Chapter 6: Back In The Ring
A month had passed since Lea joined the gym. She had been living in the gym and working in it, while also keeping up with her own training. Alonso could see that Lea was improving well, getting in good shape to participate in her debut match, but Alfred hadn't found out about Lea's opponent, yet. One day, while Lea was doing her training, Alfred arrived to the gym and went to talk with Alonso. Lea was too far to know what they were talking about, but it didn't take long for them to finish and went straight to Lea. Even before they reached her, she could see that it was serious.
"Chica, we have some news for you," said Alonso with a serious look on his face.
"What is it, coach?" asked Lea.
"We got your opponent for you debut match."
"Really?" Those were great news for Lea, and it was showing on her face.
"Yes and here's the bad news." Alfred added with a worried look. "Your opponent is Valeria White, who has a record of 6 matches, 6 wins, and all of them by KO. This isn't a normal opponent for you, I tried to get someone else, but they didn't want to put anyone else against you." Lea wasn't expecting that and it made her worry.
"What does that mean?" asked Salena, who heard the conversation, and started to approach them. Salena was training, but she paid more attention to the news, and she didn't like them.
"It means that the committee wants Lea to lose this one. They picked this opponent with the excuse that she was a previous world champion," answered Alonso, who was bothered by their decision.
"Isn't that unfair? Lea has been out of boxing for two years, she's just getting used to fighting again," said Alinda, who also heard the discussion because she was training close enough to hear. Just like Alonso, she was obviously against that choice.
"Unfortunately, is their rules and we can't do anything about it. All we can do is prepare Lea for the match and win," said Alonso, and after that, he turned towards Lea. "What do you say, chica? Think you can do this?"
"I can't run away from my opponents, I don't have that luxury. I'll do it," said Lea with determination, which pleased Alonso.
"Very well, the match is in a month. Until then, you are free from chores in the gym and you will only focus on your training."
"All right, I'm going to need all the time I can get."
"You better be ready, chica, this month is going to be a hard one."
In another gym in California, another Lamia boxer was training for her next match. The Lamia had brunette hair with medium skin tone. She was working on the heavy bag, making it sound loud and clear. Unfortunately, it didn't sound like anticipation, but more like impatience. A male satyr with gray hair, olive skin and brown eyes was approaching the Lamia.
Satyrs were considered to be some animal that wanted to do nothing, except to party all day long, but that wasn't the case. Some were really smart, others were more an indoor kind of person, and so on. Unfortunately, the image of them been lazy was more popular during ancient times. The Satyrs had the typical goat legs, ears, tail and horns, which both male and female possessed. In modern times, humans considered the Satyrs as normal as another person, or as normal as another inter-species person.
"Hey, Valeria, you have been at it for a while, what's gotten into you?" asked the satyr, which made the Lamia stop punching. Then, she turned towards him, looking at him with dark brown eyes.
"Nothing, coach, it just feels like a waste of time to me," said Valeria, who couldn't hide her discontent in her voice, not even in her face.
"You're still going on about that? Look, I know how you feel, you've been talking about it the whole day, but there's nothing we can do. The committee decided to put this match. Consider it a free point or a preparation to something more important than you can imagine."
"Thanks for trying to cheer me up, Tom, but it feel like they are trying to hold me back. I mean, did you see the ring name? 'Specter'." Valeria made quotation marks with her hands as she said the name.
"Hey, a ring name is one thing, but fighting the person herself is another. We can't underestimate her, so you better be prepared for anything."
"Trust me, I won't and I'm going to send a message to the rest of my opponents." Valeria turned towards the heavy bag, and landed a right straight, which moved the heavy bag. "No one is going to stop me from making my grandfather proud." Tom knew what Valeria was talking about, everyone in the gym knew about it. Valeria's grandfather was a previous boxer in the super middle weight division, and a very good boxer. She was very proud to be the granddaughter of such a boxer and the two were very close. Unfortunately, his career ended when he died of brain damage before he could get the belt. It was very unfortunate for his family, since he was a single match away from getting a championship match. After her grandfather's death, Valeria made it her personal goal to gain what her grandfather couldn't get, a world championship belt.
