Steko’s Fight Night Review – May 18th


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Dr. Christine Theiss met a worthy opponent in Ania Fucz. Photo: SE / White

Munich – Last night at the Olympia Eisstadion Munich, Steko’s best known fighters from the main card produced three gladiatorial battles. They maintained their undefeated records in fights that will no doubt be remembered for the test of time. The fights were fantastic but weren’t without controversy from the point of view of the scoring from the judges.

The stadium was a sell out and the electricity in the air was only going to fuel the fighters on a night which saw all competitors having to go into the trenches.

Willy “The Lion”, who effectively plays the court jester outside the ring, came into the arena wearing his trademark lion mask. However, this time he was also sporting a FC Bayern shirt for his beloved team who will be playing in the Champions League final later today.

Willy beat Chris van Venrooij, although “The Lion” had to come back from being put on the canvas in the very first round to win the WKA Welterweight title.  van Venrooij started the stronger of the two and immediately found his rhythm which enabled him to unleash short sharp combinations that were landing perfectly.  Halfway through the 1st round the Dutchman showed why he was reigning champ, a quick kick followed up with a straight left and sweeping right hand put the Steko fighter on the canvas.

Willy “The Lion” was tested early by his Dutch opponent. Photo: SE / White

Was the fight over already, or would this wake up the undefeated Willy as he strives to overcome the odds to win the belt?

Well it was clear, “The Lion” was going to do everything to win this title because he wants to create bigger and better opportunities for himself in the future and having been stunned in the opening round, Willy’s back was now against the wall, At the end of the round The Lion’s trainer, former champion Mladen Steko hammered home the instructions for what could be a long evening.

Round two was definitely more even, van Venrooij continued where he left off in the opening round while Willy stepped up his game to make it a fight, giving himself the chance to win the gold.  The second round finished and Willy hadn’t won either.

Going into the third “The Lion” finally found his rhythm; this improved his confidence and enabled the challenger to express himself in a free-flowing manner.  The Lion started to land some huge flying knees, some of which only found the defence of the champion, but we have seen before, it doesn’t matter if they hit the guard or defence of the opponent; it helps to wear the opposition down.  Sure enough, this is what started to happen, Willy took the 3rd and 4th rounds in similar fashion and he put himself in control going into the 5th and final round.

Concentration is all that was needed, if Willy could do this then he was going home with the belt. Sure enough, both men left nothing to chance, giving everything.

Would we see a fifth round stoppage from either man?  No we wouldn’t, the motivation of the two men was too great, they would not be stopped.  However, Willy was definitely the busier of the two as the 5th and final round came to a close.  Now it’s down to the judges.  The scores were calculated and handed to the Master of Ceremonies.  The Stadium went quiet and awaited the decision, suddenly it was heard, Willy “The Lion” is the WKA Welterweight champion.  Overall a result he deserved.

Willy pounds his opponent into submission to earn the victory.  Photo: SE / White

Next was Florian “Fist” Pavic against Pacome Assi. Before you read this there are a few things you need to think about.

What is the more effective strategy, scoring points with combinations or using brute force to push your opponent back for the duration of the contest?

Well the fight started and Assi immediately went on the attack, walking down Pavic, cutting off the ring and cornering him against the ropes.  Assi was throwing short clusters of punches and kicks, although his opponent “Fist” went for the different strategy.  A strategy that is often used in amateur contests, throw volume of punches which are seen by the judges and score points this way.

Florian Pavic was fighting off Pacome Assi throughout the evening.  Photo: SE / White

Surprisingly it was very similar to Pavic’s last fight where he was pushed back for five rounds against Might Mo, the difference was that Assi was far more mobile than Mo and with 30 seconds left in the first round, the Frenchman caught Pavic with a viscous straight right that seemed to make the undefeated fighter stumble back against the ropes.  However, we have come to learn that “Fist” has a fantastic defence, something that was certainly going to be required for the duration of the fight.  Pavic did recover quickly and was happy to hear the bell to signify the end of the first round, a welcomed break for the German.

