The only other time I'd been to a FNF, the venue was in the basement of a church near Columbus Circle. This time around, the ring was set up in a ballroom near Wall Street, with columns and high ceiling lending the proceedings an air of majesty. Of course, with Blair's years of promoting under his belt, the event ran like a well-oiled machine, and the eight-bout fight card flew by. Would I recommend these FNF shows to other fight fans? Fuck yeah.
Now, some thoughts on the bouts:
- Bill Woodward of Real Elite got the job done in his pro debut against Phabion Wilson, playing the role of the Juggernaut (yes, the X-Men villain) and walking through everything Wilson threw at him to deliver pain. No matter what, Woodward kept coming, and his efforts garnered him the unanimous decision.
- From the outset it was clear both Carlos Madariaga and Arad Namin had skills, but Madariaga (who hails from Sitan Gym) had the sharper Muay Thai, and it enabled him to score enough to snag the split decision.
- TSMMA rising star Michael Trizano was crisp like a stainless steel potato chip, and for three rounds he kickboxed the hell out Alan Reinoso. To his credit, Reinoso never faultered, but when time ran out, the clear-cut unanimous decision belonged to Trizano.
- I don't know if it's possible to clinch someone to death, but if it is, American Top Team-Danbury rep Geoffrey Then came damn close in his bout against Ragelio Castillo. Then wore Castillo out with two rounds of it, and battered the exhausted fighter in the third for the unanimous decision.
- Female standout Angela Hill of Evolution Muay Thai almost lost her perfect record against the surprisingly game Jill Guido. Hill was relentless in her aggression, and ultimately that helped her get the split decision, but Guido (he was flown in from California) was in it throughout, and was able to put Hill on her butt whenever Hill's defenses lapsed.
- Mike Erosa fought all five rounds of his bout against American Top Team-Danbury rep Mohammed Lemjardine with his chin way up in the air, and it's a miracle he didn't get put to sleep. As it was, Lemjardine dropped him three times with punches to the grill, and the unanimous decision for Lemjardine shocked no one.
- Liam Tarrant of North Jersey Muay Thai brought some serious heat against the more-experienced Turan Hasanov, with said heat manifesting itself in the form of crippling leg-kicks that eventually resulted in a TKO. But it took four rounds for that TKO to come, and until then, Tarrant and Hasanov had some blazing striking exchanges that drove the crown wild. This one was the fight of the night, and it was fun as hell to watch.
- Church Street Boxing Gym rep Chris Kwiatkowski apparently didn't want to be outdone by Tarrant, so his leg-kicks were even hotter against opponent Daniel Rodriguez. Rodriguez last only into the second round, and that was all she wrote.