"You better be careful, Specter, or she might end your career by accident." Tom was honestly worried about her, but that was the kind of sport that it was, so he put it out of his mind for the day.
Lea was training with the speed bag, until Alonso approached her. Lea stopped working on the speed bag and gave her attention to Alonso.
"All right, chica, listen up, we got some info on your opponent. Apparently, she's a counter-puncher who prefers to stay close to her opponents. You could say that she has experience against in-fighters," said Alonso.
"So, what should I do?" asked Lea, who was hoping for a plan from Alonso.
"There are a few methods on how to defeat a counter-puncher: The first is using feints, they need a pattern to strike, so feints messes with them. The second, throw as many punches as you can, it's easy for them to counter short combos or single punches. The third, which might be more difficult than it sounds, you have to think faster than the other. If you can pull this off, you can beat her, do you understand?"
"Yeah, I'll do my best," answered Lea with determination.
"Good, for now, we're going to raise your stamina as much as possible so that you can keep striking without stopping." Alonso put the mitts on and headed to the ring. "Now get in the ring."
"Okay." Lea followed the coach, got in the ring, and they started to train again. The next day was the same, but then, Alonso decided to put Lea against Alinda in a sparring match.
"This should help a lot with your training against Valeria, especially since Alinda is a counter-puncher," said Alonso
"Oh, thanks for the help," said Lea with a grateful smile on her face.
"My pleasure, Lea. Now, come at me with everything you got," said Alinda and the spar started. As Alonso ordered to Alinda, she would use counters in the match. Lea charged at Alinda, who got surprised by Lea's new speed. Alinda was forced to retreat, and while doing so, she threw a left jab, but Lea blocked it with her Peek-a-boo defense. Alinda tried to force Lea to throw a punch, but Lea wasn't buying the bait and continued to chase after Alinda. Once Alinda saw Lea make the motion for a right straight, Alinda prepared herself to counter, but Lea quickly threw a left jab at Alinda. The punch hit Alinda square in the face, stopping her in the spot, and Lea took the opportunity to rush in. Lea made another motion for a jab, which Alinda tried to block, but Lea changed the punch to a left hook. Alinda was expecting something like that and dodged the punch, but Lea quickly launched a right hook. Alinda barely had time to block it with her left arm, but she lost balance, and it took her a while to regain it. Lea took the opportunity to charge in, but Alonso decided to stop the match, knowing that Lea was from a different weight division.
"Okay, that's enough. It seems you got the main idea, which is the best we can come up with in such a short time," said Alonso.
"All right, thank you for your help Alinda." Lea thanked Alinda with a smile.
"No problem. You've really improved since you got here. You had trouble keeping up with me before, but you've gotten faster," said Alinda, who was surprised by Lea's new speed and skill.
"Really? I didn't even notice it."
"Well, I have to get back to my training. Talk to you later." Alinda was happy to see Lea improve.
"Okay, later." Alinda left the ring and Lea stayed to train with Alonso. Once Alinda was far enough, she started to rub her left arm. A small groan escaped her. "Those punches are starting to hurt more than before." Someone noticed that and approached Alinda.
"Hey, are you okay?" Alinda turned around and saw Salena,who had a worried expression on her face.
"Yeah, it's nothing to worry about." Salena stared for a moment and grabbed Alinda's arm, almost making Alinda cry in pain. Salena got a good look at the bruise that was coloring Alinda's left arm.
"You're lying, look at this. I know you want to help Lea, but if you get hurt, you have to let them know."
"Let go, I'm not some little princess to be rescued. I'm a boxer too, you know." Alinda tried to free her arm, but Salena was stronger and started to pull Alinda to the locker room, where they kept a first aid kit. Once they get into the locker room, Salena ordered Alinda to sit in one of the benches. Alinda did what she told to do, while Salena got the first aid kit. Salena got the kit, took it to Alinda, took some gel to help with the bruise, and started to rub it on Alinda's arm, which made Alinda blush.
"Her hands are soft," thought Alinda
"There, you should let it rest for a while." Salena took the gel's container and put it back into the kit, happy to know that Alinda received some medicine for her bruise.
"No problem, that's what friends do, right?" Responded Salena with a smile, which made Alinda's mood drop, but Alinda didn't let it show.
