Good morning and welcome to the latest article of Laying Down Leather, where I put down my thoughts related to many sports and arts covered on the site.
This week I covered Pancrase and RIZIN for the site. I didn’t get the chance to cover the Anthony Joshua versus Andy Ruiz Jr. fight, although I did witness and have some things to say about it. Let’s go through the topics for this week.
This weekend we saw the unpredictable, viral and shocking upset of Anthony Joshua losing to Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York. I didn’t expect that Joshua would lose, and even then, I wouldn’t predict he would lose in something that took so long. Ruiz now holds many of the top Heavyweight boxing championships. He’s one of the three pillars now, with Deontay Wilder (WBC Champion) and Tyson Fury (lineal champion) being the two others. I thought the whole event was great because it showed the unpredictability of boxing. On top of that, this thing went pretty viral. There’s tons of clips, tweets, memes and more that have surpassed the six figure digit of shares online that relate to this. And that’s not something that would happen if this fight went Joshua’s way. The last time I saw this sort of viral sharing from boxing was when Floyd Mayweather beat Tenshin Nasukawa or when Tyson Fury got up in the 12th round against Deontay Wilder.
Let me share my story relating to Anthony Joshua’s fight on Saturday. I was travelling home from work when the fight was happening. I was at the station when a friend texted me that the fight was in the third round. I wasn’t happy that I was missing the fight, but I thought it wasn’t worth the mobile data to watch. It wasn’t the only thing I wasn’t happy about, as I had to wait upwards of 25 minutes for the next bus home. But then I got another notification. It was Ariel Helwani saying “Andy Ruiz just dropped Anthony Joshua in the third round of their fight at MSG. This, seconds after Joshua dropped him. High drama at the Mecca.” Once I saw that, I knew I couldn’t miss out.
I threw caution, caution to pay data overage charges that is, to the wind, and tuned in. I saw the first knockdown and the second one. I started to pace around the bus station. All of the sudden, I didn’t care that a bus wasn’t coming. All that was on my mind was that a -1200 underdog was about to capture world titles. And he did. All of the sudden my thoughts on the way home turned from “what should I order on my pizza when I get home” to “what did I just witness?”
RIZIN 16 was a fun show to watch. It got tiring when a ton of the bouts went to decision, but I still had fun. My favourite bout was of Taiju Shiratori’s kickboxing clinic. My least favourite was Nakamura versus Topnoi Tiger, as it had so much potential but did not deliver. I enjoy these kickboxing oriented shows that RIZIN does every once in a while. If we’re talking purely favourite moments on the show, my two favourites would easily be Jake Heun’s Guardians of the Galaxy themed walkout and Uoi Fullswing’s last-minute victory.
The end of RIZIN has me wanting the trilogy fight between Seo Hee Ham and Ayaka Hamasaki. For the longest time I’ve wanted Seo Hee Ham to collaborate with RIZIN, as she is easily the biggest Atomweight fighter outside of the promotion. Since she was present at the show and incorporated in it’s presentation let’s hope she’ll be seen soon in the ring.
I thought the presentation of the upcoming bouts went well at RIZIN. Yusuke Yachi and Mikuru Asakura (but mostly Mikuru) did a great job hyping their fight. Mikuru’s personality is quite the entertaining one, saying after his Lightweight fight he is not going to be in the Lightweight GP, but instead wants a Featherweight GP and a Saitama Super Arena main event bout (credit to MikeLovesTacosX on Twitter for the translation).
This coming weekend should be a fun one. Equally explosive fighters Marlon Moraes and Henry Cejudo are finally colliding. Along with that fight is also huge match-ups in Valentina Shevchenko versus Jessica Eye and Tony Ferguson versus Donald Cerrone. Those three fights make it a pretty well put together card.
This Week on The Site and Beyond!
This week will be a very busy one for me. Due to many things, I’ll be busy essentially every evening until Friday. But with that being said, I’ll try to get out the usual Produce X 101 article, and I will try to cover UFC 238. I’ve made a hub for MMA articles on the site, with the link being www.jackwannan.com/mma. If you’re interested in the MMA articles, give it a look.