BEFORE. Rematch from last year, with both girls on a good winning streak. Browning really effective against veterans like Ledoyen and Halliwell, but also able to stand tall against FCBA names like Panettiere and Hudgens; Ledoyen showing good skills in BBU fight, after the defeat to Emily, but still unable to break through big FCBA fights. Emily at her 11th fight, Virginie at her 96th -striking difference in experience is likely to be mitigated by Browning's explosive behavior. "She is good, I admit it, and she clearly surprised me the first time we fought -says Virginie- but I don't think she has what it takes to beat me twice in a row. Many others have failed on that task, as she will too." Emily clearly excited at the challenge: "Virginie is right -she's a good fighter and it is difficult to give her a back-to-back beatings. But Hayden did it, right? So, thanks for the opportunity Virginie, I'll show you what I'm capable of!" Emily in red sports bra and shorts; Virginie in similar navy blue outfit- it's clear this in not going to be a JMD fight, but both fighters are in great shape. British crowd almost evenly matched between the two -they just want to see a good fight!
R1. Flyweight feast as they start! Both girls quickly approaching each other, trading punches from the medium range and then going on the inside for points. Virginie less at ease on this game, she suffers more punches on target than Emily, but she doesn't give Browning the chance to advance. Fighters stuck at midring, working hard, with Emily taking a slight advantage in the final minute when she intensifies her pace, finding Virginie's head in a couple of occasions with a left/right/right combo.
R2. More Virginie, and more Emily. French veteran able to fight Emily's crazy pace earlier, but gradually giving ground and finding herself with her back against the ropes. Virginie protecting her face well, but outworked on the body -she has to clinch twice to stop Emily's assault.
R3. Ledoyen finally finding her pace with the jab -she keeps Emily away with her right, and punishes her with the left hook when the smaller Australian tries to get closer. Midway through, Virginie tries a right hook to the head, Emily ducks and answers with a right uppercut that finds Virginie's chin! French girl backpedalling, barely defending herself from Emily's attack, and finds herself at the ropes again. Virginie trapped again, but this time manages to get out with a right uppercut instead of clinching. Emily now smiling -she knows she has won the first three rounds.
R4. Ledoyen caught again early -not going down, but knees buckling as Browning punishes her torso with a series of punches. Taller girl more mechanical now, jab not hitting the desired target, but at least able to keep Browning away from her body. Virginie also able to fire hooks to the body occasionally, shutting down Emily in the second half of the round. Browning still ahead on points, but Ledoyen finally able to keep a round even.
R5. Virginie uses her jab more effectively, now successfully stopping Emily's attacks every time the shorter girl tries to get closer. Emily frustrated, even shouting "You're running away, Frenchie! Are you scared?" Ledoyen untouched, guard high, right jab keeping the (relatively sterile) pressure on Emily. Crowd murmuring -Virginie's attitude is not suiting them!
R6. Virginie stays on the outside again, avoiding punches from Emily but barely touching the blonde too. Finally, Emily manages to duck and break on the inside -crowd roaring as Virginie gets hit on the chest first and on the head next. Ledoyen fights back -right hook tags Emily's body three times in a row, and then a right cross crashes on Emily's chin, surprising the shorter fighter as Ledoyen takes a step back. Browning immediately trying to get back at Virginie, but Ledoyen is able to keep her at distance again. Round almost even, but the late surge from Ledoyen has probably gotten her noticed.
R7. Virginie finally turns her right jab into an attacking weapon! Browning clearly uncomfortable with the rangy arms of the French veteran, she tries to protect her head but Virginie manages to get on it in at least three occasions occasions. Ledoyen not doing anything fancy here -crowd murmuring even more, now cheering on Emily- but she's effective at shutting down her dangerous opponent. Browning trying to brawl late, but Ledoyen's left/right combo sends her staggering backwards.
R8. Virginie gets confidence from the previous round, jab still peppering Emily. Virginie pauses for a moment, with Emily marching forward AND EMILY GETS HIT! Virginie's right hook finds Emily's skull, then her left cross blasts through Browning's mitts to find her chin AND EMILY IS DOWN! Browning's legs buckling as the small Aussie lands with her butt on the mat, giving a small cry of surprise. Surprise rather than pain -Emily is quick to get up and she seems unaffected by the knockdown, dancing on her feet, faking a right to Virginie and SHE GETS CAUGHT AGAIN! Virginie stuns Emily with a right uppercut, then follows up with a series of punches to the head. Emily tries to cover, but she's sent towards the ropes, where she gives Virginie short, strong uppercut to the chest. Virginie letting go a series of 'ouch!', in pain, but she gets her left hook ready to hit Emily AND HERE COMES THE RIGHT CROSS! Emily flops on the mat, hitting her knees first, face that splashes on the ropes. Browning finds the ropes with her gloves, uses them to pull herself up at eight, but she's a beaten beauty now. Virginie goes for the finishing, trying to find the right opening in Emily's guard; Emily butt on the ropes, but arms and elbows firmly protecting her head and chest. Bell sounds and Virginie stomps her foot on the mat in disbelief and frustration- big round for her, but she just couldn't get Emily down for good.
R9. Browning tired, Ledoyen getting some oxygen after the previous round assault -first minute goes by without any particular activity from the two fighters. But then, it's Ledoyen again. Quick right hooks, then she steps back to unleash a big swing. Emily touched hard, almost freezes with Ledoyen that goes for a right cross but she misses! Browining still has the focus to duck Ledoyen's blow, then to hit her chest with a right uppercut. Not much damage here, but enough to tell Virginie she's still responsive. Taller girl enraged -she pushes Emily to the ropes, pummels her body there, but her punches do not find the right opening to send the young Aussie down!
R10. Ledoyen now slow to get off her stool, Browning tired but apparently more responsive. Virginie jabbing, but her hook does not find Emily anymore. Veteran slowing down significantly now, puffing, legs almost shot. Browning notices it, gets closer and starts pouring on Virginie! Ledoyen covers her head, trying to resist enough to end the round AND HERE IT COMES EMILY'S RIGHT CROSS! Virginie hit hard, she steps backwards, desperately trying to stay on her feet. French veteran eventually finds the ropes, and she almost sits there, covering again as Emily unleashes her power. Ledoyen finally manages to land a couple of good hooks on Browining's head; Emily in charge, but she is tired too and her power is not the same of the early rounds. Finally, the bell sounds, with Browning now pouring on an almost unresponsive Virginie Ledoyen -ref has to pull her away from her battered French prey! Virginie sobbing, barely able to get to her corner, but angry at Emily for the late punches; Emily shouting "Ten more seconds and she would have gone out! Ten more seconds!!!" Both girls confident to have won the fight now, with Emily more vocal while Virginie tries to recover from the late beating. Comes back, close majority decision (94-93, 94-92, 93-93) for the winner Virginie Ledoyen!
AFTER. Browning outraged -all she remembers is Virginie in trouble early and the last round with Virginie helpless against the ropes. "Come on, I dominated her. Look at the first three rounds! And the fight should have been stopped in the last round, no doubt, she was unresponsive! I have just been robbed of a victory, simple truth! Ridiculous!" Ledoyen crying tears of joy, she manages to get an important victory against a very dangerous opponent: "Emily is delirious -I wore her down, then I dominated her in the seventh, eighth, and ninth rounds; I even sent her down twice in the eight! She thought she would have had an easy task against me, but she was wrong!" Bold statements from both sides, as expected from two proud fighters. Fight turned out to be somehow less explosive than one could have expected, and probably this helped Virginie to achieve her victory. Emily crestfallen, but she did well -Virginie's experience ultimately proved to be the key in this particular instance.
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