Nick Gordon
2 minute read
3 May 2014
3:00 pm

Fadipe takes champ’s title with one blow

Nick Gordon

When Henry Fadipe landed in South Africa last week, his calm demeanour did little to indicate that he was gearing up for the biggest fight of his career, challenging for the Extreme Fighting Championship welterweight title.

FILE PIC. Dino Bagattin reacts in disappointment after losing his fight against Michiel Opperman ©Chris Ricco/Backpagepix

But his relaxed nature belied a quiet confidence that he had what it took to claim the crown from champion Dino Bagattin at Carnival City this week. In the end it only took one punch.

“My advice to any welterweight with a dream – change divisions,” the new champion said following a first round victory that once again highlighted the curse that hangs over the inability of the division’s titleholders to defend their belt.

The headliners of EFC29 were content to engage in a striking battle, as was expected given their stand-up pedigrees – and it was the champion who came out firing as he worked openings in the challenger’s defence and tagging him early.

Fadipe, born in Nigeria, but fighting out of Ireland, was content to work on the counter and it paid off as he caught the champion with a booming right hand with the clock at 3:09 in the first round to tame “The Lion”.

The main supporting bout saw Barend Nienaber line up a shot at the organisation’s featherweight title when he smothered Brendan Katz for three rounds with a strategy that paid off with a unanimous decision win.

Talk before the bout was that Katz was bringing power in his strikes and Nienaber appeared acutely aware of the dangers as he employed a solid ground game to outmanoeuvre a wily campaigner.

Fight of the Night honours went to the middleweight war between newcomer to the division Michiel Opperman and former champion Jeremey Smith in an epic clash over three brutal, bloody rounds.

Smith spent most of the fight sporting a cut above his left eye after an accidental clash of heads in the opening round, but he refused to back down, especially in the second as he continually outboxed the taller Opperman.

But the former welterweight champion landed shots of his own, the biggest coming with a knee to the head that dropped Smith in the third, which was probably the moment that swayed the judges into awarding him the fight via a split decision.

In another quality clash on the main card, Wade Groth knocked out Alex Cheboub in the second round of their lightweight bout, while Gareth Buirski beat fellow welterweight Peter Nyide via TKO in round one of their contest.