Fighting Club on the ROAD to Success
ROAD Fighting Club continued its run of successful events with drama, glitz and no little glamor at Jangchung Gymnasium this October 9. With an outside design set-up not out of place at an awards ceremony, fans got to mix and snap selfies with fighters within sight of the opulent Shilla Hotel. Those entering were offered miniature Chinese flags in recognition of ROAD’s recent announcement of its first ever China-based event on December 26 in Shanghai.
Inside, fans got to see an 8-fight ‘Young Guns 25’ preliminary card before the main events, with Seoul-based Tyrone Henderson heading the card with a confident victory over Seok, Sang-jun. Appetites suitably stimulated, the first fight of the main card surprised everyone with its brevity, as newcomer Kim Seung-yeon took little time in dispatching veteran Jung Doo-jae. Jung, stunned by punch and kick combinations, could do little once he’d regained his feet than give a congratulatory wink to the much younger fighter.
Moving up the card, and one of the best fights of the night saw Choi Jong-chan – arriving with an ebullient support base from his Team J gym taking on experienced Japanese fighter Shinji Sasaki. Sasaki, forever the showman, entered wearing a Japanese-style mask, long red robe and twirling a parasol, leaving what theoretically should have been a pro-Choi crowd unsure of how to proceed. The next two and a half rounds didn’t help either, with Sasaki skilfully dampening any momentum Choi tried to build before the submission expert finally finishing the match with a keylock submission in the third.
Low-blows were the order of the evening in the Hong Young-ki / He Nannan fight, with the Chinese fighter ensuring nobody was going to make fun of his perm with a kick to Hong’s groin area that left Hong prone, spectators gasping over the replays and He Nannan facing censure from the referee. Hong returned the favor with a knee to the bread basket later in the fight, with fans cheering the fact that both fighters managed to overcome such misfortune to make it to the decision – a unanimous one for the Korean. In the heavyweight clashes, Jairo Kusunoki, a replacement for Denis Stojnic, lasted all of 35 seconds before dropping under a flurry of punches against Myung Hyun-man before kickboxing veteran Mighty Mo stepped into the octagon against Busan native Choi Mu bae. Choi had used his punching power to overcome his previous three opponents so perhaps was a little over-confident as he closed in on the Samoa-native. One right hook shook him. The next dropped him completely. And the two heavyweight bouts had lasted a grand total of 72 seconds.
The main event was billed as a unification bout, with champions Jo Nam-jin facing off against Song Min-jong. Jo certainly seemed the more confident early doors, all designer headphones, bad-boy swagger and confident sneers, while Song wore that look of quiet determination blended with a pinch of worry. The regulatory three rounds saw the fill gamut of strikes, grappling and submission attempts but ended in deadlock. A tie-breaking round ended with still no winner, but the judges were now convinced and awarded the fight 3-0 to Song. Jo returned beltless to reconsider his playlist in the locker room while a visibly emotional Song found himself raised aloft on the shoulders of his trainer – the undisputed flyweight champion of ROAD FC.
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