Welcome again, kids. We’ve returned with more violence from the fringes in this week’s edition of What The Fight, including a major dollop of slapboxing, some Dambe action, sand MMA and some puzzling decisions made in Kung Fu.
So let’s talk about those slaps. Poland’s PunchDown has gotten pretty popular (especially since it seems like the perfect kind of setup for gambling), and it continues to deliver on the action front.
This week, we’re gonna look at a matchup from last month in which Wiechu and Jawor faced off and absolutely napalmed the hell out of each other’s faces. This fight somehow went to a decision, which is a testament to the fortitude and toughness of the participants, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t land some major damage on each other.
However, this serves mostly as a preface, because the doughy gentleman in the white rashguard is the beast known as Jawor. He’s one of the most wildly compelling guys I’ve seen so far, and this matchup against a cat going by Mad Max was a proper duel between to absurdly tough human beings.
Jawor stuns Max with his opening volley, but Max hangs in there and retaliates hard. It’s a great thing that the production value is so good and they managed to get some excellent replay angles, because the camera initially misses the full shot due to the gratuitous ring girl footage that they just had to get.
The next segment is another gem from our buds over at Fight Commentary Breakdowns, and it’s a tough one for me on a personal level. Like many others, I grew up on Kung Fu cinema and well, sometimes kids don’t know any better. Turns out that when push comes to shove, a lot of these practitioners tend to throw all technique out the window and resort to Bart and Lisa Simpson-esque whiffing and windmilling. It’s sad on a few levels, really. Not only does it shatter the illusions of our youth - the ascent of MMA has changed that for so many people. It’s the fact that the art itself doesn’t remain pure.
In all fairness, what you are about to see are two self-proclaimed trainees that have trained under Wing Chun and monkey style. Neither looks particularly great, but one really, really looks lost in the woods once the battle begins.
It would be totally understandable for you to not be able to watch or digest the whole thing, but I strongly recommend it. The payoff is worth it.
Next up, a Jeet Kune Do practitioner that is also a social media influencer challenged a kickboxer to a fight. How does that work out? Better than what you just saw above, but still not good. The thing that is evident from the outset here about our JKD guy is that, well... Jacky Bryant he is not. JKD guy throws some lazy kicks here and there, but doesn’t seem to have the mobility he’d like to have to really get them up there, you know? Big swings, errant backfists you can see from a mile away, not a jab in sight, it’s very no bueno.
In fact, the only truly competent strike the JKD throws and lands to some degree of consistency is a few teep kicks. To be totally frank here, the kickboxer guy with the sweet getup didn’t even have to take off his jacket and went super easy on him. It goes on like this until the ref calls it in an act of mercy. Smooth technique from the kickboxer, not a good way to rep the game from the JKD guy. It is what it is.
From Asia we go to Africa, where a picture perfect Dambe match takes place. Two combatants step in to deliver damage with one hand, and one of them made sure to maximize his damage with that hand.
Length and timing won the day here, as the longer of the two participants baited with a feint and his opponent bit. One stagger step later and that right hand found a home on brother man’s dome. The execution is lovely, and it displays craft over everything else.
The beauty of Dambe is the simplicity. Watching guys fight smart like this is necessary to survive, and they really make it look easy.
Here’s another Dambe match between two larger guys, and this is more about patience. There’s more tension than a old western shootout, a lot of clinches, and some wild flurries at the end as they go for broke. Again, very much worth sticking with it.
And now we move again, from Africa to Russia. STRELKA brings the goods yet again, and this week they’ve got a Gangster vs Boxer fight. While I suppose gangsters can also be boxers and boxers can also be gangsters, I’m not really gonna ask too many questions. I don’t speak Russian, and I’m not gonna ask for gangster pedigrees or why our guy here is wearing a long-sleeved shirt, but I can venture a few guesses.
Regardless, the man in black lands an excellent takedown early while in the clinch, swivels to the back and works a miserable looking choke. It takes a few taps for the ref to break it up, and it’s not the most textbook finish you can find. But there’s flashes of technique in these roughneck battles.
Which serves as both a reminder and a perfect way to end things this week. You think you’re tough? Don’t forget there are guys like you all over the world.