Cairn’s fighter Matt Smith added another high level fighter to his list of victories on Saturday night as he was able to stop Geelong’s Pat Richards in the third round via an incredibly well timed body shot in the main event of Warriors Way 18.
Quite often seen as the underdog in many of his bouts, Smith came into his main event fight with little to lose against Richards. The start of the bout saw a slow and measured approach from both fighters who have a great amount of experience to call upon when the big fights are concerned. While Richard’s range seemed to be off early in the first round, he was able to successfully control the clinch and toss Smith around with ease at times. The second round saw Pat once again searching, and failing, to find a big knockout shot, often over-committing and placing himself off balance as Smith continued to apply the pressure and move forward. Richards continued to dump Smith in the clinch and tried on a few occasions to land the infamous rolling thunder, but was just out of range both times.
Smith started round three with a much stronger resolve in the clinch and was able to successfully keep Richards at distance with his longer legs, throwing a good number of roundhouse kicks. As the round progressed Smith managed to push Richards towards the neutral corner before he landed a strong body shot that left his opponent on the canvas and unable to answer the referees count.
In the semi-main event of the evening crowd favourite River Daz made his return to Warriors Way following his successful bout at Lion Fight 34 in February. In his way was last-minute replacement Barthé Boumayé who only one week ago won the International Kickboxing Federation (IKBF) Victorian title. Some great boxing combinations from Daz opened up the fight, while Barthé pushed forward, eager to apply pressure early on. With an awkward and challenging style to contend with, Daz needed to adapt his approach to keep landing the shots he wanted. The round ended with both fighters offering up a high work-rate, putting on a show for the fans in attendance.
The second round started much like the end of the first with both Daz and Barthé unloading strong attacks on each other. The big fight experience showed for Daz and he was able to keep his composure tagging Barthé multiple times late in the round. A strong start to the opening of round three by both fighters led to an entertaining finish but it was Daz again who was able to put together several strong combinations to take the unanimous points decision.
A battle between two of the strongest lightweight prospects in Victoria took place between Indigo Boyd and Will Smallwood in one of the evening’s main card fights. Given it was a three round fight, neither fighter felt the need to ease into the bout and very soon each was unleashing strong boxing and kick combinations in an entertaining back-and-forth first round. It was Boyd’s clean technique and ability to string together accurate combinations that edged him away in the second round. Boyd put on a show in the closing round as he pulled out a high number of quality attacks ranging from elbows, to knees, to punches and everything in between. He showed he has a large arsenal of attacking options to choose from and will be one to watch going forward. Taking nothing away from Will Smallwood however who was tough as nails and never took a back step in what was a great fight between two strong up and comers.
In an earlier fight on the card, local favourite and fast rising-talent Sam Himing improved his record to five wins from six fights when he beat Nathan Culhane via unanimous decision. The fight started off with Himing unleashing a barrage of accurate combinations, letting his hands go with great effect. The second round saw Culhane begin to adapt and locked his opponent in the clinch to minimise the effectiveness of his boxing. A big right hand from Himing knocked Culhane down early in the third round for a standing eight-count which was more than enough to give him the decisive win and title of ‘one to watch’.