Nakamoto defeats Kitchen in WCK Champion of Champions World Title fight

Miriam Nakamoto (L) defeated Julie Kitchen (R) via unanimous decision in Saturday evening’s Main Event at the Pala Casino and Resort in Pala, CA. Photo: Jim Wyatt

On Saturday night, San Diego sports fans were forced to choose between three very hot tickets – Muay Thai at the Pala Casino, MMA at the Sports Arena or the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.

At the Q, the Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw two interceptions, but the Chargers still found a way to win 28-20 in a shootout with Tony Romo and the Cowboys.

If you’re the type who likes your excitement over and done in the blink of an eye, the MMA event would have served your purpose.
At the Sports Arena in Point Loma, Strikeforce bantamweight champion Rhonda Rousey kept her unbeaten streak alive by getting Sarah Kaufman to submit via an Armbar in less than a minute.

Rhonda Rousey applies her patented Armbar to her latest victim Sarah Kaufman at the Sports Arena on Saturday night.

Ms. Rousey is proficient in Judo and Jiu Jitsu and apparently her opponents aren’t. That would be nine Armbar finishes in nine mixed martial arts fights for the former Olympic bronze medalist in Judo. Of these nine victories, eight came inside the first minute of the bout.
On the undercard of the Rousey vs. Kaufmann bout, Tarec Saffiedine of Team Quest, Temecula defeated Roger Bowling and ironically, Miesha Tate ironically defeated Julie Kedzie by Armbar.

Miesha Tate applies the Armbar to her opponent, Julie Kedzie, on Saturday night, August 18, 2012 at the Sports Arena in Point Loma, S. D., CA.

When you add boxing gloves and eliminate the choke holds and stretching of ligaments, you’re going to have a more tried and true test of one’s superiority over another fighter.

This reporter decided on going to the WCK Champion of Champions event at the Pala Casino & Resort just north of San Diego in Pala, CA and here’s why:

Kru Ruben Rowell (R) waits with his fighter Andrew Gabriel in the dressing area prior to the start of Bout #1 in the WCK Champion of Champions Muythai Show at the Pala Casino and Resort in Pala, Ca. Saturday, August 18, 2012.

Bout #1 was a three round IAMTF California Super Welterweight bout between Andre Alvarado and Andrew Gabriel of the Extreme Power Gym in Oceanside, CA. Gabriel looked spectacular in this one, kicking and striking his way to an unanimous decision victory.

After his hard fought victory over Ernie Gutierrez, Dave Pacheco (C) is surrounded by well wishers. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #2 was a four round IAMTF California Super Middleweight Title bout between USKO’s Dave Pacheco and Ernie Gutierrez of Team Valdez.

After dominating Gutierrez in round one, Pacheco found himself in one hotly contested exchange after another. At one point a high kick to his head followed by an overhand right had the Pacheco backers worried. In the end, it was the accumulation of scoring blows that gave the younger Pacheco his unanimous decision victory.

In Bout #3, Chris Culley got the win over Raul Rodriguez (L).

Bout #3 was the first of two qualifying bouts for this year’s WKN Belarus Big 8 North American Welterweight Qualifier Tournament, a show to be held sometime in November of this year.

In this one, the veteran Raul Rodriguez from Bakersfield, CA (10-0) was expected to have no problem defeating the up and comer Chris Culley from the Bullet Hole Gym in Barstow, CA. After all, the rather lanky framed Culley was making his pro debut.

In Round one, everything seemed to be going as forecast. Rodriguez’s hard kicks and strikes had Culley backing up. Then, as the fight progressed, surprise, surprise, so did Culley’s confidence. Soon, his kicks and counter punching were reaching their target. In the end, the bigger, tough guy went down to defeat by the upstart who proved to be quicker and had more stamina.

Bout #4 winner Artem Sharoshkin is joined by his sister Irena Boostani and three of the coaches from his gym after his victory over the very tough Joe Davidson. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #4

The second qualifying bout of the Big 8 North American Welterweight Qualifier Tournament featured Joe Davidson (4-2, 2 KOs) going up against Artem Sharoshkin (2-1-1).

The entire fight was scary good with every known kick and every known punch being employed. The only thing you could hang your hat on was the fact that Sharoshkin was the better striker and Davidson the better kicker. It was up to the three judges to show their preference and they went with the puncher, Sharoshkin. All three judges scored the bout 29-28 for Sharoshkin in this closest of decisions.

