Sone Vannathy Crowned King in the Ring
WKBF world champion Sone 'Arch Angel' Vannathy stopped Roger 'Wild' Earp in the first round to become the latest King in the Ring at the ASB Stadium last Saturday.
ETK’s King in the Ring Tournaments have become both a staple and highlight on the kickboxing calendar, and this time around Jason Suttie and the ETK crew outdid themselves yet again. The lightweight roster boasted world and national champions in their highest pedigree of fighters yet.
If any of the combatants were of the mind that they were in for an easy ride until at least the final, they were sadly mistaken as all the preliminary bouts were tough, gritty affairs that went the distance.
Early tournament favourite and WKBF World Pro Super Lightweight champion Roger Earp showed his class in controlling the early goings against NZKBF NZ Lightweight champion Chris Wells.
A spirited fight back by Wells in the second round saw the bout tied up going into the final stanza, where Earp’s nous once again saw him come out on top on all the judges' cards.
WKBF world champion Sone Vannathy and WKBF Lightweight champion Joey Baylon fought a close technical bout that highlighted the athleticism involved at the sport’s highest level.
Over the three rounds, Vannathy tried to use his length, while Baylon clearly wanted to brawl in close, and the bout was fiercely contested.
The final minute allowed both to open up with acrobatic kicks. However, in the end Vannathy came away with a split decision.
The first semi-final saw TBANZ Light Welterweight champion Ra Reddon and Earp fight through the fatigue of their previous wars.
Earp seemed particularly spent as Reddon was stronger and fresher until part way through the final round, where he could cruise to a unanimous judges nod and get his ticket punched for the final.
Vannathy proved simply too much for WKBF NZ champion Ben Sisam as he stayed poised, found openings and managed to deflect much of the flack coming his way.
A leaping sidekick hurt Sisam in the third, but he was able to hang tough through the barrage of punches that followed until Vannathy gained a majority decision on the final bell.
Roger Earp could have used another 30 minutes, and two more knees, in the final against Vannathy, as the rigours of his wars were only too apparent.
The 'Arch Angel' wasted no time targeting Earp’s legs, and three knockdowns later Vannathy was crowned King in the Ring Lightweight Champion.