In front of a capacity crowd at the Doncaster Shopping Town Hotel, undefeated prospect River Daz took out the Warriors Way 21 4-Man Eliminator with a clinical performance in the final against the always tough Indigo Boyd.
On the way to the final, Daz was able to overcome Canberra’s Lee Fook in the first semi-final bout. From the beginning, it was a close affair between the two, with the edge going to Daz after numerous catch and dumps throughout the fight. In an effort to negate Daz’s prime striking range and utilise his strong elbows, Fook often pushed forward looking to land cleanly, and as the fight came to an end he did, opening up a cut above the left eye of Daz. With the dumps, cleaner punches and better accuracy, it was Daz who took the unanimous points decision and moved on to the final to face the winner of Ramesh Habib and Indigo Boyd.
Habib and Boyd, not to be outdone by their tournament counterparts, came into the ring looking to put on a show and they did just that. Knowing that the fight was only three rounds in length, and having to capitalise early to impress the judges, both boys were straight into action from the opening bell. Quite quickly it was evident that Habib was going to be able to use his reach advantage against Boyd, employing push kicks and leg kicks to his advantage. Seemingly unable to get himself within striking distance, and perhaps too respectful of his opponent, Boyd ended the round down on the scorecards.
It wasn’t until the second round and an incredibly well-timed spinning elbow on the ropes that Boyd was able to show what he had to offer, opening up an enormous gash above the right eye of Habib. Quite quickly the referee paused the fight to have the doctor look at the cut, with the bout being stopped soon after. While down on the cards and momentum not going his way, Boyd was able to perfectly time the elbow and send himself to the final.
The final, a rematch from their 2016 bout in which Daz took home the Muay Thai Australia (MTA) Victorian title, was a great showing from both fighters who had already given their all in the first bout. The key concern for Daz going into the fight was the cut above his eye and how quickly Boyd would try and target that weakness and open it up again. Try and try he did, but the incredibly high fight IQ of Daz meant that he was able to read most attacks as they came in and adapt his response accordingly. A class above on the night, it was going to take a lot to steal the win from Daz, who looked even better in the final than he did in the first bout.
Again utilising the catch and dump, Daz was able to push ahead on points and at no stage was the decision ever really in doubt as he continually impressed those in attendance with his seemingly unlimited arsenal and answer for everything. Walking away with the unanimous points decision from the judges, Daz remains undefeated and $5000 richer thanks to his efforts on the night.
In the night’s semi-main event Iwan Jones squared off against Quan Trinh from the 8 Blade Warriors gym in Melbourne’s West. Training alongside the likes of Alexi Petroulias, Chris Nguyen and Alex Ilijoski, Trinh came into the bout well and truly prepared and despite a slow start, eventually found his rhythm. Despite the height and reach advantage going the way of Jones, Trinh looked incredibly composed and calm throughout the bout in which his main focus of attacks was the lead leg of Jones. With Jones searching for an elbow late in the fight, it was the continual punishment of the lead leg with kicks that wore Jones down and gave Trinh the comfortable points decision on the judge’s scorecards.
Also on the card, Elliot Glenister returned to his winning ways with a dominant performance against New Zealander Yassin Yass in their K1 rules bout. Glenister, who last fought in October dropping a decision to Queensland’s Jonathan Aiulu, showed again just how strong his boxing was, continually landing heavy shots on Yass. As the fight progressed Glenister started targetting the right ribs of Yass with some thunderous body shots and after two knockdowns, the referee put a stop to the bout awarding Glenister the KO victory.
In what was a strong fight of the night candidate, Ben Higgins and Quang Pham put on an absolute show for the crowd in attendance with multiple standing eight counts being placed on both fighters throughout their bout. Both men were looking for the big shot early on, but it was Pham who caught Higgins, dropping him to the canvas in the first round. It became quite evident that this bout would not go the full distance, as Higgins managed to recover and landed some textbook catch and dumps on Pham, scoring highly on the judge’s scorecards. With hard leather being thrown by both fighters, it was Higgins who pulled away on the scorecard before ending the fight with a perfectly timed question mark kick in the third round.
It was also announced on the night that Warriors Way will return for just one more show in 2018, which will feature a rescheduled match-up between Abbas Ahmadi and New Zealand’s Sam Hill. Their bout, originally slated for the semi-main event on the card, was cancelled the day of the fight after Ahmadi was ruled medically unfit to fight due to illness.