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Fans of kickboxing were fortunate to see one of Australia’s greats Peter
“The Chief” Graham contesting for the NSW heavyweight boxing title against
titleholder “Gorgeous” George Poulivaati on Saturday at the Croatian Club,
Sydney. Fans would have been familiar with local star Steve “Stone Cold”
Moxon who was putting it all on the line for international recognition against
Expedito Valin for the vacant WKF middleweight title, but few would have
predicted how impressive the fights were.
Graham vs. Poulivaati
Graham started strongly against Poulivaati, using his range and footwork. His opponent was happy to take a few shots to land a big counter of his own and rarely took a backward step the entire fight. Graham’s combos really started to damage Poulivaati towards the end of the third round, where he landed a flurry of unanswered shots. But Poulivaati wasn’t done.
The following four rounds were an absolute slugfest with both fighters maintaining a pace rarely seen at fighters of their weight. Poulivaati kept coming forward, eating punches and landing his own. At times it looked like either man could finish the other.
The final round was as energetic as the first, with perhaps Graham having slightly better fitness and lighter feet. Poulivaati’s courage and strength was amazing, though, and both fighters finished strongly. Graham was awarded the W, but was suitably gracious to his opponent. “It was a friggen hard day at the office,” he said. “George is definitely a champion and made that very hard work.”
Moxon vs. Valin
It was clear from the opening bell that Moxon would have his hands full. Valin was in great shape and his kicks were deceptively effective against his shorter opponent. Moxon was characteristically aggressive and when he got inside Valin’s range he made him pay with vicious striking combos.
The middle rounds were action packed. Moxon landed some thunderous body shots on Valin, and Valin gave Moxon some brutal chin-music with his kicks. Moxon was the more aggressive fighter however, and landed an excellent jumping knee to finish round four.
The final round was Moxon’s, who seemed to be pushing for the KO. Valin fought well off the ropes and wouldn’t go down, but Moxon looked hungrier for the title. Moxon was given a split decision victory and summed up his performance with, “I was probably looking for the KO too much and he kicked and kicked and kicked. I’m glad to win this title from a true champion and thank you to all my supporters.” Earlier in the evening, eight time world champion kickboxer Stan “The Man” Longinidis described Moxon as the beginning of the new era of kickboxing in Australia, which is high praise indeed.
Sio Asipeli vs. Farag Rghis
Rghis had a big reach advantage over Asipeli and used it to great advantage in the early rounds. His opponent started to counter well with some excellent flurries as the fight progressed, but couldn’t put him down. Rghis didn’t look at all comfortable being hit, but still maintained his reach advantage with a consistent jab. The fight was eventually called a draw – which seemed an accurate conclusion.
Danny Kennedy vs Trueman Robb
Robb looked to be the more technical and relaxed boxer from the get-go, but Kennedy wasn’t going to die wondering. Kennedy’s work rate was impressive and landed some excellent shots on Robb. The high-energy encounter finished with both fighters looking very even. The win was given to Trueman Robb
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