We’re about a week after the iconic New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square, New York, but it’s hard to tell if anybody has left since then, the entire square packed in with FCBA fanatics, all braving this chilly winter night to take in some seriously sexy boxing action.
ABC have put together a little two-card event to bring in the new year and help the following girls work off any ring rust picked up during their lazy holiday vacations before the stable gets stuck into proceedings at the FCBA main PPV at the end of January.
On the undercard; Barbara Palvin versus Phoebe Tonkin.
For the main event; Sophia Bush versus Jennifer Morrison.
Pre-fight: Lightweights Barbara Palvin and Phoebe Tonkin are set to do battle first up, and each have a lot to prove here tonight. Barbara, desperate to string a few wins together, needs to get 2017 off to a strong start, while Phoebe is desperate just to stay relevant in the top 50 lightweights after seeming to have so much promise not so long ago.
In 2016, Barbara Palvin had a very up-and-down rookie year for Alpha Boxing Club. She looked very promising debuting in January with a win over Nina Agdal, and after a fifty-fifty year, rounded things out with a December loss to… Nina Agdal. So, we’re not quite sure what we learned about young Barbie in her rookie year. Hopefully she’s not going backwards already, and she’s here to prove just that.
Phoebe Tonkin, however, we know much about. The higher ranked Aussie beauty was once the BBU Lightweight champion. But, that was back in 2012, when she seemed to have so much promise. Her FCBA debut went well, defeating uber-talented Margot Robbie by decision, and then she even won her next two fights in dominant fashion. So, with a 3-0 start to her FCBA career, things were looking great, right? Not so fast. Phoebe has lost all five bouts since. That’s right, she has only had five FCBA fights since having a winning streak mid-way through 2013. She has inexplicably fallen off of the boxing radar, appearing in only one fight in each of 2014, ’15 and ’16. Now, she desperately wants to start fresh in 2017. Can she do so and defeat the inexperienced, inconsistent Palvin?
Tonkin sure seemed to think so. “Barbie’s a cutie, sure, and it’s gotten her a ton of support in this league,” Phoebe smiled, “but, that’s not going to help her in the ring, now is it? It’s not the substitute for fighting talent that the fans seem to hope it is. Anyway, we’ll see how cute you all think she is once I’m done with her. Sorry, but I’m not letting some poster-girl for the sport take away my chance to get back on top when I have genuine talent.”
Palvin was slightly less hostile. “Phoebe could have been something. She sure had talent. Emphasis is on ‘had’ though, isn’t it? I mean, if she still had talent after this long she’d be fighting in the top 50. Instead, yes, she’s facing little ol’ cutie pie me, who is, spoiler alert, about to break into the top 50 when I knock her smug ass out tonight!”
Round 1: Either Phoebe’s pre-fight words had a serious impact or Barbara may have carried over some of the hateful aggression from the Agdal rivalry fight at Christmas, because Palvin storms straight into Tonkin’s taller range and starts unloading bombs. But, Phoebe wasn’t born yesterday, nor was it when she began boxing, and she is light on her feet, evading most swings and blocking the rest.
Then the counter is on, with Tonkin jabbing the right straight into Palvin’s cute nose, following that with a left cross up high and a right underhook to the midsection when Barbara’s guard starts to form in front of her face.
Palvin unprepared as Tonkin takes her to school in the first round, teaching her a little thing or two about patience as she frustrates the young model with counters, clearly getting the better of the bout early. Barbara takes a seat in her corner after the first looking frustrated and a little foolish, and trainer Alyssa Milano is giving her a rather loud pep talk and some stern instructions.
Round 2: Phoebe comes out looking cool calm and collected, while Barbie looks a little flustered. Tonkin all too happy to blow her opponent a teasing kiss before getting down to business, probing with the jab a bit more, stinging pretty Palvin cheek.
Once Phoebe does try to work the body over with some heavier shots however, Barbara remembers how to guard, absorbing most of the hard blows with her leather or arms. Palvin still forgetting to move as much as she should, but she’s looking far sterner in defence and not nearly as troubled by Phoebe’s hard work.
