King Me: ETK’s Super Heavyweight King in the Ring
ETK’s King in the Ring tournaments are easily the highlight of the kickboxing calendar and, save for names like Godzilla and Cthulhu, this Super Heavyweight instalment contained some of the biggest, baddest monsters available.
8 of the top Super Heavyweights in this country collided in a single knockout tournament that bristled with enough explosive destruction to make the very fabric of the universe itself collapse into itself (or so I surmised).
The first preliminary between Pauli ‘The Barbarian’ Lakai and Thomas Peato set the tone for the entire tournament as both titans collided and started winging hooks.
Because, you know, to hell with a feeling out process.
Peato started very fast, however ‘The Barbarian’ stalked calmly and dropped his opponent near the end of the first round.
The hard brawling continued into the second round where Lakai was able to overwhelm Peato and put him down for a second time.
Like a true warrior prepared to go out on his shield, Peato threw caution to the win and started loading up until he was caught by an uppercut and with the follow up pressure depositing him on the canvas for good.
The second preliminary saw Nato Laauli eek out a split decision over Josh “Jaguar” Heta.
The massive Laauli appeared to control the distance with his gargantuan levers for two rounds before the fight erupted in the third and final round as Heta unsheathed his club of a right hand and started beating Laauli with it.
Mixed Martial Artist Mike ‘Mad Dog’ Maliefulu threw everything he could at veteran Hiriwa Te Rangi but simply couldn’t dent him in winning a unanimous judges nod to advance to the semi finals while Tafa ‘Thumper’ Misipati used his strength, technique and bulk to decision Henry Taani over three rounds.
Misipati took the fight to Tane from the opening bell pressing and measuring Taani with punches.
Taani appeared more focus early in the second round however he had problems contending with Misipati’s size and power with ‘Thumper’ landing a huge overhand right and hard spinning back fist in the third to take the judges decision.
The first semi final saw Pauli ‘The Barbarian’ Lakai once again display his poise under fire to stop Nato Laauli in the second round.
Both exchanged knock downs in the first however the pressure and pace favoured ‘The Barbarian’ who dished it out harder and took it better.
Lakai launched a huge high kick at the start of the second and Laauli’s body seemingly can’t wait to hit the deck.
Sensing fissures in his opponent’s foundation, Lakai battered Laauli with a barrage of punches in which he had no answer for.
Surviving on fortitude alone, a huge right hand followed by a high knee put Laauli down for the count.
With ‘The Barbarian’, and what he brings to the table, now in the final the two remaining semi-finalists Tafa ‘Thumper’ Misipati pressed Mika ‘Mad Dog’ Maliefulu from the opening bell, winging punches with murderous intent.
One of these lands putting Maliefulu down.
‘Mad Dog’ is exchanging but can’t give enough and is taking too much.
After a heavy exchange where he is repeatedly rocked, Maliefulu’s corner throws in the towel to save their fighter further punishment.
Given the ferocity of the tournament, and the fact that decisions are “played out” these days, no quarter was expected to be given in a final contested by ETK stablemates.
It is exactly these type of situations where true champions simply have that extra gear and “Thumper” Misipati refused to disappoint landing a gigantic hook early in the opening round separating Laka from both his senses and the half grip he had on the winner’s cheque coming in.
With his display raw power, Tafa ‘Thumper’ Misipati would become the 2012 Super Heavyweight King in the Ring Champion.
Kris Edwards beat Jesse Bartlett by knockout in round 2
William Robson De Oliveira beat Josh Marsters by unanimous decision
King in the Ring Quarterfinals
Pauli Lakai beat Thomas Peato by knockout in round 2
Nato Laauli beat Joshua Wikiriwhi-Heta by split decision
Mike Maliefulu beat Hiriwa Te Rangi by unanimous decision
Tafa Misipati beat Henry Taani by decision
Professional Muai Thai
Pane Haraki beat “Lightning” Mike Angove by split decision
King in the Ring Semi Finals
Pauli Lakai beat Nato Laauli knockout in round 2
Tafa Misipati beat Mike Maliefulu by knockout in round 1
Amatuer Kickboxing WKBF NZ Title Fight
James Eades beat Pati Afoa by knockout in round 2
King in the Ring Final
Tafa Misipati beat Pauli Lakai by knockout in round 1