Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday Tournament: Ladies' Night

I'm told by unreliable sources that female boxers outnumber the males by two-to-one in SL. If that's the case, then they've been sorely underrepresented at Averlast tournaments, at least since I've started attending. My friend jesica has, up until last night, been standing up for the distaff side of the roster all by her lonesome. With Karine having to forsake her heavyweight contention for the time being in order to keep things running (more on that in another post), and others simply not stepping forward on tournament night for whatever reason, it's been lean times for fans of the Sisterhood of the Squared Circle.

Like I said, until last night. Miansha Beaumont and Buffy Soderstrom stepped forward to join jesica on the tournament ladder, equaling in number the males, being DeadMan Ivory, snake5608 Boa, and myself.

Miansha stepped into the ring with snake to kick off the night. It was a lively, back and forth affair, with both fighters giving and getting with vigor. It was honestly too close for me to call. I had given it to Miansha, but when it came down to points, the judges picked snake as the winner in what had to be a close decision. Everyone agreed that it could have gone either way.

jesica was next, having been paired up against DeadMan (yes, whether by chance or design, Hot had turned the lightweight tournament into the Battle of the Sexes). After the "rock 'em, sock 'em" action of the previous fight, this one represented a change in gears. Both fighters were heavily defensive, seldom getting within striking distance of each other. Where Miansha vs. snake was a brawl, jesica vs. DeadMan was a more methodical contest as each fighter tried to maneuver the other into the best position to strike. In the end, jesica came out on top, giving her her first official tournament victory. As the person who had been her trainer when she first came to Averlast, I couldn't have been prouder.

Buffy and I ended the first round of the tournament with our bout. I had met Buffy earlier in the week at the gym while she and her husband main steady, Chak, sparred over who ate the last double chocolate chip cookie. I figured they were either pulling my leg or they had a regard for snacks worthy of the Irken Empire. Well, either way, Chak was in the crowd and Buffy was in the ring, so I have a good guess as to who won that fight.

It was an impression reinforced shortly after the opening bell. Buffy has an aggressive style similar to my own, and she came at me ferociously. Couple that with an unexpected wave of lag, which made mounting any kind of defense a difficult proposition, and it was clear that I had my work cut out for me.

When she knocked me out of the ring halfway through the first round, I knew I was in trouble.

Okay, to review: Lag hindering movement. Hungry, talented newcomer bearing in on me.

This was no time for finesse, and so it turned into a brawl. Buffy and I traded blows back and forth for the next two rounds, knocking each other across the ring, and the occasional pop into the air. We both saved ourselves from KO's, and it was anyone's fight.

Then, in the third round, I repaid her for that first round KO by doing the same. I got the feeling that things were paying off, though it was still too close for me to call.

Choosing to brawl is a risky strategy, and one that doesn't always pay off. It all comes down to who can land the punches first.

So when the decision came down, I was more than a little surprised to learn that it had paid off, and that I had won by three points. That, by the way, is the point value of a single KO. So yeah: Risky, stupid strategy.

I'd like to add here that I think that Buffy is one hell of a competitor, and immediately after the decision was read I told her that she could get a rematch from me anytime. The way she fights, I may not have a choice in the matter.

So that left me with a bye to the final match, to face the winner of matchup between snake and jesica. jesica still played her defensive game, but still got some good tags and a KO on snake. snake, for his part, returned the favor, and scored a KO on jes at the final bell in what I'll term a "controversial" call. But as it's not my call to make, I'll leave it at that.

In the end, it came down to another draw. snake has a knack for these things, it seems.

This left a quandary, though. As there was only one other prospective opponent left in the tourney, the draw couldn't be handled the way it was last week, where both combatants advanced to different rounds. So, after much consideration (maybe a little too much, even), it came down to "pick a number" from Hot and snake advanced to the final.

So that was the end of jes' night, but she completed the event without a loss. Still, I'd rather have faced her, if only for the whole "student vs. teacher" angle.

So it was down to me and snake. Unfortunately, I think his slightly longer journey up the tournament ladder took its toll on him. I KOed him at least twice per round, though not enough to win the match by that means. snake never gives up, and he got in a few good shots, but I never left the ring while fighting him that night.

So that's me at 7-0 now. I had to leave before the middleweight festivities started, thanks to RL and the need for a steady paycheck, so I can't report on them here. But congratulations to Santana for another successful MW title defense.

Before I conclude, I'd like the reader to consider a little something here when going over the results: Of the three women who fought that night, the two novices gave their more experienced opponents the fights of their lives, while the more experienced one won and advanced. And they're only going to improve with time and practice.

Keep sparring, boys. ;-)

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