The main event of the evening, a president versus president bout pitting UoN’s Rajan Samra against Trent’s Alex Davison, was emblematic of NTU’s 7-1 win in the Varsity Thai Boxing event. Samra put everything he could into the contest and never took a step back, but was simply outmatched by the superior technical fighter. This pattern was carried over into the rest of the contests, with the Green and Gold’s sole victory coming in a contest where Jem Vongseenin battled back from losing the majority of the fight, being knocked down multiple times, to exploit a leg injury suffered in the fourth round for an amazing fifth round stoppage.
The home side did not get off to the best of starts, conceding the opening women’s 59kg bout due to Ripan Aramwatanapong coming in overweight at a final 61.8kg. The bout still went ahead as an effective exhibition, with the UoN fighter losing by decision to legitimise the conceded point and set the tone for the rest of the night, with Lavinia Leopardi controlling the contest with kicks and a solid defensive double forearms guard.
“The Trent fighter managed to make enough of an impression on the judges to end up taking the decision”
This was then followed by the aforementioned contest featuring Jem Vongseenin. The much less experienced Vongseenin was outclassed technically by his opponent for the most part. The tide turned when the NTU man appeared to suffer an injury on a trip takedown, which Vongseenin then followed up on in the next round with a knockdown and then a strong leg kick for the finish. This ended up being UoN’s sole victory on the night.
Jamie Glazer’s game-plan of pressuring his taller opponent into the clinch and then working an attack with his knees did not pay off against Trent’s Aarun Kooner. The Trent fighter managed to make enough of an impression on the judges to end up taking the decision, finishing strong with a clean roundhouse head kick in the fourth round as well as some strong punches in the fifth. This was one of the best received fights of the night, with big reactions for both fighters’ entrances and a loud crowd in the final round.
“The fighters did everything possible to put on a show”
The next fight, pitting Tom Wood from the home side against Faysal Mohammed, was the best chance UoN had to gain another point on the board. Mohammed’s entrance was interrupted due to a disturbance in the crowd, but the fighters did everything possible to put on a show that matched the increasingly lively atmosphere. Whilst the argument could be made that Wood should have got the victory on the cards, Mohammed landed some quality punches early and may well have done enough in the rest of the contest to get a couple more rounds with the judges.
Things really started to take a turn for the worse for UoN from there on out, with Tomi Amoa putting on an admirable performance simply to make it to the final bell against Panashe Mangoma, after being knocked down multiple times in the third after a fairly even first two rounds. Amoa managed to keep fighting through the final rounds to lose the decision and ensure that UoN could not pull off a victory in Studio 7.
“The final bout was a matter of pride, with presidents Rajan Shamra and Alex Davison facing off to a strong crowd reaction.”
The final three bouts were where the away crowd really came alive. Firstly there was the matchup of Keegan Lee against the next president of NTU’s fight team, Momen Moustafa, who garnered a huge reception. Moustafa dominated Lee in the clinch, landing quality knees from the plum, before eventually knocking Lee down in the second and finishing the UoN fighter at the start of the third round. This was then followed by the heavyweight matchup, pitting the Green and Gold’s Matt Chapman against Tariq Brown. After some early pressure was weathered by Chapman he came back into the ascendency later on in the fight as Brown exhausted himself terribly, resting his hands on his head towards the end of the fifth. However, this was too little too late as Brown went on to win the fight on the scorecards after a performance not befitting his bombastic entrance to the ring.
The final bout was a matter of pride, with presidents Rajan Shamra and Alex Davison facing off to a strong crowd reaction. Davison walked confidently to the ring, sure of his abilities to win the fight ahead of him. Whilst Shamra gave the fight everything he had, like his comrades on the night he was just outmatched technically, with Davison utilising some Dutch-style combinations punctuated with leg kicks to weaken up the UoN fighters lead leg. Whilst it appeared after the first round that Shamra may have weathered the early storm and come back into the fight, instead it was the steady accumulation of damage with more technical strikes that typified the evening. Davison was given the easy decision win to round off a night full of heart but deficient in technique for the home side.
Featured image courtesy image courtesy of UoN Sport (https://www.dgtlconcepts.co.uk/)