After a fist-filled, foot-flying evening of fights at the Eagle Ridge Arena in Langford, B.C., there is one thing that can be said: Quest for the Title 2, was a resounding success.
With a packed house, and fighters from as close as Victoria and as far away as Las Vegas and Romania, there was no room for disappointment. Fans were treated to a night of amateur kickboxing like few others.
Marcus Smith over Phil Tremblay unanimous decision
Sterling Thomson over Craig McWilliam unanimous decision
The first six fights, of various weight classes and something of an East vs. West format, saw kickboxers from the Victoria-area face-off against a list of fighters from Ontario and one from Illinois. The local victors were Marcus Smith, Allan Chou, and Greg Lamothe. Craig McWilliam, a protégé of Victorias Stan Peterec Kickboxing, made his debut in the ring but lost by unanimous judges decision to the more aggressive Sterling Thomson of Ottawa.
Allan Chou over Matt Acevedo TKO
Greg Lamothe over Darryl Marin unanimous decision
The Juniors put on a good show and proved that, pads or no pads, TKOs still happen, as was witnessed in Jordan Giebel vs. Robert Thomas when the up-and-coming Thomas stopped Giebel who deserved credit for accepting the last-minute fight on just 24 hours notice.
Andrew Walters fought through what appeared to be a leg injury to grind out a gritty decision over Cory Hastings via split decision after three rounds.
Title fights began with Tina Derix, of Victoria,B.C., giving Lisa Wells of the USA a sound beating ending with a KO by knee to the body. In the early goings Derix found herself on the short end of a handful of Wells punches before reasserting her Muai Thai clinch and sending the fight-ending knee into the solar plexus of her American counterpart. Wells crumbled to the mat before the referee came in to start the count - and eventually halt the bout - in the very first stanza. Derix left the ring the triumphant winner of the Womens Super Bantamweight ISKA North American title championship bout.
In Junior action 16-year-old Chase Ingalls stopped Devin Smith of the USA using a balanced arsenal of high and low attacks to end the fight with an impressive TKO in Junior Light Middleweight action. The Campbell River resident secured the Junor ISKA North American Title in the process and could be on his way to a bright kickboxing and MMA career.
Next up was Light Heavyweight defending champ Dean Lirette who, after a strong showing early on with vocal ringside support from the VIP section, lost his title bout to Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts Robin Anderson. Lirette was the clear aggressor in the early goings using looping overhand punches to put his opponent on the defensive, but his conditioning appeared to fail him as the fight progressed.
Anderson bided his time and as Lirette faded, Anderson rose to the occasion battering his tiring opponent to the body with a salvo of knees that sapped what little he had remaining in the tank. Lirette would eventually stumble to the canvas - from which he would not arise - before the referee called the entertaining back-and-forth battle that ignited the crowd.
Local Brian Chou then denied Tremayne Dunbar of Las Vegas the Mens ISKA Welterweight title with a unanimous judges decision. Chou was clearly the more well rounded of the two competitors mixing in kicks, knees and punches to keep Dunbars more singular boxing attack off balance. Chou used well-timed low kicks to batter the thighs of an opponent who appeared ill-prepared to deal with the leg assault. Dunbar dropped his hands far too low, far too many times - which gave Chou the opportunity to attack with punches and head kicks that landed early and often. In the end Chou pitched a shutout and took the decision with ease.
The last event of the evening was the World Title match in the Super Lightweight category. Defending champion, and local kickboxing legend, Gabriel Varga, successfully defended his title against challenger Emil Salva who came all the way from Timisoara, Romania to fight Varga. While a valiant attempt at the title, Salva was clearly out gunned in this match. Despite a strong showing from Salva who became the first person to hurt the world champion with a tight punch that dropped the champion. That would not be enough however, asVarga came on even stronger and the result of the match was a TKO that saw Salva through the ropes and on to the edge of the ring.
The evening was underscored by a high degree of respect and professionalism amongst both fighters and fans alike. Winners were humble, losers were respectful, and the fans maintained a level of sobriety rarely seen at a fight night. Given the success of the 2nd Quest for the Title event, there is no doubt that soon there will be another night of exciting fights and fervent fans.
Arnold Lim contributed to this report