After the scores were read, referee Jose Cobian raises the arm of the victorious Gabriella Carrillo. Photo: Jim Wyatt

At the end of their battle, the crowd gives Marie Choi (L) and Gabriella Carrillo, the participants in Bout #5, a hand for their outstanding performance. Photos: Jim Wyatt

Bout #5

A three round IAMTF Female Flyweight bout featured Marie “The Angry Korean” Choi (4-1-1) from Irvine, CA being challenged by the much shorter Gabriella Carrillo of Tecate, B. C., Mexico.

Despite their noticeable size difference, Carrillo won this match by being the quicker and more accurate striker and kicker. The way Choi fought, you had to figure she’s been moonlighting in the world of MMA. Each time she grabbed or clinched Carrillo, her only tactic appeared to be an immediate throw-down of the smaller lady which often had Carrillo’s head landing first.

After his injury in Bout #6, referee George Valdez had the fight doctor look at Miguel Cosio forehead. Photo: Jim Wyatt

The participants in Bout #6, Miguel Cosio (R) and Mike Le Maire (L) await the official decision to stop the bout and award LeMaire the TKO victory on the advice of the Ring Doctor. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #6 featured a four round WCK Muaythai Cruiserweight bout between Mike LeMaire of the Art of Eight Gym in Kearny Mesa and Miguel Cosio of Team Warriors Muay Thai.

This was another bout with a lot of punishment being dealt   out right from the opening bell. After an even first round, LeMaire came at Cosio like a man possessed. One of his punches opened a nasty cut on Cosio’s forehead. It was serious enough to have the ring doctor come forward and stop the bout.

These two fighters, Lealani Vanderleest (L) and Lena Ovchynnikova (R) left it all in the ring. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #7 was a four round WCK Muaythai Women’s International Super Bantamweight bout between Lena “Hunter” Ovchynnikova (8-2-0), from Lviv, Ukraine and Kealani “The Hawaiian Punch” Vanderleest a late substitute who lives and trains locally. Her gym of record is the 858 Fight Shop on Miramar Road and her coach is Doug Dickey.

Ovchynnikova was scheduled to meet Emily Bearden (16-6-0) from New York City for the International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) World Super Bantamweight title but Bearden was injured in training.

This was a classic lefty versus righty fight and as it pertains to eating leather, both dished out a lot of punishment with many shots to the head. Despite being a virtual novice to the sport, Vanderleest, coming out of the local WCK Amateur ranks, did very well and at times held the upper-hand. Even after fatigue settled in, neither fighter let up.

Artem Sharoshkin has his arm raised in after knocking out Chris Culley in the second round of the finals of the North American Welterweight Qualifier Tournament. Photo: J. Wyatt

Bout #8

Three round Big 8 North American Welterweight Qualifier Tournament final between Chris Culley and Artem Sharoshkin the winners of the earlier bouts where Sharoshkin defeated Davidson and Culley defeated Rodriguez.

Like in his first fight, Culley was evasive in the opening round and circled about with Sharoshkin in hot pursuit. By the second round, Sharoshkin was able to cut off the ring and start connecting. Then came the home run punch that sent Culley to the canvas. When trying to get back up, it was clear he was on rubbery legs and didn’t know which way was up. So, it’s on to the finals for Sharoshkin.

One of the most exciting matches you’ll ever see, had Tiffany Van Soest (in the green top) doing battle with Jemyma Betrian of The Netherlands. Photos: Jim Wyatt

Bout #9 was a five round IKKC Muaythai Women’s World Super Bantamweight Title bout between Tiffany VanSoest (8-1) of San Diego who trains at the Black House Team Nogueira Gym and Jemyma “Golden Girl” Betrian (13-2) of Netherlands.

This was another match that had everyone on the edge of their seats, tied up in knots. In Betrian’s corner was her crew which included her husband with an infant in a stroller.

On the other side of the ring was Van Soest’s crew, with Kru Alex Palma and a good size crew from the Black House Team Nogueira fight team.

Deep down, both fighters and their corners knew the importance of this match. The winner would be the new IKKC Muythai Super Bantamweight World Champion and both had been training intently for over two months.

