks to his body. This is a strategy that works well for
him until Riddell uncorks a left hook that puts Varty on a street that he doesn’t know the name of. Although he rises, he is instantly buckled and the referee is forced to step in as he is helpless to stop the pressure.
In the toughest draw of the preliminary bouts, Joe Hopkins won a hard fought decision over Dmitri Simoukov.
Simoukov appeared to have trouble with Hopkins southpaw style early and eats a knee to the head that deposits him half way across the ring. Tough as all get out, Simoukov makes it to his feet and lasts the rest of the round. The
second stanza is far more successful for ‘Molotov’, who is able to trade with Hopkins in a back and forth round. Hopkins starts to use his length in the final round and controls most of the action. Knowing that he needs a big round, Simoukov ups the tempo however it is not enough in the eyes of the judges.
In a rematch, Lightweight contenders Chris Wells and Joey Baylon threw volleys of kicks and punches at each other over three furious round in the evenings first ‘Superfight’. Wells took control of the bout by pushing the pace and landing kicks to the body over the first two rounds and a spinning back kick in the final stanza to take a unanimous judges nod.
The King of the Ring tournament continued with the semi-final bouts. In the upset of the tournament, Edwin Samy edged Brad Riddell on the judge’s cards. Riddell’s sharp boxing was on display as he landed hard right hands and was able to stifle Samy’s offence. Samy started to exert himself more in the last two rounds, which was seemingly enough to take an unpopular decision.
In the other semi-final, Jo Hopkins was clinical in dispatching the towering Girish Rae in the opening round. Hopkins showed little respect for Rae’s power and hurt him with every straight left he landed. Rae is bulled into a corner before a left hand and a knee put him out for the count.
Local favourite Antz ‘Notorious’ Nansen battered Erik Nosa for four rounds in a brutal display to capture the WKBF Heavyweight title. Nansen wasted no time in the ring, getting into the groove early and showing poise in picking his openings. Nosa was game but ultimately overwhelmed as the ETK prodigy blasted him with hooks, dropping him in the third, and twice in the fourth, until he was unable to answer the referee’s count.
Despite the wear and tear of the two previous bouts, Jo Hopkins and Edwin Samy went toe-to-toe in the King of the Ring MAX middleweight final. The first round was tightly contested as both landed their share of punishment. Samy’s technical style served him well in the second stanza as Hopkins seemingly had trouble working him out.
Sensing a close fight, both competitors went to war in the final round and, as Samy got the better of the exchanges, Hopkins started to box more and control the distance. In the end, the judges award a split decision, and the King of the Ring middleweight title, to Jo “Southpaw” Hopkins in a fight that could’ve easily gone the other way.
The bout between Ricky Hita [ETK] and Travis Green [Strikeforce] was declared a no contest as Hita appeared to injure his knee in the first round.
King of the Ring Preliminaries
Brad Riddell [City Lee Gar, Auckland] beat Brendan Varty [Harleys Kickboxing, Masterton] by TKO in round 2
Edwin 'Electric' Samy [ETK, Auckland] beat Sonny Sadler [Hardmans Gym, Northland] by unanimous decision
Joe 'Southpaw' Hopkins [City Lee Gar, Auckland] beat Dimitri 'Molotov' Simoukov [ETK, Auckland] by unanimous decision
Girish Rae [Fi-G Training, Dunedin] beat Taylor Holland [Pathai Gym, Auckland] by unanimous decision
Professional Lightweight Bout
Chris Wells [SMAC] beat Joey 'The Filipino Kid' Baylon [ETK] by unanimous decision
King of the Ring Semi-Finals
Edwin 'Electric' Samy [ETK, Auckland] beat Brad Riddell [City Lee Gar, Auckland] by split decision
Joe 'Southpaw' Hopkins [City Lee Gar, Auckland] beat Girish Rae [Fi-G Training, Dunedin] by knockout in round 1
WKBF Heavyweight Championship bout
Antz 'Notorious' Nansen (ETK, Auckland) beat Erik 'The Mustang' Nosa (Bustler’s Gym, Sydney) by knockout in round 4
King of the Ring MAX Final
Joe 'Southpaw' Hopkins [City Lee Gar, Auckland] beat Edwin 'Electric' Samy [ETK, Auckland] by split decision