MYANMAR’S Tway Ma Shaung, the current Golded Belt champion, crushed his opponent, Australia’s Brian Harris and European Muay Thai Champion, flooring him a total of three times in only two rounds for the Myanmar-Australia Challenge Fight on November 6 at Yangon’s Thein Phyu Hall.
During the first day of the competition, on November 5, Tway Ma Shaung notably watched the fights between Yan Gyi Aung and Bridon Harris, the older brother of Brian, as well as the women’s fight between Nilar Kyaw and Irin Nota in preparation for his title fight.
Although Tway Ma Shaung was among the spectators to observe Bridon’s boxing style, he learned more from the fight between Nilar Kyaw and Irin Nota.
The much-anticipated fights lived up to their billing, keeping the spectators gripped. The audience jumped and screamed wildly at each successful blow by a boxer. The hysteria gripping both Myanmar fans as well as foreign spectators in the hall.
In the first of the two matches on November 5, neither fighter could force the other down in the five rounds, having to settle for a shared win. But in the second fight, Nilar Kyaw lost out to her Australian opponent as the judges decided to stop the match in round two, giving Irin Nota the win.
Emotions were raw from the start as the fighters geared up for combat by performing a show dance before the fight, a ritual common in Myanmar traditional boxing. Yan Gyi Aung riled his opponent by mocking him for his dance, the catalyst for a messy fight.
In the first round, the boxers entangled and fell from the ring, leaving Yan Gyi Aung with an injury to his head. With his blood spraying both fighters in the melee, the match truly lived up to its name as a blood sport.
In the early rounds, Yan Gyi Aung smashed in the occasional kick, one of which knocked Bridon to the ground.
But Bridon seemed to get smarter as the fight went on, and landed several knocks on Yan Gyi Aung.
By the fourth round, both fighters were getting in successful blows, matching hit with hit to produce the stalemate.
In the following match between Nilar Kyaw and Irin Nota, the much smaller Nilar Kyaw was forced to depend on her fists over the size difference. She was also reported to be fighting with a leg injury, whereas the longer limbed Irin Nota bombarded Nilar with jabs and knee-hits which prevented Nilar from jumping forward.
Judging their assaults as unequal, the panel brought the fight to an early death, handing the match to Irin Nota.
After the first day’s excitement, the following day’s title billing was eagerly anticipated.
The far taller Brian Harris launched into a flurry of jabs and kicks forcing Tway Ma Shaung to defend solidly. He barely moved forward in the initial exchanges, raising thoughts of another mismatch.
But the tide shifted as Tway Ma Shaung snuck in a devastating jab to Brian’s stomach, making the most of his shorter but solid frame to get in under the longer reach of his opponent. Pushing the tactic, he floored the Australian three times in the second round who had to drag himself to his feet, only to face more punishment.
The ruling that three knock-downs in a single round led to an automatic loss brought the curtain down early on the blistering match.
Tway Ma Shaung had learned his lesson from the previous day, taking in the height factor between the two country’s fighters and set out to capitalise on his strengths to devastating effect.
The tournament’s supporting matches were no disappointment either. Among the bouts on November 5, Khun Kyaw Htet prevailed over Hlai Htet Pyar whith the panel forced to stop the match in the fourth round as Hlai Htet Pyar could do no more than retreat under a battering.
While Lhit Lhit Lay received a gash to his forehead in the fight with Ye Kyaw Thu, and the doctor judging him not fit to continue.
But it was the fight between the renowned Lone Chaw and Tun Tun for which the Myanmar fans were eagerly awaiting, aside from Myanmar-Australia bouts. The fight was filled with expert boxing techniques and clever tricks as the two fighters matched each other for skill. Lone Chaw exploited waving jabs while Tun Tun depended on his elbows. In the end, both shared the victory.