Barbara even manages to pop a few connecting jabs back, keeping Phoebe on her toes and giving the Aussie something to think about. It slows Tonkin’s onslaught down, but Phoebe still seems to be getting the better of her opponent, and even resorts to a few cheeky shots to jugs, jumping Palvin’s bikini top much to the delight of the gathered crowd here in New York.
Round 3: Barbara looks like she’s settled in a little more now, not so on-edge or hap-hazard with her offence. The jab, and timing, is slightly more composed, and while Phoebe is able to stuff out a lot of the shots, her counters are less effective now as Palvin sees them coming and has time and room to adjust the guard and footwork.
Phoebe is coming on less now as Barbara keeps the jab up, even side-stepping with some thought-provoking hooks to ribs when Phoebe does try to make a bigger move. Barbara slowly seeming to find her groove here and while she’s not causing irreparable damage, she is certainly frustrating her opponent and probably taking the lead in the mind games at the very least.
Round 4: Barbie seems to have transitioned into focused assassin now, obviously needing to shake out the nerves in the first few rounds. The talent is there, and she’s starting to allow it to shine through as she dances around Phoebe, jabbing sharp shots into pretty face anytime Tonkin gets near, head snapping back, face grimacing in frustration. It’s a hard round for Phoebe as she is now completely outplayed, Barbie countering her restless opponent at every turn.
Phoebe has had enough and flies in with the head-hunting right, only for Barbara to duck, and explode back up with an uppercut that almost shuts down Phoebe’s facets where she stands!
Phoebe is blinking, trying to back away, and now Barbara goes to work, slamming fist after fist into tight rig, bruises forming where Tonkin’s abs were, the Aussie actress gagging for breath, bending, arms useless at her sides.
Palvin bangs rising leather into Tonkin’s face, getting blood and sending her sprawling into the ropes. Phoebe looks dazed, her bruised face contorted pain, and Barbara looks set to finish this! And then the bell. The referee ushering Barbara away to her corner, and Palvin looking more focused for what is to come rather than disappointed at being robbed the chance to finish things now. Tonkin suddenly looking like the student in this ring, perhaps her constitution, mental as well as physical, failing her after some time on the sidelines.
Round 5: Phoebe looks a little tentative, slowly in with the jab, and while Barbara looks like she wants to jump in swinging to put her opponent down, she thinks better of it after the first round shenanigans.
Barbie blocks most, though takes a few stinging shots to cheek and temple. The reply is worth it though, as Palvin crushes her right glove into Tonkin’s tummy, doubling the wilting starlet over, only to crack an uppercut right under the brunette beauty’s chin.
Phoebe is staggering backwards towards the ropes, eyes blinking, body language abysmal. Barbie takes chase and now she does swing for the fences, rights and lefts pounding into Phoebe’s face. The Aussie bounces against the ropes and straight into a haymaker and a half from Palvin that THUDS against Tonkin’s left temple. And Phoebe is down!
Barbara backing off, eyes keenly watching her opponent as Phoebe lays motionless face-down on the mat. The count is a mere formality, and we have a winner. KO5, Barbara Palvin!
Post-fight: Palvin is instantly on top of her corner’s turnbuckle, arms raised in the air, grinning, waving to fans. After a brief celebration though, she is over to where Tonkin is being helped, offering the respectful sportsmanship show of support. Only, Phoebe doesn’t want it, weakly pushing her victorious opponent away, grumbling about a rematch. Barbie looks taken aback, but heads back to turnbuckle to climb and blow kisses to the adoring fans, and she’s soon grinning again.
The huge crowd here in New York seem happy to see young Barbara Palvin earn herself a handy win over former hopeful Phoebe Tonkin with a devastating right handed KO, and the ABC beauty is also suitably ecstatic.