"Uh, yeah, friends. Anyways, I'm going to do some roadwork." Alinda quickly got up from the bench.
"Okay, take care." Alinda left the locker room first, and left the gym to do her roadwork.
"Sometimes, I wish you weren't so dense." Alinda decided to speed up in an attempt to forget about it.
It was a new day, and Lea's match was the next day, which meant that Lea and Alonso had to head out to the venue to do the weigh-ins. Once they reached to the venue, they went to a room that had more people than expected. Some of those people were journalists, who were looking for the next future champion and challengers. When Lea entered the room, they started to look at her, which made her nervous.
"All right, chica. Take everything off, except your underwear," said Alonso, who didn't look bothered by the journalists' presence.
"O-okay," said Lea and she started to undress. Then, the journalists started to talk.
"Is that Valeria's opponent? She doesn't look that tough," said one journalist.
"Must be her first time doing weigh-ins," said another journalist.
"She might fall in the first round." The comments went on and on. Even though Lea showed some well-developed muscles, it didn't seem to impress them.
"Don't listen to them, chica, just let them get your weight and we'll leave," said Alonso, who was getting annoyed by the journalists.
"O-okay," said Lea. Across the room, Lea's opponent finished undressing and was waiting to be called, which they did around the time that Lea finished undressing.
"Miss White, come to the scale please." Valeria did as asked and got on the scale. The people in charge of doing the weight check started to make adjustments and calculations. "168 pounds, passed." After that was said, Valeria got off the scale and headed back to her trainer to dress. "Okay, next one, please." The people in charge of taking the weight were asked not to reveal Lea's identity. Lea went to the scale and got on it. "170 and a half, passed." With that done, Lea got off the scale and headed back to Alonso to dress quickly. Lea considered her task done and just wanted to leave, but the journalists had other plans in mind.
"So, Miss White, what are your thoughts on your opponent?" asked a journalist.
"My thoughts?" asked Valeria with a face that was hard to read.
"Yes, she seems to have good physique, but nothing else is known about her, what do you think of fighting someone like her?"
"From the moment I heard that I was fighting someone in her debut match, I thought it was a waste of time for me. All I care about is getting the belt, but there's nothing I can do about it." Valeria turned around and looked at Lea. Everyone in the room could see that Valeria wasn't impressed in the least. "I'll just beat her and keep climbing up the ranks." After Valeria said that, she slid to the door and left the room.
"Valeria is bothered that she was held back from rising up, and even more when she has to fight against someone that she considers an amateur." Alonso explained to Lea, who was feeling bad about it.
"I see." That was the only response that Lea gave. The journalists thought that Valeria insulted Lea, so they quickly went to speak with her.
"What do you think of Valeria's response? How do you respond to it?" asked a journalist. All the journalists were waiting for Lea to respond with another insult against Valeria. After all, feuds tended to sell well in magazines, but Lea's response surprised everyone.
"I-I understand why she would say that, I'm just starting in my boxing career, and she has been here longer than me," answered Lea with a timid voice, which wasn't very impressive for the journalists. Fortunately for them, Lea wasn't done. "But…I'll prove it to her." Lea's voice suddenly changed to a more serious one.
"I'm not a waste of time. I'll prove it in the ring." It wasn't exactly what the journalists wanted, but Lea had an impressive face. They could see that Lea was serious about her promise, which was better than nothing. After that, everyone left the building and Lea started to head back to the gym with Alonso.
"That was a good response, way different than what you would have said before. So, how are you going to prove it?" asked Alonso.
"I'll use everything that I've learned against her," answered Lea.
"Good, rest up for today, tomorrow is your fight after all."
"All right." They keep going on their way back to the gym, determined to show Lea's return to the boxing ring. That night, Lea had trouble sleeping because she was thinking of her upcoming match. "Tomorrow is the day. Why am I so nervous if I have fought before? Could it be that it would affect someone other than me?" In the past, Lea didn't care about who would get affected, other than herself. After training so hard, Lea understood that, if she were to lose the match, then all her efforts would have been for nothing. Also, losing would mean that Lea would get farther away from her goal and would never be able to help Julie with her debt. "No point in thinking about it right now, I'll do everything that I can to win. I won't disappoint anyone, just wait and see." Lea finally fell asleep and got her needed rest for the fight.