In the second round it was very similar to the first, Assi pushing the action while Pavic continued with his tippy-tappy punches which would clearly have caught the judges eyes. However, Assi may not have been throwing as many kicks or punches as Pavic, but they certainly seemed to be doing more damage to the undefeated man and this is why I asked the question earlier:  is four strong punches and kicks better than 30 less-power-point-scoring shots?  Well this would be answered if it went the distance.

As the second round finished and the third round started, Pavic seemed to be struggling for breath, understandable when you consider that Assi had continuously hunted the German down inside the ropes.  Assi was sticking to his tactics, as far as he was concerned he was doing enough.  The kicks he was landing on “Fist” were cracking against his ribs and the echoes could be heard throughout the stadium.  Pavic stuck to his strategy, kept throwing combinations that caught the eyes of the judges.

Going into the final two rounds, Pavic started to look weary and seemed to be struggling to keep up with the pace he had set in the previous rounds.  However he was starting to look a little worse for wear.  Assi, on the other hand was still looking strong, because he had thrown less combinations, he was waiting for the right time and throwing the more devastating punches.

Which style would the judges favour?  The scores were collected by the ref and passed to the the official ring side to calculate.  It was a tense situation, Pavic certainly had nothing left and in all honesty it looks like Assi could go another 5 rounds.

Then the official decision was given, Pavic was the winner, he was still undefeated. Although, the fans didn’t appear happy with the decision and showed their displeasure by booing the result and Assi who was fuming by the decision made it known by running to each corner of the ring and standing on the ropes raising his arms to the fans who responded with loud cheers.

This is what leads me to my conclusion, in all of the combat sports we know and love – the likes of MMA or single discipline martial arts and boxing – what is the one thing that we have learnt, one thing that UFC President Dana White always mentions and stresses to the fighter?

Don’t leave anything to chance, leave everything in the ring and you won’t be able to complain.

Fist survives and remains undefeated.  Photo:  SE / White

People might not be happy that Pavic won this fight because Assi looked like he could fight another contest.  My question – If Assi still looked so fresh, why didn’t he do more to try and finish Pavic?  There were a few chances for the Frenchman but he didn’t seem to capitalise on this or feel the urgency to really push the contest.  Whatever your opinion, this particular result will always be seen as controversial.  Question is will there be a rematch and would either fighter change their strategy?  A question that can only be answered in the future.  If there was a rematch should it be held on neutral ground or should Assi be able to fight in his home country.  If this happened yesterday, would the result have been different?

The last fight of the main card was, Dr Christine Theiss against arch rival Ania Fucz.  In a fight that was well worthy of the ticket and should have had a bonus for fight of the night.  A fight that swung both ways with regards to each fighter having control at some stage or another.

When the fighters entered the ring, Ania had the look of a woman possessed.  Theiss was also pumped as she uncharacteristically bounded her way to the ring, with a facial expression of, “I’m the teacher, time to school the student”.  Then it was the staredown as the ref issued their instructions.  Each fighter glaring at their opponent.  They were sent back to the corners and the ten round contest was about to start.  It’s on!

Fucz, raced out of the corner like a rocket.  No fear shown as she hunted down Theiss.  Fucz looked strong in the early stages of the contest and looked in control for the first four rounds, creative combinations and fast hands and kicks.  To be honest, Theiss looked be dazzled and for the first time ever, her face was being marked up.

Were we going to see one of the biggest sporting upsets of all time?

No, it was time for the Theiss recovery.

Theiss was fighting on instinct.  This was where the champion came into her own.  She started throwing combinations with more aggression, controlled aggression.  Suddenly, Fucz realised she was now in a war and it was her turn to be marked up, although it was far more noticeable on Fucz as a welt appeared under her left eye.

As the fight drew to a close it was clear the arch rivals had new found respect for one another.  Touching gloves and showing their class as they started the final round.  Both fighters giving their all and trying not to leave it in the hands of the judges.  However, its wasn’t to be as the final bell rang.  At this stage the both sets of fans started to chant across to each other, singing the name of the fighter they had come to support.

Dr. Christine Theiss was tested but came out victorious.  Photo:  SE / White

Would this influence the judges?  Well, no. The fight decision was in favour of the undefeated Dr.  Although, this time was different, Theiss knew she had been in a fight, and this time she proved many critics she is well worthy of all the legendary praise she receives.  Looking forward to seeing her next challenge.

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