Angrrr Management, The Octagon Club, Kidderminster
March 29th 2008
Report by Hywel Teague
Photos by Jim Page
The Octagon Club, Angrrr Management's most recent event, suffered numerous problems during the run up to the show, including a staggering number of pull-outs and the loss of their main event.
Though dissatisfied with the card they finally management to scrabble together, the organisers delivered a treat with a sizzling middleweight encounter between Chris Rice and Christian Smith.
Both men had a sizeable number of supporters in the crowd, and the arena was filled with cheers for the duration of this ten-minute battle.
Rice had the better of the first round with his unorthodox striking but also wisely taking Smith out of his element with an unexpected takedown.
Smith is a capable kickboxer with a penchant for linear striking, whereas Rice prefers a Chuck Liddell style assault of hooks and looping punches.
It was Rice's right hand that proved troublesome for Smith in the opener, with his left eye rapidly swelling. Rice even scored a late knockdown that stunned his opponent, but couldn't find a finish before the bell.
Smith came back strong in the second, suffering with his eye but bravely pressing forward. He landed a series of strong one-two combinations that snapped Rice's head back and scored the takedown of the night with a lightning-fast belly-to-belly suplex.
Rice squirmed his way from underneath mount, eating punches that opened up cuts across his face, but ended the round on his feet.
The cards would have read one round each had the fight gone the distance, but unfortunately for the fever-pitch crowd the fight could not continue due to Smith's left eye, by now completely shut.
Rice's celebrations were, as expected, muted in the face of such a victory, but his dominance in the first round and efforts in the second will surely leave him to walk away feeling satisfied.
Cage Rage promoter Dave O'Donnell was in attendance, possibly talent scouting, but also checking out the Midlands scene ahead of the Cage Rage 26 event at the NEC in May.
Standing at the cage door to congratulate the fighters, he even suggested they rematch on one of his future events. Whether this plays out remains to be seen but one thing is clear - there remains unfinished business between Rice and Smith.
Supporting the main event was an exciting lightweight match between Harvey Harra and Jay Gilbey. Both are rising prospects on the domestic scene, although Harra has enjoyed some international exposure with a trip to Japan last year as a late replacement on K-1 HERO's.
Gilbey showed no fear of this fact, and took the fight to his opponent from the off. Harra used some sweet footwork to avoid any damage on his feet, all the while peppering Gilbey with kicks and punches.
Gilbey had more success on the ground, attacking for numerous submissions, but in something of a turnaround it was the former kickboxer Harra who scored the tap out when he locked in a rear naked choke in the second round.
The undercard was a mixture of emerging professional talent and semi-professional matches, with two young pros standing out from the crowd with emphatic debuts.
Joseph Duffy made his long-awaited foray into the paid ranks by stopping the experienced veteran Mic Broster.
Though there was a twenty year age difference between the two, the 20-year old Duffy put his mark on proceedings early on with a vicious high kick that dropped Broster and opened a large gash on the forehead.
Broster showed great resilience and awareness in tying Duffy up and using his guard, but Duffy stayed on top and used punches to the head for the first time in his career to further open the cut.
Broster seemed to be growing in confidence from his back, always hunting for an arm or a sweep, but when the referee stopped the fight for the doctor to check the cut at just over two and a half minutes into the first, they called an immediate halt- the cut across Broster's head was easily an inch and a half long, and blood was pouring down his face and into his eyes.
The other youngster making his professional debut was Adam Stanton, who has grown into his new position as a middleweight.
At 22 years old, he was a regular on previous Angrrr Management shows as a semi-pro. He took an easy win over Matt Hedrick of Exeter by slamming him to the mat, mounting him and punching away until scoring a stoppage only 52 seconds into the fight.
Chris Rice def Christian Smith via TKO (injury) 5.00 Rd2
Harvey Harra def Jay Gilbey via Submission (Rear naked choke) 2.50 Rd2
(Semi Pro) Nathan Beer def Alec Mead via Submission (Side choke) 2.14 Rd2
Joseph Duffy def Mic Broster via TKO (Cut) 2.33 Rd1
Adam Stanton def Matt Hedrick via TKO (GnP) 0.52 Rd1
(Semi Pro) Hywel Knight def Ashley James via Submission (Guillotine) 0.58 Rd1
Thomas Kozlowski def John Jones via TKO (GnP) 4.04 Rd1
(Semi Pro) Barry Mairs def Zack Abdullah via TKO (Ref Stoppage) 1.39
(Semi Pro) Chris Debieux def John Dowd via Submission (Side choke) 1.07 rd1
Eugene Fadiora def Neil Huntley via TKO (GnP) 1.55