Fight Report – The Rage at the Myth Nightclub in Maplewood
August 14, 2009
By: Laura Zink
Photos By: SnapLocally.com
Last night at the Myth Nightclub in Maplewood, Minnesota, the Midwest Sports Council treated fans to a stream of quick knockouts followed by a classic to-to-toe, ebb and flow main event. The event completely served its purpose. As a preliminary to the Target Center event on Sept. 26th, many tests the fighters needed to face before stepping onto the big stage this fall (or, for some, into a new level in their careers) were not only faced, but fought, and in many cases, won. Vanda proved that his journey into a heavier weight class will not reduce his quickness or his durability when facing bigger men. Brad Patraw clearly showed that he can take on a more experienced fighter and slug it out in a decisive fashion. Cerresso Fort displayed he is ready for stiffer competition. Jose Hilario revealed that he is ready to follow in his brother’s footsteps. And Bobby Kliewer proved that gym time really changes his game.
In the main event, Matt Vanda (40,9) won a unanimous decision over a much heavier Teddy Muller (19,15,2) in an 8 round (allegedly) super middleweight bout. Vanda, coming off of a controversial decision victory over Tocker Pudwill last spring, was ready to prove that he is able to take on bigger fighters, namely Phil “The Drill” Williams, who he will be facing in September, and potentially Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters later on in the year. Muller, who had only 9 days to prepare for the fight, and is coming off a losing streak, wanted to show Minnesota fight fans…again…that he is still in the game and can take on some of our state’s toughest fighters.
Muller, no stranger to fighting in another man’s hometown, entered into the ring and faced silence, booing, and darkness with the expressionless stoicism of a true professional. He beat a lap or two around the ring as he waited for his competitor, pumping his fist up at the crowd into an air filled only with quiet. As the first riffs of Vanda’s ring music played, the crowd jumped to their feet, hands waving in the air and siren lights electrifing the ring. Donning his Skeletor mask and a red bandana, Vanda charged into the ring looking ready for whatever came at him. His next competitor, Phil Williams looked on from the crowd at ringside ready to see how Vanda would fare with a bigger fighter.
Round 1 began with jabs, resulting in a clinch where Vanda capitalized with a left hook to the body. Muller threw a three punch combination in response, landing 2 and missing the third. Using his size to his advantage, Muller marched Vanda down, getting him on the ropes where he landed hard shots to Vanda’s head and body. Vanda fought his way out and answered with a 1,2 and continued the round by keeping Muller off with jabs. As the round wore on, Vanda began to find an opening for his hooks, landing a right and left to the head and a big left to the body. Muller answered in turn with a jab that missed, one that landed, and a missed overhand right. And though he was missing some of his early shots, Muller cued into Vanda’s timing and landed the next right hand, inciting the crowd to rally behind their hometown hero by screaming “Van-da! Van-da! Van-da!” Unaffected by the fanfare, Muller stunned Vanda with a hook, leading Vanda to answer with a three punch combo that ended the round.
“I really did enjoy the intimacy of this venue,” Muller said after the fight. “There was a lot of heart in this audience. Unfortunately, coming from the outside, not all of the heart was for me.”
In round 2 and 3, Muller began to show an advantage, his slower but more booming power working its way into Vanda’s territory. But as he began to work his size advantage, Muller got hit low and had to take a quick breather in the neutral corner. Looking past the ref and directly at Vanda, Muller nodded his head to let Vanda know there were no hard feelings about the accident, and then quickly waved at Vanda to come back to continue the fight. Vanda went back in and worked his jab, moving Muller to the ropes, which Muller escaped from by catapulting off the ropes and throwing 1,2 with a body shot finish. Muller then walked Vanda down, now getting Vanda on the ropes and forcing him to fight his way out. The exchange left Vanda’s left eye swelling slightly, and Muller honed in on it, peppering the bruise with 1,2’s and accompanying hooks. Now with a keen sense of Vanda’s timing, Muller began to slip and dodge away from his jabs. And after Vanda missed a 1,2, both men went head-to-head, leaning in and resting on each other to trade body shots. Muller, getting red-faced and flushed, clearly expended a lot of his power those two rounds. Yet, as Vanda tried to land a huge right hand at the end of the round, Muller slipped it, leaving it to catch nothing but air.