The next night, Lea, Alonso, and Fergus headed to the venue where the match would take place. Once she reached the place, Lea could see Alinda, Salena, and Hilda waiting for her at the entrance.
"Hey, everyone." Greeted Lea with a wave of her hand.
"Hey, lass, you got here in time to prepare. How are you feeling right now?" asked Hilda, who knew how it felt to be close to participate in a debut match.
"I'm actually a little nervous, but not as bad as before." Lea was happy to see their support for her.
"Well, we'll cheer for you, so do your best," said Salena.
"Thanks, I will," said Lea with a smile.
"It's almost time to start. You better go and get ready. Good luck in your match, Lea," said Alinda.
"Thanks, everyone, see you after the match." After Lea said that, they all head into the venue. Lea went to her assigned room with Alonso and Fergus, while Lea's friends went to their seats. Lea's group reached and entered their assigned room, which a curtain dividing the room into two parts. On one side of the room, there were boxers of the same race as Lea wearing their boxing equipment. On the other side of the room, there were lockers that boxers could use.
"Fortunately, you have your trunks and protector on, so put your clothes in your locker. Once you are done, you should start warming up," said Alonso.
"Okay," said Lea. She went through the curtain, took her street clothes off, and put them into a locker. When she was done, she went back to her group, and started to do some shadow boxing to warm up.
"She seem to be in a good shape to fight," said Fergus, who started to feel confident of their victory after seeing Lea's physique.
"She is, but I don't know if she's used to be in the spotlight anymore. She might start to feel pressure once she's in the ring," said Alonso, who hoped that it wouldn't affect Lea for long. "For now, let's hope for the best."
In another room of the building, Valeria was also doing some shadow boxing to warm up. However, something inside her mind was bothering her.
"You want to prove me wrong? Let's see if you can actually do that!" Thought Valeria. After the weigh-in, Valeria returned to the gym and it didn't take long for someone to tell her what Lea said to the journalist. The person tried to make it sound like an insult, but Valeria didn't fall for it. Even so, Valeria kept remembering Lea's words. Valeria tried to prepare against Lea, but there was a problem. Valeria tried to watch some videos of Lea's previous matches, but she couldn't because she didn't know that Lea was Specter. With no other option left, they decided to go with their normal training.
"So, what is your plan to fight Specter?" asked Tom.
"I'll just test her out, see how she fights, and then I will simply strike her down when the chance comes up," said Valeria while warming up.
"Well, that's the only thing we can do for now. Don't drop your guard. Anything can happen in the ring, understand?" Said Tom with a serious voice.
"Yeah, don't worry. I'm going to win this one." After Valeria said that, a staff member called for Valeria to go to the ring.
"All right, let's go."
"Time to get this over with." Valeria was ready to start and end the match. Then, the two of them got up and left the room.
Around that time, another staff member called for Lea to head to the ring.
"All right, chica, let's see how much you've improved," said Alonso.
"Don't worry, coach, I won't let it go to waste, and I won't let you down. I won't let her down either." Lea's eyes showed determination and an unwillingness to lose.
"Bien dicho, let's go." Lea, Alonso, and Fergus, head out to the ring, ready to win the match. Once they reached the arena, the spotlight was on the ring, showing the announcer in the middle of the ring. The arena itself wasn't as full as expected, especially since Lea's match was an under card. Some of the audience clapped for them and some whistled, which Lea didn't know for what. Lea kept sliding, looking at the one thing that she had left for two years, the ring.
"Hey, there she is," said Salena while pointing at Lea.
"Hey, Specter, good luck!" Cheered Alinda while waving at Lea.
"Show her what you're made of, lass!" Cheered Hilda.
Lea could see the announcer, who was waiting for both boxers to get into the ring. She was the first one to get into the ring, and right after that, she looked at the spotlights. Lea felt like she was under them for the first time, and that made her nervous. Valeria was the last one to get into the ring, and the announcer wasted no time in introducing both boxers.
