Following a controversial decision loss to Irma Balijagic-Adler in her home town of Sarajevo, Bosnia, Jeannine Garside had a moment. I sat down and had a moment, and wished I could have been the home town girl, she said. Little did she know, that six months later she would be exactly that.
At the Cowichan Community Center Hometown promoter Wally Petrovic of Final Round Gym made it happen, and hometown hero Jeannine Garside did her part securing the WBC featherweight championship - taking a gritty performance from a tough but overmatched Dominga Olivo, of New York in the main event of Saturday Night Fights.
Garside used her superior speed and technical boxing to out point the brawler from the U.S. over eight hard-fought rounds to secure the title that had her weeping in front of the fight fans from Duncan, B.C., and had the fight fans on their feet.
The ever dangerous Olivo had her moments in the bout, mostly in the fourth and fifth rounds, possibly the only rounds she won when she drew Garside into a brawl where Olivo found her best combinations.
They would not be enough however, as Garside consistently controlled the ring working her into the corner and punishing her to the head and body - she did everything but put her opponent away.
Garside moved her record to 9-3-1 with her impressive performance.
In semi-main event boxing action fellow hometown fighter Johnny Two Feathers Williams dropped his bout to Lee Mueller in an entertaining slugfest that saw both fighters give and take shots for the duration of their three round boxing match.
Entering the match at 4-0 and with Mueller seeing his first boxing action of his career many felt that Williams would have the edge coming into the bout but Mueller proved to be much improved and got himself a hard-fought victory over the talented Williams in a minor upset.
Kaluhea Laureta was able to overcome a big height disadvantage, and a tight triangle choke attempt to mount and pound his way to an impressive victory against Kyle Bilton in MMA action.
The fast improving Lynell House proved to be too much for the hard working Tyme Hennesent using her natural speed to work her way to the body and the head to beat the tough Hennesent to the punch over three rounds. At one point Hennesent was able to land a solid right hand that seemed to stun House, but in the end the talented 17-year-old from Duncan secured another impressive victory and appears to be one of the fast rising young boxers and could have a bright future ahead of her if she chooses to pursue the sweet science.
Fan-favorite Jimmy Phan used his ground-and-pound assault to finish James Crockett in the second round of an entertaining affair that saw a bit of controversy. In the second round of a very competitive fight, Phan secured an arm triangle in the dying seconds of the round that induced a tapout as the bell was sounding.
Referee Stan Peterec was right on top of the action however, immediately calling an end to the round and not the fight - because the tap took place after the bell had sounded. Phan would not be denied on this night however as he was able to take the fight to mat, secure the mount and pound out a weary Crockett to get the stoppage in the second round.
Stephen Lemercier and Wes Gabriel fought to a no contest when Lemercier caught Gabriel with what was deemed a low blow and the fight was halted in the first round. In the early goings of the fight Lemercier was in complete control of the action hurting Gabriel on several occasions until the inadvertent blow called an end to the bout.
Kevin Leong and Josh Williams locked horns in one of the best back-and-forth fights of the night in an MMA contest that went the full two rounds. Leong was able to weather a rear naked choke attempt and a vicious ground and pound assault that appeared to have the referee Stan Peterec teetering on the bring of stopping the bout.
Leong showed off a resilient chin and rode it out getting back to his feet and dominating with ground-and-pound of his own. The resilient Leong eventually went on to secure a close decision over the equally gritty Williams in a battle of team mates, both of whom train at Final Round gym in Duncan.
In other MMA action Mike Murphy was able to get the impressive victory over Sandy Hampton getting the bout to the ground, securing the mount and pounding his way to victory until referee came in to halt the bout in the first round.
Royce Robertson and Cody Herrington went to war in a three-round bout that had the fan on their feet. In an absolute slugfest, both Robertson and Herrington left their defense in the locker rooms and swung for the fences in a bout reminiscent of Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar 1.
In the end Robertson was able to land the more jarring blows stopping
Herrington to secure the fight, and the cheers of the partisan crowd.
In the lone heavyweight bout on the card Al Tilford took out home-town favorite Russell Seward driving the bout to the ground, and pounding his opponent into giving up his back before taking a bloody rear-naked choke to secure victory in round 1.
Sarah Marshall took an impressive victory over Susie Riedlinger in kickboxing action.
Jason Szakal took a victory over Nathan Elman in a bout that went to the judges cards after an inadvertent head butt cut Szakal and forced the bout to go to the judges cards.
Kelly LeBlanc was able to get back on the winning track with an impressive rear naked choke over the gritty Darcy Hardy.
Blake McVitte drew with Tate Hackert for the second consecutive fight in a good back-and-forth tilt that goes on record as the only time in recent memory that two fighters have fought to a draw in two consecutive bouts.