Ring Wars 15: New Grounds

Zak Kelly timing his strikes precisely against a game Erik Spring. Amazing fight!

Zak Kelly timing his strikes precisely against a game Erik Spring. What an amazing fight!

New venue, new camps, new fighters…A recipe for yet another successful fight card. Ring Wars never disappoints, and this card (Ring Wars 15) was no different. From start to finish, this card provided young talent, to head strong brawlers. Everything a fight card, or a fight fan could ask for. As always, from start to finish Ring Wars never ceases to disappoint, and here’s an inside glimpse of how the highlights went down!

The preliminary card was stacked, as always. It was stolen by MVJ fighter Nicole Zanoth as she was drastically outweighed by her game opponent Candace Gardner. Nicole agreed to this bout although being outweighed by a whopping 26 pounds, and yet she pushed forward to systematically chop her opponents lead leg to slow her foe down, as well as to utilize her speed advantage, and set her pace for the 3 round endeavor. Although Gardner came out from the gate aggressive trying to bully Zanoth, as well as the bout having its back and forth moments as it seemed Gardner wanted to push for the KO. However, in the end it was Zanoth whom took control of the bout early and clearly dictated the fight how she wanted it to play out by scoring with the leg kicks to set up her punch combos. Zanoth went on to win an easy unanimous decision. Calm and collected Zanoth had to say about her bout: “I went into the fight, figuring she was going to be aggressive with the weight advantage. However, I figured she would not be as fast as I was. Our game plan was to attack the legs to keep the distance. After the first leg kick I could tell she was not used to taking kicks to her legs. Therefore, despite the weight difference the game plan did not change”.

As the first fight of the main card ensued, Weapons 9 fighter Jon Curtis put on a Muay Thai clinic on his opponent Anthony Boyd from start to finish. To Anthony’s credit, he came out swinging, and seeking to solidify his style of fight. However, it was Curtis’ impeccable Thai clinch that set an early pace for that bout, as well as gave Curtis a clear view to victory. The bout started with both Curtis coming out shy, only, and obviously to decipher his opponent’s intentions. Though, once Curtis was able to adapt to Anthony’s aggressive outside game, he adjusted, and revaluated. Curtis won every round clearly by his precise striking, as well as finding himself on the better end of the clinch time and time again, scoring knees, and inside strikes at will. In the end, Curtis didn’t endure much punishment in this bout to his dictating the fight on the inside, and coasted to a clear unanimous decision. Confident in his victory, Curtis talked about his advantage in the fight: “I believe my clinch was where I felt most comfortable that night, I’m always comfortable inside”. Continuing about how he (Curtis) adapts during a fight he says: “I like to hit and get hit to be honest, that’s when I can wake up and all, he kept putting his arms down during clinch so I knew I could clinch the whole fight if I could, and that my knees might just hurt him”.

The main card coasted along and Ring Wars veteran Steve “Zero Doubt” Covington from LA Boxing took the stage to further his winning streak against Ryan Hill (Beta Academy). Steve is a fighter whom comes forward constantly, and refuses to quit, even during adversity; he’s a fighter who puts everything on the line, even if it concludes in his defeat. This bout, however, wouldn’t end in defeat. However, wound up a clear unanimous decision win for “Zero Doubt”. Covington came forward from the first bell trying to establish his jab and lead leg kicks to keep a clear and safe distance, however found himself on the winning side of his opponent’s (Hill) brawling attempts. Providing a clear lead in points for the more aggressive and clear striking fighter, Covington was coasting to a relatively one sided win. This tactic proved quite effective, as Covington continued his winning streak. Covington whom continuously proves himself in the ring in an effort to push for a title shot says: “I think I’m a fight or two away, Greg (Pritchett) is pretty fair and will give me the title when he feels I’m ready!”