"Today, we're starting with a middleweight 4 round match. In the blue corner, she has a record of 6 fights, 6 victories, all of them by KO. Weighting at 168 pounds in human weight, she's Valeria White!" Valeria lifted her arms and the crowd responded to it. "On the red corner, weighting at 170 and a half pounds, in her debut match, the Specter!" The audience responded, but not as much as they did with Valeria. Lea rose her right arm, but she was too shy to do anything else. The referee was announced and he stepped in the middle of the ring. Then, he ordered both boxers to the middle of the ring and they did without a problem. With both boxers in the middle, the referee started to go over the rules and asked them to have a clean fight. Valeria wasn't really listening to the referee, she was glaring at Lea, and Lea was glaring back.
"Why is she glaring at me so much? It's not like she's going to win the match with just that," thought Lea, who wasn't intimidated by Valeria. After the explanation and the introductions were over, both boxers headed back to their corners and waited for the bell. Before Alonso left the ring, he gave Lea a plan of attack.
"Remember, once you get close, keep punching without stopping, you have to keep her either trapped or confused," said Alonso with a serious voice.
"Got it." Responded Lea, who didn't seem to be nervous. Instead, she looked prepared to fight. After that, Alonso left the ring and stayed close to the corner. At the moment, Lea and Valeria were waiting on their corners for the bell. It didn't take long for the bell to ring, which announced the beginning of the first round.
Lea came out of her corner with her Peek-a-boo guard, while Valeria came out of her corner with a standard guard, and they headed to the middle of the ring. Then, they stopped before reaching punching range, each boxer waiting for the other to make a move.
"Come on, Specter. Make your move so I can get out of here already," thought Valeria, whose wish didn't get granted, which frustrated her. "All right, I'll just force you to move." Valeria rushed in and started to throw jabs from a distance, but Lea blocked them easily. Lea dodged another jab and charged in, but Valeria moved to the side and kept throwing jabs. None of them landed because Lea kept her guard up and blocked all the jabs. Since none of those jabs landed, Valeria decided to give Lea a bait that she could not resist. Valeria started to move forward, trying to make Lea open up her guard. Lea feinted a charge, which made Valeria back away. Lea quickly followed and kept pushing Valeria to the ropes. Valeria knew what Lea was planning and thought of a plan to escape. Valeria feinted going to the left, where Lea was prepared to go, but Valeria charged in and threw a right straight, which Lea ducked in surprise. Lea attacked with a right uppercut to Valeria's chin, which Valeria blocked with the palm of her left glove. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to stop the punch and it pushed her hand all the way to her chin, which caused some damage.
Valeria's corner was left in shock. They didn't expect Lea to have such a destructive punching power.
"That's one heck of a punch! What kind of training did they do to achieve that? Remain calm, Valeria, keep a cool head and focus on your counters," thought Tom, who realized that the opponent they were facing was a strong one. Meanwhile, Lea's corner remained calm. Lea may have landed that punch, but it landed on the guard, so it wasn't a clean hit.
"Good one, chica. Show her that you are not a waste of time," thought Alonso.
The damage made Valeria slide back. The display of power pleased the audience, making them cheer for Lea. It also shocked Valeria because she wasn't expecting that kind of power. "What the hell? What was that punch? That wasn't a normal punch, is not a punch that a normal amateur can actually throw," thought Valeria in shock. Lea took the opportunity to rush in, closing the distance between them. Once Lea got close enough, she landed uppercuts on Valeria's body. Valeria felt the punches, so she quickly protected herself with a cross arm block. Lea changed her uppercuts to hooks aimed at Valeria's head. Valeria ducked the hooks and started to slide away from Lea in an attempt to escape from the in-fight.
"I can't let her get away from me. I almost get the pace going to my favor," thought Lea, who was determined to keep the attack going. She started to follow Valeria, but Valeria started to throw jabs. Lea blocked them, but the jabs kept her from moving forward. Once Valeria threw another jab, Lea ducked the punch and charged in with a right hook aimed at Valeria's body, but Valeria was waiting for it. Valeria saw the punch coming, moved back, and quickly countered with a right straight. The punch hit Lea in the face and made her slide back. Valeria moved forward and launched another right straight. Lea moved her head to the right and dodged the punch.
