Karate Combat Week 7 - First Match
by Toni Gannon
For the seventh week of the season, Karate Combat moved the pit from the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Scrap Punk to the top of ultra modern Neo Tokyo skyscrapers. There’s no better way to make an impression in a new location than showcasing a defense for the golden belt.
67 Kg champion Edgars Skrivers defended his title against Myrza-bek Tebuev in the main event. As expected, two of the more interesting competitors provided more than enough fireworks.
With almost total disregard for the scheduled 5 rounds, the two men met in the middle of the pit and pushed an extremely high pace. Largely staying in the pocket, the back and forth resembled a kickboxing match. Head movement, punch combinations, and kicks blended in with footwork tell most of the story.
Tebuev made sure things continued exactly where they left off moving into the second frame. The Russian moved forward with boxing combinations while Skrivers was forced to defend and look for chances to counter. As the champion tried to settle into a rhythm with his own forward pressure, Tebuev relied on defensive footwork and angles to complicate the situation.
Despite the momentum shifting in the previous round, Skrivers approached it exactly as he did before: Walk his opponent down ready to strike in close range. Aided by a spinning back first, the constant movement of Tebuev slowed just a bit and gave the champion enough freedom to throw two wild aerial kicks to close the round.
Just as the audience in Neo Tokyo was ready for what was sure to be an exciting fourth round, Tebuev wasn’t allowed to answer the bell. After the referee observed Tebuev struggling to make his way back to the pit with the assistance of a cornerman, he had seen enough and opted for fighter safety. Skrivers holds his belt and undefeated record as a result.
The evening began with two men looking for their first win in the pit, as debuting the Nikos Gidakos took on Willians Quirino. The opening round began with the one fight veteran pushing the pace with his wide stance. Despite being the taller man with longer reach, Gidakos responded with meeting the Brazilian halfway in close range punch exchanges. Breaking the rhythm of the phone booth fighting, Gidakos managed to use slick Judo throws to add another layer to his clinch game. After a violent start in which Quirino was also dropped with a counter punch, he climbed up the side of the pit en route to his corner on noticeably wobbly legs.
Things slowed down in the second. Both men looked to be goading the other attacking to open up countering opportunities. Gidakos again dropped Quirino with punches, who still looked affected by the first round. As a knockout seemed imminent, the debutant appeared to run out of steam as he mainly played defense upon initially establishing control.
As the final round started, Gidakos still looked to be in energy conservation mode. Unfortunately for Quirino, he was still very game. As his opponent tried to pressure with footwork and the occasional punch flurry, Gidakos responded well and again stunned with hard punches. Undeterred, Quirino finished strong with more aggression and landed a few ground strikes before the final bell sounded. The closing moments were too little and too late. The judges ruled unanimously for Gidakos.