“I’m SO happy!” Barbie is cheering with a giant grin on her face at ring-side. “I’ve been fighting good competition with mixed results, but to get a solid win against an opponent like Phoebe is a real confidence booster. She does have talent, but I’m feeling pretty good about proving mine as well. I just hope I can start stringing a few good wins together now. We’ll see. Anyway, I wonder what Phoebe thinks of my talent now.”
Pre-fight: Our main card of the evening is a Bantamweight special between resurging Sophia Bush and dangerous untapped talent Jennifer Morrison.
Sophia Bush had a stellar 2016, winning the JMD title from nemesis Jenna Louise Coleman and defending once, then going on to win BWO Magazine’s Comeback Fighter of the Year award. She even closed out the year with a handy victory over former champion Anna Silk, and it leaves us wondering, can she really keep up this tremendous comeback streak?
Jennifer Morrison would like to think not. She is coming off an impressive win over super-tough Pink, and sets to prove that she’s got the goods to be a competitive piece at bantam. She has been rather on and off over the last few years, but she has proven that when she’s on, she really does have the ability to beat tough fighters. Jennifer will be looking to start a consistent run this year, and going through her slightly younger opponent would set her perfectly on her way.
“She’s had an impressive comeback,” Jennifer admitted of Sophia, “but all good things have to come to an end, and I’m going to give her a hard lesson in the reality of fighting elite bantams. I beat Pink, and no offense to Sophia, but Pink is a darn sight tougher than she is. My comeback is about to start too, honey.”
Sophia wasn’t letting her opponent get to her in the slightest. “Well, Jennifer’s not all wrong. All good things will come to an end. But, my run is only just beginning. I waited a long time to get into this shape. I’m not squandering it now. I’ve worked too damn hard. Jen is going to be a great challenge for me, but I know I can do it, and I’m going to keep proving those critics wrong. Jen included.”
Round 1: Both talented boxers circle, sizing up their opponent early as we begin the first, neither prepared to jump too eagerly into a potential trap. Both willing to test with jabs, but the defences aren’t wavering early.
Bush finds the first success, faking the right jab to stuff a left underhook into Morrison’s midriff, then a right hook to ribs, and suddenly Morrison’s guard slips a little, just enough for Bush to land a perfect left cross up high that finds Jennifer’s jawline. And Morrison feels it, staggering sideways, needing to find the reset button quickly as Bush pursues.
Jennifer does, and manages to guard through the follow ups, though she’s not getting much done in the way of offence.
Bush has the better of the first round, but it seemed they were both quite happy to ease into this one, showing a lot of respect to their opponent. Perhaps too much.
Round 2: Still that show of respect, and no big bombs being attempted in the second, each girl wading in cautiously, probing with jabs, keeping the footwork healthy and sharp.
It’s Jennifer this time that finds more success, though the two seem closely matched in these tentative early stages. Morrison whips a right hook around the side of Bush’s head and follows by lighting up those plump puppies. Bush isn’t happy about it one bit, but as she goes to cover, Morrison is happy to smack the leather through her pretty cheek, giving her something else to think about.
Sophia is able to keep Jennifer from repeating much of that again this round with some textbook defensive jabbing and lovely footwork. But there’s no doubt Jennifer looked a little more at home in that second round.
Round 3: Both fighters come out a little more aggressive in the third, seemingly ready to up the tempo a bit, and this New York crowd appreciates it instantly as Jennifer blocks a straight right from Sophia and responds with a right cross of her own that crams leather into Bush’s pretty left cheek and stumbles her a little.
Jennifer pursues, but Sophia isn’t prepared to be easy pickings, and she shimmies left, ducking an incoming overhand, and jams her left glove into Jen’s ribs, getting a pained grunt in response.
The other response is a left hook that clips Sophia’s chin, and feisty Bush is stumbling again, this time towards the ropes.
Jennifer now moves in and swings a heavy left that bounces right on Sophia’s nose, making her wail in shock and flail her arms a little, wide open for the follow up right cross that snaps through Sophia’s chin and sends her flopping right off of her feet and onto her side on the mat!