"Good thing I'm getting use to her, I can counter much more easily." The information pleased Valeria. Lea rushed in with a right uppercut to Valeria's body, but Valeria blocked it with the left arm. Then, Valeria threw a right hook, but Lea threw a left uppercut, making it a simultaneous exchange. Normally, both fighters would feel the same amount of damage, but considering Lea's strength, Valeria came out with more damage. Lea knew that she would cause more damage, so she threw a right hook, but Valeria quickly slid back to the ropes.
"Dammit, almost had her, I need to get her to stop moving so much." Lea realized that to take down Valeria, Lea would need to stop Valeria from sliding away so much. So, Lea's new target was Valeria's body. Lea moved forward and threw some jabs to tell the distance that she was in, but Valeria had other plans in mind. Valeria dodged the punches, rushed in, wrapped her arms under Lea's arms so Lea couldn't keep throwing punches, and got her in a clinch. After the referee saw that, he got to the boxers and ordered Valeria to separate, which Valeria complied with. Once the referee gave the okay to fight again, Lea tried to attack again, but Valeria clinched again.
Alonso was watching the match and he suddenly realized what Valeria was doing.
"That Valeria sure is smart enough to do what is needed," said Alonso, who was looking annoyed.
"The reasons that a boxer would clinch is to get out of the ropes, the corner, or…" Said Fergus, who didn't finish the list, but Alonso finished it.
"To recover from damage. That last exchange must have hurt her more than we can see from here. Lea can finish the match in this round, but she needs to get her into an in-fight."
Back into the fight, Valeria clinched again, which was starting to bother the crowd, but Valeria didn't care
"Okay, just a little more and I'll have enough strength to keep fighting," thought Valeria. The referee broke them apart once more, but that time, Lea didn't charged in. She knew that Valeria would clinch if Lea got too close. That left Lea with no other option, but to attack with left jabs. That kept Valeria on the defensive, but Lea didn't realize that it was going to work against her. Valeria kept blocking and dodging the punches as much as she could, reading the timing and speed of Lea's jabs.
One minute had passed and Valeria felt she had read more than enough. So, after Lea threw another jab, Valeria parried the punch and threw a right straight at Lea. The punch hit Lea square in the face, which made her slide back. Valeria didn't move forward, knowing that it would be dangerous to get close, and decided to keep distance. Lea moved forward and threw another left jab, but it was useless because Valeria tried to counter again. Fortunately, Lea was prepared for it and she ducked the punch. Lea decided to back away from Valeria, trying to come up with something to fight her. Valeria didn't give Lea that chance and followed her with jabs. Lea guarded against the jabs, closing up as much as she could. Valeria simply kept throwing jabs at Lea, keeping her from doing anything at all. Lea was trying to think of something, but it didn't take long for her to simply wait for a long swing and move forward. Valeria realized that and decided to quickly move to Lea's right side. From there, Valeria threw a jab where there was no guard because Lea was blocking the front, but not the sides. Valeria landed a hit and followed with a right straight, which Lea parried with her right shoulder and rushed in. Valeria was thinking of clinching again, but Lea was prepared for that. Lea decided to keep her body low and arms close to her body, so Valeria couldn't block Lea's arms. Valeria decided to move away from Lea, trying to stay in the center of the ring. That would give Valeria more space to move around, just in case Lea tried to get close. Lea followed Valeria, who threw jabs to keep Lea away, but Lea parried the jabs and kept moving forward.
Somewhere in the audience, Lea's friends were watching the match, and in their opinion, things were getting bad.
"Man, that Valeria sure knows how to slide around the ring. It's going to be difficult to catch her," said Salena, who got annoyed after seeing Valeria sliding around the ring. Salena knew by experience just how frustrating it was to catch an out-boxer.
"I would prefer maneuver, instead of 'slide around', but you're right. It will be difficult to catch Valeria," said Alinda, who had a better understanding of the situation because she was an out-boxer.
"That's not all, Valeria seems to have gotten the timing of her attacks," said Hilda, who had faced counter-punchers in the past.
Back in the fight, Valeria kept moving back while throwing jabs, which kept Lea away from Valeria. Lea didn't care and kept moving forward, knowing that she will eventually reach Valeria and defeat her. Lea made a feint to go to the right, which made Valeria move to the left, but Lea followed and managed to trap Valeria on the ropes.
