Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall – Joe Briggs, pre-fight.

© Copyright – 2015 – Victoria Sports News

The fight card dubbed “Border Wars” took place Friday, November 13th at Pearkes Recreation Centre’s field house to a near sellout crowd. The schedule included six kickboxing and one boxing match. For the America versus Canada battle, Canada had the edge in fights with three wins and two losses; however, the Americans won the two biggest bouts on the night.

It was an exciting evening of kickboxing complemented with a backdrop of dancers who performed between each round, entertaining the crowd to the sounds of a live DJ. The ring announcer was Ken “the Hurricane” Himes who peppered the audience with non-stop jokes, tributes and anecdotes. He was dressed in a flashy blue vertically striped suite with bow-tie. Before the events started he asked the audience to observe a 10-second moment of silence for Paris, France, who earlier in the day suffered multiple terrorist attacks.

The fight that was to see Victoria’s Suraj Bangarh take on Ireland’s Carl Hand for the ISKA World Super Lightweight title was called off, due to the Irishman suffering an injury during training.

The first bout of the night got underway at 7:31 PM and featured two Victoria-based boxers in James Macleod representing Island MMA who was up against Merge Combat’s  Vincent Didier in a three, two-minute-round boxing match. The two combatants had three evenly matched rounds, with a slight edge to McLeod in round two and rounds one and three could have gone either way. A split decision was awarded to Vincent.

Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall – Stan Peterec, coaching between rounds

The two fought in the 155-pound super welterweight division. MacLeod entered the fight with two wins in his first two fights, while Vincent started the evening with a record of two and one.

The second fight on the evening (as with the remainder of the schedule) featured kickboxing. Victoria, BC native Jeff Larocque of Martial Arts Unlimited took on Sandeep Sahota of Dragon’s Den Kickboxing club of Surrey. Both entered the fight with a record of two wins and no losses. They were fighting in the 170-pound super middleweight division.

The first round was uneventful as the two combatants appeared to be testing each other out, however, Larocque connected with a low kick, which Sahota needed a short break to recover from. In the second and third rounds Larocque had a slight edge. His dominance escalated in the late stages of the fight as Sahota began to fatigue and drop his hands. Larocque sent Sahota to the canvas, at that time referee Mark Pennington called the fight giving Larocque the win by technical knockout.

Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall – Chase Ingalls, pre-fight.

The Team Canada versus Team USA kickboxing battle began in earnest with the third fight of the night as Brendon Ross of Martial Arts Unlimited (2W-0L) was challenged by Tacoma, WA resident Salem Njoku, who was representing South Sound Martial Arts. The two brought identical records into the ring. Fighting at the 160-pound, middleweight division the two combatants squared off in fairly aggressive fashion.

The first two rounds appeared to marginally favour Ross, who connected often with his right foot and appeared to score points with both hands. He also demonstrated better fitness as the rounds war on and ended up winning by technical knockout at 1:55 into the third.

In a lightweight (135-pound) match-up, Victoria’s Tim Packer of Peterec’s Martial Arts Centre, entered the ring with a record of 5W and 2L, he was up against Brandon Beck of PDX Muay Thai of Portland, Oregon.

Packer, won by TKO after his relentless assault with spinning back-fists, spinning back-kicks as well as connecting with several right hands. If the fight wasn’t called after two rounds, Packer would have won by an overwhelming number of points. He finished with a spinning back-kick to the chin of Beck. It was credit to Beck that he withstood the onslaught of blows and wasn’t knocked out.

Lars Larson of Victoria Martial Arts fought Garrett Jeppesen of Las Vegas in a super middleweight fight. Both combatants entered the ring with three fights to their credit; Larson was a perfect 3W and 0L, while Jeppesen had one loss to his record.

Larson overwhelmed Jeppesen from the first bell until 1:22 of the second round where he won by TKO.

Canada was 3-0 and up next was Marco Caffiero of Peterec’s (4W-1L) who took on Tacoma’s Joe Briggs (7W-4L). They were fighting in the light cruiserweight division (180 pounds) in a four-round match. All earlier fights were scheduled for three rounds.

The fighters exchanged several combinations early on. Caffiero came very close to knocking out Briggs with a spinning back-kick in the first round, Briggs was lucky to escape unscathed.

The fight saw a slight edge by Briggs throughout. He was the aggressor, even though both fighters appeared to otherwise be evenly matched. The unanimous decision went to Briggs, giving the Americans their first win of the night, after three consecutive wins by Canada.

The main event featured Chase Ingalls of Pure Self Defense in Campbell River who was up against Omari Boyd of Sidthilaw Muay Thai of Nashville, TN in a five round fight. Ingalls brought a perfect record of 20W and 0L to the fight, while Boyd entered with a record of 38W and 3L.

All five rounds appeared to go to Boyd, who connected repeatedly with right kicks to the mid-section and flurries of combinations. Although Boyd had the edge throughout, Ingalls appeared to have equal skill; fitness may have been the primary difference. Ingalls did connect with a few right hands; however, his form was wavering late in each round. The unanimous decision went to Boyd.

Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall – Ring Announcer, Ken “the Hurricane” Himes.

After the fight Ingalls told Victoria Sports News, “Regardless of how the fight went tonight, I love the sport and will be back at it again.” Ingalls expects to turn pro, going-forward.

Shortly after the fight ended, Boyd commended Ingalls on his effort and said, “He is a real man, a real fighter. He did not back down and stood up to me through the whole fight.”

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