Fight Night at Airlie Beach

Fight night in Airlie Beach

I have had the pleasure to meet another great Findacrew gal, Kristen. She is a local highly trained dive instructor and responded to me posting looking for a dive buddy. She had another big surprise, she is a master of martial arts and was about to enter her first boxing match. Kristen had been intensely training for over 6 hours a day in preparation for her bout.

I arrived at the event early and met the promoter’s assistant, Louie. After I told him of my travels and writing he invited me to join the press section allowing me ringside access. It was a thrill to be able to see the fights from such a perspective although my old knees did not like the kneeling position I took to get the good shots.

I watched Kristen case out the ring before the fights started, she barely noticed me in the empty bleachers as she seemed to be counting the paces around the ring. This was not the face of the quiet rather shy gal who had come to Furthur two nights before for dinner, this was the face of a warrior.

The preliminary bouts were exciting, one featured two young boys who put up quite a battle and ended in a draw. The sportsmanship exhibited by the lads was inspiring as the both took home trophies.

The feature bout came up and the packed to the rafters crowd cheered exuberantly. This was the first female match in this arena and it seemed to draw allot of attention.

Kristen’s opponent entered the ring with a large entourage and clearly had local support. She was a much taller girl and also ready to rumble. Kristen entered the ring with poise and chilling confidence and both boxers took their corners.

Round 1 started after the traditional “ring girl” displayed the banner. This was a three, two minute round bout. Kristen was the clear aggressor as she charged her taller opponent delivering sharp jab after another. She backed the other boxer around the ring as they exchanged jabs. As the ring ended I was sure she had won round 1.

Round 2 found both boxers looking for the big blow and towards the end of the round Kristen received a sharp jab to the head that caught her off balance and she went down. The crowd went wild and the count started but Kristen sprang to her feet a bit dazed but clearly ready to retaliate. The ringmaster made sure she was OK and signaled for the fight to continue. After a few exchanges the round ended.

Round 3 started and both boxers showed fatigue but kept up the battle. Kristen just could not get the aggression she displayed in the first round. The two slugged it out with no apparent winner. The crowd roared in anticipation of the judge’s decision as the ringmaster raised the hand of Kristen’s opponent, the winner. I could see the disappointment on Kristen’s face but it did not hinder her great sportsmanship as she hugged her opponent. Both girls had given it their all. I received a text later that night from Kristen thanking me for my support and insuring me that she would continue to train harder and win the next one. I hear a rematch is in the works.

Kristen will be joining us today for a 5 day dive trip to the outer reefs. No worries of sharks with this gal along, she will just knock them out.

Again I have been blessed with meeting extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. If you open your boat, mind and heart there is no limit to what will appear.