In round 4, Muller was clearly getting tired, and Vanda began to take over the rounds, but not without taking some punishment for it from Muller. Vanda landed a quick three punch combo that hurt Muller, but Muller answered by making Vanda eat some shots of his own. Then, Vanda threw a jab, which flipped Muller’s head back, causing Muller to pause and smile as if to say, “Ahh, you caught me. Smart move.” The crowd, however, had a less sportsman-like reaction to Muller’s good humor, one member screaming “Take his f*$k-ing head off Van-da!” Muller, not about to be taken down by Vanda or that overzealous fan, tossed out straight shots and hooks to fight off Vanda’s growing number of advances. By the end of the round his head was clearly not taken off.
“I was landing my good share of punches,” Muller said after the bout, “And not to take anything away from Matt, he did everything he was supposed to do, but my lack of ability to train 6 weeks for this fight came into play. I started cramping up a little in the shoulders in the fourth round. I feel like I just couldn’t get off like I would have wanted to. But Matt kept pressing the issue…and he made me fight.”
In round 5, Vanda did keep Muller busy as he began to land more and Muller landed less. Vanda took advantage of Muller’s slowing down by using his quickness and picking up the power in his combinations. Though Muller was throwing and landing less, when he landed, he still landed hard. Muller threw another 1,2 from the ropes, which Vanda answered with a big left hook to the body and head. This caused Muller to smile again at Vanda, and Vanda can’t help but to smile, too. After this display not only of enjoyment, but mutual respect, they went back into the fray, Vanda landing an uppercut, which Muller makes him pay for in body shots.
In round 6, Vanda began with jabs which set up a big hook to the body. Muller went profile and got into the Philly Shell to try to keep Vanda off with jabs. Vanda got past the new stance and landed two shots to the head and two to the body. Muller answered with a powerful jab to Vanda’s face, to which Vanda dropped his arms and hopped back and forth a bit to shake it off. Clearly happy to match a man who never stopped answering his advances, Vanda smiled again, and Muller returned it. Then, they went at it again, Vanda digging in and landing a head/body combo on Muller that brought the crowd to its feet. Muller, red-faced and jabbing Vanda off, moves Vanda onto the ropes where they both trade slow, hard shots to the body. But then the exchanges subsided for a spell as Muller used his jab and caused Vanda some trouble getting in. But soon enough, Vanda found his way in, and Muller made him pay for it with a body onslaught towards rounds end.
In the 7th round, Vanda began to get Muller on the ropes more and punish him to the body. Muller, clearly tired at this point, continued to exchange, but with slower, yet hard shots. As Muller slowed down and Vanda picked up steam, Vanda finally drew blood. He smashed Muller’s nose with a jab that snapped his head back, and finished the round with a series of hooks to the head and body when Muller was on the ropes.
“At the end of the eighth round we had to turn it up a little bit,” Muller said, “and I think the crowd got a little kick out of that.”
Then, something rather amazing happened at the bell that hailed in the 8th and final round. Vanda, unable to contain himself over the durability, spirit, and sheer sportsmanship of his challenger, trekked across the ring as Muller stood in his corner waiting for the bell. With a huge smile on his face, Vanda embraced Muller as the bell rang.
“Myself,” Vanda said after the bout, “especially when it is such a close fight, I want to give him a hug because, sh*t, we’ve been fighting our ass off for seven rounds. Why not hug him…and still try to knock him out? He’s trying to knock me out. That’s what fighters do. And after the fight? We love each other.”
After the love, Ref Nelson, separated them so he could call them together in accordance to the standard rules. Both men smiling and ready to bring it on, they started the round with a classic jab war, each throwing everything that they had into every shot. Vanda threw a huge left hook to Muller’s body. With Vanda landing more than ever, Muller got backed into the ropes and sprang off them to land a left hook to Vanda’s head. Vanda answered with another big left hook and another left which wobbled Muller sending him back to the ropes where Vanda finally got to land punches at will. After taking a multitude of shots to the head and body, Muller fights his way off the ropes with 10 seconds left in the round. And in the final finish, Muller throws straight shots to the head, but Vanda lands the final right hand just as the last bell rung. The crowd leaps to their feet and cheers for both fighters. The judges called the fight 79-74, 80-72, and 80-72 for a unanimous decision victory for Vanda.
