After defeating Alfredo in the semi-finals, I was up against Yuri, a slovakian fighter. Yuri’s pretty young and exceptionally talented. Also, he’s really tall for the -71kg division, which is a great advantage especially in light-contact fights.
Having seen Yuri perform in the semi-finals, my coach and I decided it would be best to keep the pace rather low, fight defensively and wait for an opportunity to out-box the slovakian. I don’t know why, but I just dumped that gameplan a couple of seconds into the first round. Tried to score with an axe-kick. The ring canvas was slippery, though, so I fell.
Now usually I’d try to close the gap and outbox tall guys. However, this time, I just went for that classical light-contact strategy and poked around with the lead leg. To my big surprise, Yuri didn’t seem to have an answer to that. It’s not like I’d score with those kicks, but I kept the center of the ring and had Yuri move a lot. A lot comes down to endurance, so anything that exhausts him more than me is good in my book.
Another thing that worked well for me was switching to an open stance (i.e. right side forward when he’s leading with his left) and attacking with a rear roundhouse kick to the body. On the mat, Yuri would just have taken a step back to evade the attack. In the ring, however, his retreat was blocked by the rope, so I had a chance to follow up with strikes. I’ll definately have to work on mixing those two elements up, i.e. poking with the lead leg to get the other guy in an unfavorable position (for him), then hammer him with a rear roundhouse and follow up with strikes.
On a negative note, those turning kicks didn’t work out the way I had planned. Apparently, I didn’t pull them tight enough, i.e. they came in too far from the outside. Also, I didn’t fall back far enough. Need to put some work in here, especially since the turning kick is such a valuable weapon for full-contact fighting.
Over the course of the thrid round, Yuri hammered my cracked rib twice, once with a push kick, once with a left hook. Both times, I went to the canvas, panting for air.
In the heat of battle, both Yuri and I fouled, albeit accidentaly: one of my turning kicks went low and hit Yuri in the crotch, he threw a spinning backfist, which is illegal under light-contact rules. Stuff like that happens, though, there’s no point in crying over spilled milk. No point in holding andy grudge, either.
Overall, I’d say Yuri deserved to win that fight, although it was a close call. Just watch the video and form your own opinion.
Before covering the semi-contact fight between Gabriel and Andreas at the Austrian Open, I’ll put up my full-contact fights from the national championships last weekend. The first one is due tomorrow, so stay tuned.