"I got you," thought Lea, who started to feel confident. Lea dodged the jabs and rushed in. At that moment, Lea started to use her specialty, which was in-fighting. To start, Lea threw a left uppercut at Valeria's body, but Valeria tried to clinch. Lea saw that and stopped her left uppercut. Then, she moved low with her arms close to her body. When the clinch failed, Lea landed a few left uppercuts to Valeria's body. Valeria realized that she was in a dangerous situation and needed to get out of the ropes. Valeria threw a right hook at Lea's head, but Lea ducked the punch and threw a left hook at Valeria's body. That time, it landed on a special spot that tended to end matches instantly, the liver. The punch made Valeria feel tremendous pain and caused her tail to wobble. Valeria was about to fall, but she prevented that by grabbing Lea in a clinch. "Dammit, let go of me, let go!" Lea desperately tried to push Valeria away, but Valeria had a good grip on Lea and the referee tried to separate them. Valeria tried to hold on to Lea as long as possible, before the referee had to threaten Valeria with taking points away from her. Eventually, Valeria let go of Lea, but it was obvious that Valeria was in pain, which surprised Lea. She was just throwing punches at Valeria's body, without knowing that one of them would eventually land on the liver. Lea didn't think too hard on it and decided to take the opportunity, knowing that she was close to winning the match. Once the referee gave the signal to keep fighting, Valeria charged in and surprised Lea with a 1-2 combo, hitting Lea in the face. That made Lea slide back and stayed stunned for a moment, which gave Valeria time to move away. Lea quickly recovered and started to chase after Valeria, but Lea started to have problems with her vision. Everything was turning blurry for Lea because of the counters and previous attacks that she received. Of course, Valeria wasn't exactly in the best condition either.
Two minutes have passed, leaving either one with a minute to finish the other boxer. Valeria noticed that Lea was having problems and decided to attack from a distance, to see whether to play it safe or to finish it off. Valeria started to throw jabs at Lea, who blocked them without a problem. Unfortunately, it was easy to see that Lea didn't move as fast as before. Lea was trying to recover from the damage done to her, but Valeria won't allow it. She moved to Lea's side and threw jabs at the side of Lea's head, which barely landed. Lea tried her best to protect herself and recover, but the jabs prevented that. Lea tried to charge in, since blocking didn't seem to work anymore, but the jabs kept her away, which forced Lea to retreat. Valeria followed and didn't stop throwing jabs. Lea started to feel pressure, not been able to rest and not been able to attack at the moment.
"What can I do? I have to think of something," thought Lea, who was nearly panicking at her situation. Then, Lea heard someone yelling at her.
"What are you running away from? Don't move back, keep moving forward, forward! Put the pressure on her!" It turned out to be Alonso, who was yelling at Lea from her corner. Back in the audience, Lea's friends didn't like the situation that Lea was in.
"Things are getting hard for Specter, but it shouldn't be a surprise. She's fighting someone with a good record," said Hilda, who was unsure on how the fight would end.
"Those counters must have evened out the damage, but for Valeria to withstand those punches to the body," said Alinda, who was surprised by Valeria's determination.
"What are you guys saying? We need to cheer for Specter. Hey, keep fighting, don't let her rest!" Said Salena, who tried to cheer as best she could.
"You're right. Specter! Show her what you got!" All three of them tried their best to cheer for Lea.
"Come on, Lea, don't retreat, what was all that training for?" Salena couldn't help it, but she was starting to worry.
Lea heard everyone, and did as everyone wanted, she moved forward. Valeria kept throwing jabs and moving back, hoping to stop Lea's advance, but it didn't seem to work. Lea kept moving forward with determination, dodging and blocking the jabs. Even when a jab landed, Lea ignored the damage and kept moving forward.
"What? Why isn't she stopping? No matter, I'll just push you back until the round is over," thought Valeria. She was focused on stopping Lea, but Valeria noticed that Lea was getting closer. "No way, am I going slower?" Valeria didn't notice, but she was starting to feel tremendous pressure from Lea.
"That's it, chica, keep moving forward, don't stop for even a second!" yelled Alonso, who was desperately trying to keep Lea moving, no matter what. Lea didn't hear it well, but it didn't matter because she kept moving forward. The pursuit brought results, which was trapping Valeria on the ropes.