Jennifer is grinning, looking down at the writhing Sophia, waiting to see if she can navigate the ten count, while the folks in the cheap seats are looking up at the giant screen in the middle of Times Square, watching a close-up of the comeback fighter of 2016 try to come back to her feet.
The referee gets to 7, but no more, and Sophia is a tougher cookie than that, able to pick herself up, eyes instantly focused right back on her now quite confident opponent.
The third round is closed out with a lot of defence from Sophia. Mostly tight blocking with the guard, but also some decent footwork considering her feet were taken out from under her only a moment ago.
Sophia a little ginger and solemn I her corner, and Jennifer quite confident and proud in hers as we end the third with Morrison taking a huge advantage.
Round 4: Jennifer starts the fourth looking confident but not cocky, moving back inside Sophia’s range with probing jabs, then some underhooks that belt abs and occasionally jump lovely jugs. Sophia doesn’t look rattled though, and goes about working her way back into this bout, absorbing some leather to pop straights back into Jen’s jaw, a good 50% connecting with impact, and if anything it looks as Sophia is slowly wearing her opponent down this round.
Round 5: Sophia again happy to play this calm, cool and collected, absorbing body shots, but deftly blocking the higher crosses, and jamming leather back into Jen’s face where able. Morrison wising up a little though, careful not to give Sophia too much up high, and we’ve got an interesting stalemate on our hands here in the fifth as the action is moving, but with nothing adventurous or overly eventful occurring.
Round 6: For a moment it looks like we may get more of the action we saw in the fifth, with both boxing beauties stuffing out the hard shots, but connecting enough to keep the crowd interested. Then, Sophia seems to have a different idea, ducking a head-hunting jab and leaping through an uppercut that gets just enough of Jennifer’s chin to wobble her.
Jen’s right glove is still high, but her left is trying to reset, and Sophia is quicker now, whacking a left cross through Morrison’s gorgeous right cheek, snapping her head sideways, ponytail whipping through the air. Jennifer stumbles towards the ropes and Sophia bangs her right glove into tight midriff, perhaps just to keep her opponent guessing, as she follows with a left overhand that bounces off of Jennifer’s right temple!
Jen is sent flopping onto the ropes and then the mat, face down, arms splayed out over her head.
The referee is counting, and Sophia is grinning, that shot obviously feeling as good as it looked, and the crowd are on their feet, wondering if this is it.
The referee gets to the ten count and it appears it is. Sophia throwing her hands excitedly in the air as the large crowd here in the big apple cheer for the continuing surprise that is resurging Sophia Bush.
Sophia Bush wins, KO6!
Post-fight: Sophia is helping Jennifer to a seated position on the canvas, kneeling beside her, and it’s nice to see some sportsmanship still exists in this great sport. They share a hug, and it’s clear that respect they showed each other in the early rounds was more than just a cautionary tentativeness. These two are well aware that the other has tremendous, dangerous talent.
“I’m stoked,” Sophia Bush said beaming in the post-fight interview. “Jen is a fiercely talented competitor and I knew she was going to be a challenge and a half, and that’s exactly why I agreed to fight her. I’m here to prove I have what it takes to be at the top end of this division, and it’s only by beating talented gals like Jen that I’ll do that.”
Sophia’s next talented target is set to be Summer Glau at the end of the month. A challenge that she is excited to meet head-on. “Summer is a former Bantam champ with a lot of experience and a lot of talent. I don’t know how things are going to go, but I’m keen for the challenge and I need to keep proving, to myself as much as anyone, that I belong here, and that I deserve a shot at the title. So, going up against fighters like Summer is important. I’ve just got to remain focused and make sure I get through it with a win.”
And after that? Sophia thought hard. “I dunno. There are some extremely tough women in the top 30 and that’s where I’m at now, if not the top 20, depending on how it goes with Summer. So, I know that anyone I face in the near future is going to be a massive challenge and a genuine superstar, but hey, that’s what I’ve got to do. I’m not going to retire wondering. Not now. I’m going to face the best, and win or lose, at least I’ll know I gave it my all.”