Sunday, 16 September 2007

Too Hot to Handle: The Road to Japan on Eurosport - TV Review

Once again Eurosport’s Fight Club ventures into the world of mixed martial arts with Dutch promotion Too Hot To Handle, and their recent Road to Japan show, held in Amsterdam. As usual our host is “Sensei” Will Vanders.

Although this is an MMA show, we actually start off with a Muay Thai fight, fought over five rounds, as Tyron Spong faces Sem Braan. This was the first MT fight I’ve seen in years, and the first one I’ve ever reviewed. The first two rounds followed the same pattern, with a fast start before slowing down a bit towards the end. It was in the third though that Spong took control, knocking Braan down twice before the referee wisely stepped in and stopped the fight, Spong getting the KO win.

On to MMA, with Joey Van Wanrooy taking on Germany’s Cengiz Dana in the semi-final of the 73kg tournament. Almost as soon as the first round began Dana got a nasty cut underneath his left eye, which caused quite a bit of concern. Van Wanrooy also caught Dana with a stiff right that knocked him off his feet, although the German managed to convince the ref that it was merely a slip. It was the turn of the Dutchman to spill the blood in the second somewhat messy round, as he took a hefty kick to the nose as Dana was on the ground. After the Dutchman was patched up, he took Dana down and pounded away with numerous unanswered shots as the round and match ended. It was enough to give him the win.

Van Wanrooy made a quick return next, facing David Baron in the tournament final. This one doesn’t last too long, as the Dutchman’s exertions in the semi-final came into play, hindering his efforts as the blood flowed from his nose, and the referee stopped the bout after Baron’s strikes went unanswered, resulting in the Frenchman winning the tournament.

Next up, Britain’s own Jimmy Wallhead against Xander Nel, the hometown boy. This was a dominating display from Wallhead, despite getting a yellow card early on for a stray elbow, as he continually took Nel down and took him out with a barrage of shots that went unanswered.

The 93kg final followed, with Jordan Radev from Bulgaria facing Germany’s Martin Zawada. Radev impressed me greatly here, dominating for the most part, continually taking Zawada down, with the German only escaping from the full guard when the referee stood the fighters up. With the time limit expiring, Radev won the unanimous decision, and rightfully so.

Then it was time for the 103kg final, with Tengiz Tedoradze of Georgia up against Holland’s Dave Dalgliesh. Despite some brief comebacks and some good defensive work from Dalgliesh, Tengiz was in control for the majority of the fight with some good grappling. But when the referee stood the fighters up towards the end of the fight, Dalgliesh surprised everyone by unloading with a flurry of heavy blows and knocking Tengiz out with a right cross to the chin it what was a great way to end the show.

In conclusion - very enjoyable, although I was a little disappointed that Eurosport cut out quite a few matches. The Tengiz/Dalgleish fight was clearly the fight of the night.

I haven’t mentioned him much before, but here goes. Although it’s obvious that Will Vanders knows his stuff, I do wish that he’d either cut down on the clich�s or get some new phrases. If I hear mention of drunks on kebabs and comparisons between Pepsi and holy win I’ll put my foot through the screen - or just turn the sound off instead!