KOs dominate Night of Wrecking
The towel boys had a busy night mopping up the canvas with nine out of the 15 fights decided by knockouts as about 550 fight fans had their fill at Night of Wrecking 10.
International Muay Thai kickboxing, mixed martial arts and boxing hit the Trafalgar Centre on Saturday night. Fighters from Australia and America showed their class and three South Island titles were settled.
Leon Tangaroa, the top-billed fighter from the local fighters' base of Fight Club Nelson (FCN), was beaten by his own body. Tangaroa suffered a bout of appendicitis on the morning of his scheduled fight against Australia's Ben Tan and was forced to withdraw.
Tangaroa's disappointment aside, there was ample action and plenty of hard-hitting connections as fighters found their range and mark. Most KOs and TKOs were on the undercard, with most of the top-level fighters too slick to get caught flush.
Jahda Wharepapa was not so lucky. The FCN light-middleweight lost his WMC South Island title to Christchurch's Mike Bevington. The Strikeforce Lee Garr fighter floored Wharepapa with a "perfect" knee to the midsection for a first-round KO. Wharepapa still holds his TBA belt.
American fighter Whitney Tobin of Minnesota Martial Arts was too strong for her opponent, Ramona Seargant of Featherston Muay Thai. The fight went the full three rounds, but Tobin dominated for most of the time, and was far too strong.
Luke Graham of Proactive Martial Arts, Christchurch, successfully defended his South Island middleweight title against Fionabarra Long of Queenstown Muay Thai. In an even fight, Graham was able to score more readily with a well-thought-out strategy based on the leg kick, earning him a unanimous decision.
Also retaining his title by unanimous decision was Kelly Pia of Queenstown Muay Thai. Pia kept his South Island heavyweight title, outpointing John Mikaere of Muay Thai Institute, Wellington, with tidy scoring techniques, against a flat-looking opponent.
In a boxing rematch from Night of Wrecking 9, Ritchie Harris of FCN repeated his previous win over Ginge Moore of Nelson Boxing. Thirty seconds into the second round Harris stopped Moore for the second time this year, with FCN now considering the challenge settled.
Organiser Isaac Takarangi said the standard of fights was the finest he had seen in Nelson, and the knowledgeable crowd appreciated the skills on show.
"The fights were amazing. There were a lot of stoppages which made the night, the crowed were electric, and they love seeing that. There was a lot of skill; it was all calculated stuff, very technical. Guys were just getting hit on the mark and dropping."
Takarangi said the standard of opposition was reflected in the mixed results for local fighters, referring to Liam Krywyn of Sunshine Coast Kickboxing Gym's third-round TKO of Sam Speight (FCN).
"It has been the best show we had in terms of fighting. Like the 16-year-old Australian fighting Sam, he just blew the crowd away.
"He was like a Thai fighter - tidy, textbook and tall. My guy Sam had no answer for him. That is good for our fighters; I want them fighting guys like this."
The Night of Wrecking series continues with another event scheduled for March next year. Thai-based fighters are set to face the top talent from around New Zealand and the FCN crew will be back in training this week.
Other results: Chase Duncan, FCN, beat Daniel Wilkes Academy of Combat, Christchurch, in a unanimous decision.
Kahu Tumai, FCN, defeated Rhys Richards of Fortitude Gym, Masterton, by way of knockout in the second round.
Ethan Oakes of Strikeforce Lee Gar defeated Timo Kuske, FCN, by way of knockout in the second round.
Dane Reid, FCN, defeated Philip Warmouth of Blenheim Kickboxing by way of knockout in the first round.
Barry Pickett of Featherston Muay Thai defeated Sam Talbot, FCN, by way of technical knockout in the second round.
Grant Toa Toa of Octagon Combat, Wellington, beat Byron Hull, FCN, in a unanimous decision.
Tony Snape of Nelson Boxing defeated Phil Hayes, FCN, by way of technical knockout in the second round.
Sean Tamariki-Todd of Invercargill Martial Arts defeated Juice Visaalli of FCN by way of technical knockout in the second round.
Hamish Dempsey of Strikeforce Lee Gar, Christchurch, beat Andrew McGragh of Muay Thai Institute, Wellington, in a unanimous decision.
The Nelson Mail