“I love Vanda and his fans,” Muller reflected about the bout, “He’s a great guy. I would actually consider him my friend. His fans are very passionate, and I would consider them my friends, too. We had a great fight. There is a mutual respect. Him and I are in the same game. Matt Vanda and I are both warriors. I enjoyed fighting Vanda more than anybody I have ever fought in Minnesota.”
“He’s a tough motherf@*!er,” Vanda commented about Muller during an after-party upstairs at the Myth. “He came in on short notice, and I give him all the credit in the world because it is tough to do that. It was fun. I had a good time in there. I’m just glad I didn’t get hurt. He’s a great man. That’s why we are having a beer together right now!”
In the co-main event, “Bad” Brad Patraw (5,0) defeated Javier “El Bombitas” Segura (4,16) with a 4th round TKO. 22 year old Patraw was coming off of a somewhat unsatisfying decision victory over Antwan Robinson last March, and was looking to prove that he could mix it up with a more aggressive and experienced fighter. 35 year old Segura, who is coming off a 7 bout losing streak, was looking to prove that age and experience can beat youth and a pretty record.
Patraw came out with guns blazing in round one, feeling Segura out with combinations as opposed to jabs. He clearly wobbled Segura with multiple hooks to the head, (three lefts in a row in fact), which left Segura red-faced by the end of round 1. Patraw’s onslaught continued in round 2 where he used right uppercut leads to unleash an ever growing number of hooks to the head and body. Both fighters went on a head hunt at the end of the round, Segura even throwing a few after the bell, but Patraw throwing the last punch to let Segura know he couldn’t pull moves like that on him. In round 3, Patraw worked the body more, and Segura tried to keep him moving by walking him down to try to control the pace. This tactic helped him land some straight head shots and a solid left to the body, but Patraw answered by landing a big left to the head, and 3 fast rights to the head, body, and then the head again. In round 4, Segura tried to aggress Patraw to keep him from setting up another combo. Keeping Patraw on the move, Segura was able to land and get Patraw on the ropes where he landed slow shots to the head and body. But Patraw quickly fought his way out and began another series of combos, leading to a right hand that sent Segura’s mouth guard flying out as Patraw tried to finish the exchange, but was stopped by the ref. The crowd responded with a chorus of boos, and caused trainer Johnny Johnson to scream from the corner:
“WAIT TIL THE ACTION STOPS! THIS AIN’T THE AMATEURS!”
The break up gave Segura the opportunity to restart the action with some body shots that got Patraw into the corner, but it didn’t take long for Patraw to slip out and get back in charge of the action. Just moments after getting out of harm’s way, Patraw landed a huge left hook that jarred Segura, and then cleaned-up with a quick combination that sent Segura back and caused the ref to call the fight in 2:47 seconds of the fourth round.
But before the main event and the co-main event, none of the bouts even made it past round 1. Cerresso Fort (6,0), who was supposed to fight Ray Walker (1,6), knocked out his replacement Yancy Cueller (0,5) in 56 seconds after a horrific liver shot, which Cueller confessed after the bout, had him tasting bile and blood.
“I just took this match a couple of days ago,” Cueller commented after the bout. “At first I didn’t want to take it. Not that I’m afraid or anything, but it’s just that he’s at a different level than me. The experience to get in there with him was good, but…he’s just a good fighter. A good, elite fighter. At least I can say that I fought him. It takes guts to get in there with the best.”
St. Louis Park’s Jose Hilario (pro debut), who was supposed to fight Hector Orosco (1,2) knocked out Jon Swamberg (pro debut) in exactly 1 minute with a hook to the body which sent Swamberg to his knees, pressing his forehead against the canvas trying to brace himself against the pain.
And St. Paul’s Bobby “Sweet Dreams” Kliewer (9,8,2) stopped Maplewood’s John Turner (3,11,1) with a huge uppercut that caused the ref to call the bout at 2.32 second in round one.
But to kick off the night and to give the fight fans another little taste of things to come on September 26th at the Target Center, Derek Winston performed a 4 round exhibition against another fighter on that upcoming card, “Little Superman” Antwan Robertson (4,1,1). Winston clearly showed a speed and precision that will surely make his match-up against Tim Watts (0,4) at the Target Center a debut not to miss. And after the performances that night by Vanda, Fort, and Cueller (who among others will also be appearing on the card), it seems that the fight card MSC is building for September 26th is developing into an entire night of truly exciting fights.
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