Sunday, August 28, 2022

Women’s WBA Oceania Championship Fight Headlines Thunderdome 39


One of the hottest Boxing series on the Australian Boxing scene makes its return on Friday, September 2nd at Metro City Nightclub in Northbridge, Australia as promoter Tony Tolj’s Dragon Fire Boxing presents Thunderdome 39. The Thunderdome series has traditionally provided a look at some of the up and coming young Boxing talent that Australia has had to offer and as the series has continued to grow through consistently entertaining events has been able to garner international attention. The thirty-ninth installment of the Thunderdome series, which can be seen on digital combat sports streaming network and pay-per-view platform FITE figures to be no exception. 

Credit: Dragon Fire Boxing


The thirteen-bout card features a mix of rising prospects and fighters who will be beginning their professional careers. In the main event, the vacant WBA Oceania Light-Flyweight championship will be on the line as Sarah Higginson faces Charimae Salvador in a scheduled eight round bout. For those who are unfamiliar with the Australian/Pan-Pacific region in the sport, an Oceania championship is similar to what we in the United States see in regard to the North American Boxing Federation, (NABF), and the United States Boxing Association (USBA) who each have affiliations with the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the International Boxing Federation (IBF) respectively. Similarly to those regional organizations, the Oceania affiliation with the WBA in essence allows holders of Oceania championships both women and men to be rated higher in the world rankings than those fighters who do not hold regional titles.  


In regard to Women’s Boxing, a segment of the sport that has in the last decade enjoyed unprecedented growth and consistent television exposure, the sport for women is still very much growing and as such for women competing for a regional title such as the Oceania title that has different versions throughout Boxing’s respective world sanctioning organizations, a victory to win a title like this could springboard that winner into a world championship fight much quicker than their male counterparts. For Sarah Higginson, this particular fight represents another opportunity to get back in line to possibly challenge for a world championship. 


Higginson is coming off of a stoppage loss in her last fight June at the hands of Shannon O’Connell. A fight where Higginson moved up three weight classes to the 118lb. Bantamweight division to face O’Connell and was simply overmatched, but the fact that Higginson found herself with such an opportunity, despite being stopped in that fight, does underscore the fact that Women’s Boxing is still growing and that there are at times depending on a fighter’s weight class where the opportunity to secure opponents can be sporadic or even scarce, which results in scenarios where fighters at times are presented with the option to move up and down the weight scale depending on the opportunity that may be available to them. While no one can discredit what O’Connell was able to do in that fight, sometimes circumstances such as they were going into that fight do play a factor, even though it is certainly not the fault of either fighter involved and more of a consequence of a segment of the sport that is still growing. Prior to facing O’Connell, Higginson suffered a controversial five round decision loss to Taylah Robertson, also in June of this year, a fight where many felt that she deserved the decision. 


Although it is not uncommon again when one considers that Women’s Boxing is still growing, to see a fighter competing so frequently, it will be interesting to see if Higginson now a few months removed from those setbacks will be able to get back in the win column. In Charimae Salvador, Higginson will face a veteran of nine professional fights, a slightly more experienced opponent than herself with six pro bouts, and who is coming off of a stoppage win in her last fight in April of this year of Marichu Semillano.  


While not necessarily as much a factor as one might think it could be given that this fight does take place a few months removed from Higginson’s two bouts in June, as is the case with men competing in the sport, it will be interesting to see how the move back down in weight to the 108lb. Light-Flyweight division affects her. Although it is not uncommon for women to move up and down in weight, more frequently as compared to their male counterparts, the move up and back down could have an effect whether positively or negatively, so that is something to keep an eye on in this fight. 


Also seeing action on Thunderdome 39, undefeated Middleweight prospect Jordan La Ruccia  will compete in his fourth professional fight against Liam O’Connor, who will be looking for his first professional victory in his second pro bout. La Ruccia last saw action in May at Thunderdome 38 when he scored a six round unanimous decision over Habib Kheirkhah in May of this year. La Ruccia now looks to follow that victory, which was the second time he went a four round distance in his career thus far in this fight against O’Connor. Should La Ruccia be victorious against O’Connor, there is a possibility that he could face fellow undefeated prospect Nikita Tszyu, the son of former Jr. Welterweight world champion and Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu in the near future. 


Two fighters featured on the card will also be making their respective professional debuts. First, twenty-two year old ex-Cricket player Ryan Daye a former league leading batsman, will square off against Bahtiyar Sonyol. who will also be making his pro debut in a four round Middleweight bout. Finally, former Australian Club Amateur champion and former youth and national Amateur champion, Ben Innes will be making his professional debut in the Featherweight division. The twenty-one year old Innes will face seven fight veteran Zainuel Hasan in a scheduled four round bout. 


As we saw last December at Thunderdome 37 in the first of what became two bouts between Jr. Middleweights Fano Kori and Joe McCoy, where a rare double knockdown took place over the course of a fight that was ultimately judged a draw, you never know what you are going to see at a Thunderdome event. In the main event of Thunderdome 38 back in May, Kori stopped Joe McCoy in what was an anticipated rematch that generated international attention based largely on the excitement of the first fight. Now the stage is set for Thunderdome 39 for what could be another memorable evening at Metro City. 


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.” 


Thunderdome 39 takes place on Friday, September 2nd at Metro City Nightclub in Northbridge, Australia. The card can be seen globally on digital combat sports streaming network and pay-per-view platform FITE beginning at 7AM ET/4AM PT (U.S. Time) for $16.99. *U.S. Pricing only, pricing and pay-per-view access may vary on country and region. * 


FITE is available on mobile, tablet, as well as connected streaming devices/Smart TVs. For more information about FITE including schedules and on and how to download the FITE app please visit: www.FITE.TV. To order Thunderdome 39 go on the FITE app or Click Here.  


Photo Courtesy of: Dragon Fire Boxing Used with permission. 


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