With everything to lose, Alexi ‘The Great’ Petroulias put on a clinical performance last night to beat young up and comer Indigo ‘Best Kid’ Boyd via unanimous points decision over five rounds in the main event of Warriors Way 20.
Not having won a fight since 2015, Petroulias was stepping into the ring last night on a mission to gain an important win, while Boyd was looking to shock the Victorian muay thai scene by toppling one of its greats. Both fighters had their game plans ready, but it was the experience of Petroulias that set him well apart from Boyd on the night.
The opening of the fight saw both fighters take a cautious approach as neither was looking to put themselves in a dangerous position. At times it looked as if Boyd may be paying his opponent too much respect as he was largely unable to penetrate the strong defense that Petroulias had employed for the fight.
Ring control was at the forefront of the strategy used by Petroulias and he used his strong kicks to control Boyd and begin to tally up the points as the second round came to a close. Petroulias continued to pick his shots carefully and impress the judges with his controlled, but consistent attacks on Boyd who really needed to press the pace and fight the fight on his terms rather than let Petroulias control the pace.
Boyd had very little to offer to counter the forward pressure Petroulias was able to use so well, and as the fourth round came to an end Petroulias kicked it up a gear and landed a series of accurate and powerful kicks to remain in control. With much of the same seen in the fifth round and the decision out of reach, Boyd was able to land a strong boxing combination on Petroulias, temporarily halting the momentum before switching into a spinning elbow attack which landed clean.
A contentious standing eight count was applied by the referee, but Boyd was unable to capitalise on the turn of events, allowing Petroulias to compose himself and close out the fight. Far from being outclassed Boyd showed that he was able to compete now with another class of fighter, but it was his inability to take any major chances and throw caution to the wind that allowed Petroulias to get the dominant win in the end.
In the night’s semi-main event, veteran Queensland fighter Brodie Stalder was unable to crack the tough Thai, Nai Sinbi, losing his bout via unanimous points decision. It was clear from the opening bell the level of experience both fighters have as they took their time to get a read on each other and try and find an opening to exploit.
Stalder opened the bout looking to work over the body of Nai, while it was the leg attacks that Nai focussed on early in the fight to try and slow down any forward momentum that Stalder could put together. It was clear in the opening stages of their five-round contest that Nai looked like the stronger and more confident of the two, as he continued to work Stalder’s lead leg.
The later rounds saw Nai switch his focus to controlling Stalder in the clinch, resulting in a series of clean dumps to score highly with the judges. The majority of the fight was largely characterized by an inability by Stalder to really get out of second gear and it was Nai who was able to control much of the fight to walk away with the decisive decision.
As the night approached its final two bouts, the stage was set for fan favourite ‘The Filipino Flash’ River Daz to show he was ready to take the next steps forward in his career as he moved into the professional ranks taking on the incredibly experienced Joey Baylon from New Zealand. Daz entered the ring to a wall of noise and looked more focused for this fight then he had ever been before, while Baylon showed no signs of his clash at Alpha Fight Series two weeks ago with Ramesh Habib. The Jason Suttie trained fighter looked as if he would be one of the toughest tests that Daz has faced so far in his short career and he was just that.
Fast hand combinations from Daz early on showed the tools he had available to him, but it was a clean combination from Baylon that sent Daz to the canvas, receiving a standing eight-count from the referee, much to the shock of the crowd. Looking for an early stoppage Baylon hunted Daz down, but was unable to get the telling blow, Daz surving the round.
In the face of perhaps the toughest adversity he has been presented with in his career, Daz opened the round trying to control the clinch and use his strength to get a series of dumps on Baylon. Daz began to pick up the pace and those in attendance were treated to his usual flashy style as he was able to string together an impressive push kick and jumping knee combination to end the round in his favour.
Daz was intent on leaving nothing in the tank as the third round commenced and he stormed forward landing some great punch and knee combinations that dropped Baylon resulting in a standing eight-count of his own. With the tables now well and truly turned, Daz pressed forward and applied pressure that helped sway the judges to win the bout 28-27 and show those in attendance just what he is capable of. The bout also won both fighters the ‘Fight of The Night’ award, a well deserved accolade for the show they put on.