In scoring the bout, rounds #1 and #3 were simply too close to call. The momentum swings went back and forth faster than a ticking clock. Betrian held an edge as far as number of punches thrown to the head in both rounds #2 and #4 while Van Soest held the edge in overall power shots, hammer fists, kicks, elbows and these quick lunging attacks that had Betrian falling back into the ropes. The most noticeable advantage came from the extra points being awarded to Van Soest for a knockdown and a point deduction to Betrian for hitting Van Soest behind the head after an earlier warning. With these points being awarded, Van Soest should have won the match. As it turns out, the judges were split with one judge favoring Van Soest, the other Betrian and the third calling it a draw.

After hearing the judges’ scores which made their contest a majority draw, the crowd booed and most observers at ringside looked around with puzzled looks on their faces.

The kick to the head by Dave Nielsen sent Ryan Madigan to the canvas. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Unable to get back on his feet before the ten count, Ryan Madigan was counted out by referee Jose Cobian.

In Bout #10, it was ruled Dave Nielsen defeated Ryan Madigan by KO in the second round. Throughout the first round, it appeared Madigan had Nielsen in trouble but then in the second round, Nielsen swept Madigan and as he tried to get back to his feet, he landed a solid kick to his head. Some observers felt Madigan should have been considered down and the kick would then be ruled illegal – hitting an opponent while they are down. In the above photo, Madigan is pleading his case with one of the officials. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #10 was to be a five round WBC Muaythai United States Cruiserweight Title bout between Dave Nielsen (13-1-7 KOs), the 38 year-old owner/operator/chief instructor of American Boxing in Pacific Beach and the 35 year old former UFC and WCL veteran, Ryan “The Lion” Madigan. Madigan is the current IKF East Coast Middleweight Champion. He fights out of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and has a professional Muay Thai record of 28 wins and 6 losses.

So, the stage was set for a great match. In the first round, Madigan resembled a UFC fighter and immediately tried to pound Nielsen with some H-bombs. Despite getting hit by some powerful shots to the head, Nielsen appeared to be as nonchalant as you can get, cool as a cucumber.

As they entered the second round, Madigan was quite confident the match was already in the win column. That’s when Nielsen saw his opening and POW! down went Madigan. Treating the knockdown as if it were just a slip or at the worst a flash knockdown, Madigan immediately tried to get back up. At this point, Nielsen flew passed with a kick that returned Madigan to the floor.

As a result, Madigan could not beat the 10 count and Nielsen was awarded the knockout victory. With the use of a video monitor, the referee and one judge looked at the tape of the first knockdown to aid them in their ruling. The earlier ruling was not over turned and up went Nielsen’s arm.

The statuesque Julie Kitchen makes her long walk to the ring with her husband and fellow coaches in tow. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #11, the Main Event, featured a five round WCK Champion of Champions Women’s World Title fight between Miriam Nakamoto and Julie Kitchen. Kitchen, 44-8, of Cornwall, England, was going after her unprecedented 15th World Title against the undefeated WBC & WMC World Champ Nakamoto, 14-0, of Dublin, CA. The best American female fighter known as “the Queen of Mean” versus the U. K.’s Kitchen, dubbed “The Queen of Muaythai” for her many titles and classic fighting style.

Round #1 began this war, a war using elbows, knees, legs and fists going nonstop. The oohs and aahs from the crowd became part of the Pala Event Center’s ambiance.

Fight Doctor looks at both Miriam Nakamoto’s nose plus a cut that is streaming blood from around the left hairline. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Three-quarters of the way through the second round, referee Jose Cobian stopped the bout after noticing Nakamoto’s nose was either broken or just bleeding. After the ring doctor looked her over, he gave his thumbs up and of course the crowd cheered.

Given this reprieve, Nakamoto came even harder. Her elbows and punches to the head had Kitchen’s neck snapping back like a speed bag. As far as the scoring, Nakamoto had begun to dominate and in the end the three judges awarded Nakamoto an unanimous decision victory.

As the fighters stood there in the center of the ring awaiting the announcement of the judges’ scores, Kitchen put her left hand up as if it were a foregone conclusion that she had won. Nakamoto had a different take on the matter. She didn’t look right or left, just straight ahead.

After the announcement that she had won, the Pala Marketing Director, show’s promoter, etc. came rushing to her side.  They most likely asked, “Has it sunk in? You, Miriam Nakamoto, have just beaten the most successful female fighter ever from the United Kingdom and possibly the world. You’re now the WCK World Champion.” For all, it was an exemplar moment.

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