"Shit, when did I-?!" Thought Valeria, who didn't have time to think about it because Lea used the opportunity to rush in and get into an in-fight. To start, Lea threw a left uppercut at Valeria's body, but Valeria stopped it with her right arm and threw a left hook at Lea's head. Lea ducked the punch, and stood up with a right uppercut to Valeria's chin. Valeria dodged the punch by pushing the ropes back, which made room for the punch to miss. Valeria attacked with a right uppercut to Lea's chin, but Lea parried the punch with her left arm and landed a right hook on Valeria's head, which sent Valeria to the mat. The first fall of the entire match made the public go wild because they weren't expecting such a spectacular match in a 4-round match. The referee quickly stepped between Lea and Valeria.
"Go to the neutral corner!" The referee ordered Lea, who started to head to the said corner. After that, the referee started the count.
"1…2…3." The count went on and Valeria was lying flat on the mat. She might be giving signs of been conscious, but it wasn't enough to tell if she could stand at all. Tom started to call Valeria, hoping to bring her back into the fight.
"Valeria, stand up, this isn't over yet! Remember why you're fighting, remember your grandfather!" That got a reaction out of Valeria, who started to get up.
"Tom is right, how can I lose here after coming this far? I want to make my grandfather proud, I won't lose here!" Thought Valeria with an iron will, and she did her best to get up from the mat.
"7…8." By the eight count, Valeria was up again and ready to fight. Lea was amazed that Valeria could get up after that hook to her head. After the referee gave the okay to continue, Lea left the corner and started to head back towards Valeria. Unfortunately, the bell ringed, announcing the end of the first round. Each fighter started to head to their respective corners, both trying to slide upright, not wanting to show any signs of damage to their opponent. Unfortunately, it was easy to see that Lea was breathing hard and Valeria seemed to be moving slowly to her corner. Their seconds got into the ring, and waited for their boxers to arrive at their corner.
In Valeria's corner, the tension was rising. Once Valeria reached her corner, she sat on her stool, and her seconds started to help her as much as they could.
"I can't believe it. That boxer of theirs is nothing ordinary, I didn't expect her to put you in this situation," said Tom, who was starting to worry.
"I know…those punches aren't normal, and those skills, she must have experience doing this," said Valeria while trying to recover her breath.
"This isn't experience you gain from the streets alone. Her training should have been insane for something like this. Either way, for this round, try to keep distance from her, she seems to have more trouble keeping up with you when you move too much. Try to win by out-boxing her and the match should be yours." Tom wasn't sure if that would be enough, but with Valeria's condition, it was the best he could say.
"Tire her out and get in for a KO. I don't know about that, her punch could KO me in the next round if I'm not careful. I don't like winning by points, but I'll have to take it."
"There are always going to be risks in the boxing world, and you must be ready to face them."
"I understand. I'll win this no matter what."
"Good." Tom was glad that Valeria hadn't lost hope in the match. Things were a little different on Lea's corner.
"You did pretty well out there, but those counters are getting to you. You need to get close as fast as you can and attack without stopping. If that's not possible, hit her body and her speed should slow down to a manageable one," said Alonso to Lea, while Fergus tried to get Lea ready for the next round. Alonso didn't like the way Lea was taking those counters, but he had faith that she would come on top.
"All right, coach," said Lea, who focused on recovering as much as she could.
"Also, forget the feints. You can't use them properly if you can't reach your opponent. It would be better if you focus on putting pressure on her. A boxer that's panicking is easier to deal with because they don't seem to pay attention to their surroundings, got it?"
"Yeah." Lea used the rest of the interval to rest up and recover some of her lost stamina.
"I say this to the chica, but anything could happen in the boxing ring. It's like a battlefield. Anything could change the tide to either side." After Alonso thought that, the announcer told the seconds to leave the ring, but before Alonso got out of the ring, he gave one last advice to Lea. "Chica, above all else, don't let your guard down." Lea got up from her seat and put her mouth piece.
"All right." Lea waited for the bell to ring, ready to follow Alonso's plan. She didn't know if that would be the final round, but one thing was certain: One of them will fall by a KO.