Dustin Goard, the lesser experienced standup fighter in this bout, prevailed. As well as put on quite a show against our veteran Namron Bibbons. Dustin whom represents Tidewater BJJ came into the ring that evening with a lot of skepticism to him, given there weren’t too many testimonials to a lack of standup bout videos. However, this well experienced fighter impressed every fight fan in the crowd with his dominating win over the Ring Wars vet; Namron Bibbons. Dustin didn’t allow himself to get into Bibbons clinch, and stayed at bay to achieve his better portion of the striking. Bibbons pushed forward, relentlessly to gain the clinch to better his attack, however Dustin was able to circle out of Bibbons clinch, score at will while inside, and keep the fight in his favor scoring a unanimous decision. Dustin claimed his factor to winning was “Conditioning. I haven’t been able to go back and watch any video of the fight yet, but I know I felt great going into each round and I never felt gassed at any point during the bout. So I believe that played a large role in the win. Namron has a lot of skill as a fighter and I don’t want to take anything away from that. I think we were pretty well matched opponents and I really enjoyed the fight”. Continuing on an entertaining and inspiring quote; Goard attributed his winning to: “Having fun. As cheesy as it may seem, that’s really the deciding factor in all of my fights. The one’s (fights) where I’ve gone in angry at all, have been my most disappointing performances. So the key to victory for me is just to enjoy myself in the ring.”

The Co Main event was next up to the plate in an anticipated bout between Zak Kelly (MVJ) vs Erik Spring (Washington’s Martial Arts). Kelly, knowing the tough task ahead of him clearly stated “Erik is a tough dude. I knew that coming in”. This bout could’ve very well have been the main event to any stand up show, as these fighters didn’t hesitate from the first bell! Both fighters came out aggressive with Kelly landing his punch to kick combos to clearly spring back up, and re-evaluate his game. Kelly said about his foe: “He was a bit unorthodox to train for, but luckily at MVJ, we have some very talented fighters I have to drill, and spar with daily”. Continuing his onslaught with little effective countering from his foe at that point of the bout, Kelly clearly took the round first round from Spring. The second round seemed familiar to the first round, as Kelly was keeping Spring on the outside of his strikes, especially using his leg kicks as a distancing tool. Kelly seemed to be coasting through the round, when Spring landed a devastating combination, ending in an overhand right sending Kelly to the ground for the 8 count with just seconds left on the clock. Kelly popped up with his hands at chest length for the ref to dust off as he was ready to continue his venture to victory. Although there was only a few seconds left in the round to survive, Kelly said “I got a little over aggressive at the very end of the round and got popped pretty good. However, I was fully aware of the situation, honestly.” As Kelly prepared for the 3rd round after being knocked down, he came out as if he’d never been hurt and mimicked his first round performance as his last round performance. Kelly kept Spring at bay when needed, however, fought intelligently inside when it was called for, as well. Overall, Zak Kelly had a brilliant performance, expecially given slight adversity in the middle of the fight, and bouncing back to a split decision win.

Our main event of the evening wound up being a replacement with Mike Jenkins (Weapons 9) vs TJ Abdullillah (Champion Boxing) serving as the main bill. This fight was such a back and forth bout, and well matched fight it was difficult to decipher as a fan, as well as a judge. This bout was one of those bouts where you praise not being a judge, given to the equating efforts of both combantants. Both fighters put in a valiant effort, with Jenkins landing the better of the kicks, and TJ keeping his foe at a distance. In the end of this back and forth effort, Abdullillah found himself on the better end of the strikes as Jenkins seemed depleted, and unable to actively counter his foes attacks.

I.B.F. Promotions appreciates all of our fighters, camps, and coaches as they all put forth their best efforts in our ring. We look forward to seeing you all November 16th as we have a DUEL card for you. That’s right! We will have an 8 man 153 lb. Thai tournament earlier in the day, as well as our 3rd all boxing card to follow in the evening. If you care to participate in any upcoming card, contact Greg Pritchett. As always, we at I.B.F Promotions appreciate all of our fans, fighters, sponsors, and supporters! We’ll see you at the fights!

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