BattleGroup International staged their third major KOM-BAT event this year on Saturday 6th August 2005 when they promoted Caledonia Spirits at
Meadowbank Sports Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The event was an all Free Boxing/ MMA show and was the biggest event of this kind ever to be held in the country. BattleGroup International now have three major factors as standard: really excellent and high quality fights, a packed out venue, and a truly wonderful atmosphere and spirit in the hall. Superb!
The main event of the show was a \ great contest for the T.K.O. European Welterweight Free Boxing Title between Ireland’s son, Paul McVeigh of the Dinky Ninjas Fight Team based in Glasgow, Scotland, against the great young Brazilian sensation Augusto Frota of the Frota Team/Brazilian
Top Team in Zurich, Switzerland.
Scottish Free Boxing/MMA suddenly found itself being taken very seriously, as this was a truly top class matchup and the international MMA community was much impressed that the promoter, Duncan Airlie James of BattleGroup International, was able to land this quality of fight for the show.
There were two supporting main events of the evening – the T.K.O. Scottish Cruiserweight Free Boxing Title, between great local hero Willie
Scott, of the Alba Domadair Vale Tudo/MMA Club in Edinburgh, and Michael Connor of the Brazilian Jujitsu Club in Glasgow; and the T.K.O.
Scottish Middleweight Free Boxing Title, between another local Ediinburgh lad, Jason Simpson also of the Alba Dornadair Vale Tudo/MMA Club, and
John Nicholson of the Dinky Ninjas Club in Dumbarton near Glasgow.
A full undercard was scheduled of novice and semi-pro fights in Free Boxing/MMA.
What a night!
Paul McVeigh (IRE/SCO) V Augusto Frota (BRA/SWI) T.K.O. European Welterweight Free Boxing Title
The vacant T.K.O. European Welterweight Free Boxing Title was the Main event of the show, scheduled for four x 5 minute rounds with one minute rest between rounds, with a three minute overtime round scheduled IF required, ie if the fight was a officially a draw after the four scheduled rounds.
And what a fight it turned out to be. Everyone had been predicting it would be a great fight and a bit of a classic. They were not disappointed.
The great young Brazilian fighter from the famous Brazilian Top Team in Switzerland – Augusto Frota – came to Glasgow to take on another great young fighter, the excellent young Irishman living in Glasgow, and probably the top welterweight in the UK – Paul McVeigh of the Dinky Ninjas.
Both fighters looked in outstanding condition and they had obviously taken this fight against each other very seriously indeed.
ROUND ONE: Both fighters came out fired up and it was toe to toe action all the way. Frota was looking for the knockout but McVeigh showed excellent defensive skills and began fighting a really intelligent fight. Every time Frota got close, McVeigh was tying him up in a great standing clinch, and looked superior in this tactic, it looked like he had planned to keep the fight standing as only a couple of times did the fight go to the floor, where again, both fighters exhibited offensive and defensive skills right out of the top drawer.
Frota looked slightly stronger and on the ground was predominantly on top, but McVeigh executed a couple of lovely reversals and put the pressure back on Frota. He also did some excellent kicks to Frota’s head from his back, and these seemed to slightly stun the Brazilian. But no-one was securing dominance on the floor, so the fight was brought back to standing a few times. Both fighters went right back at each other with some explosive kicking and punching, and it was really nail-biting stuff.
Not once did the pace of the fight drop in the first round and it is a testament to these fighters’ excellent condi-tioning and athleticism. / had this round even or just slightly to Frota for his forward, aggressive style.
ROUND TWO: This began where the first left off. Straight back into explosive action and Frota came out all guns blazing! But McVeigh withstood the attack and shot off some excellent counters, one of which slammed into Frota’s head, and for one second, the Brazilian took a wee step backward for the first time! But it was short lived as he seemed to shrug it off very quickly, and went straight back on the offensive. Wow, some jaw!
McVeigh was looking more dangerous however and he was taking the fight more and more to Frota. He looked excellent and the fight was really in the balance. At one point in a clinch early in the round McVeigh went for a flying arm-bar and SO nearly pulled it off. It looked like he might just secure it but Frota’s strength and awareness wereexceptional, and he defended it well. It was a great attempt by McVeigh but it JUST missed. What confidence (or even arrogance!) from the Irishman – if he’d been caught by that, Frota wouldn’t have been able to go back to his homeland for a while!
But this fight was now turning into a war, and a superb exhibition of top level Free Boxing/MMA. The fight was being fought at a furious pace and the crowd were going crazy and really appreciating what they were seeing: two superb free-boxers at the peak of their skills. Neither of them had an overall advantage or edge.
And then, from a clinch in the centre of the ring, McVeigh went for what looked like a submission attempt, I’m not sure what, but didn’t secure it. He presented Frota his back, and like lightning Frota saw the mistake and pounced. He secured a grip round McVeigh’s neck and sank it in!
After a brief attempt to resist it, McVeigh had to tap at 1’39 of round two, and was actually out on the canvas.
The new T.K.O European Welterweight Free Boxing Champion – Augusto Frota Fight Overview: What a fight! Probably the best ever Free Boxing/MMA fight held in a Scottish ring! Full credit must go to both these fighters for what they did, and this fight alone was worth the ticket money, and cheap at the price! Frota showed why he is fast becoming a big name in the MMA world, and McVeigh is right up there with him, just maybe a tiny bit behind but not far.
On this form he will definitely go on to bigger and better things.
The T.K.O. Can be well pleased about the standard of their forst ever European title fight and it augurs well for the future of this organisation if they continue to sanction fights of this quality.
Results of the fights on the undercard were as follows: Fight One: Alan McAuley v Peter Richardson A great novice fight to start the night off under semi – pro rules. Alan McAuley from the Sambo Dynamo Club in Glasgow versus Peter Richardson of the U.F.A. In Aberdeen.
A good, fairly balanced fight, until McAuleygot caught in an armbar at 4’23 of round one.
Winner: Peter Richardson by submission in 1st round.
Jason McCutcheon v Neil Wishart Next fight of the event was another novice fight between Jason McCutcheon from the Edinburgh Vale Tudo/Alba DornadairClub versus Neil Wishart of the Matwork Gym in Fife. Another excellent fight under Free Boxing/MMA rules. McCutcheon looked far the more together fighter and dominated the fight. Winner; Jason McCutcheon by Unanimous Points Decision Fight Three: Jamie Duffy v Dave Marlowe The third fight up was between Jamie Duffy from the Edinburgh Vale Tudo/Alba DornadairClub versus Dave Marlowe of the U.F.A. In Aberdeen. A pretty onesided fight under Free Boxing/MMA rules and Marlowe dominated Duffy, scoring knockdowns from strikes and counts, on his way to a victory by way of stoppage during round one.
Winner: Dave Marlowe by T.K.O. After 2’56 of the first round.
Darren Gunnell v Craig Stewart Fight four was between Darren Gunnell, also from the Edinburgh Vale Tudo/Alba DomadairClub, versus Craig Stewart of the Mountain Warriors club in Livingston, under Free Boxing/MMA rules. This was an interesting matchup as Stewart was a former Scottish title contender and Gunnell was a novice. But Gunnell came out all guns blazing and caught Stewart a bit unready. The fight was fairly even and Stewart certainly looked the more experienced fighter.
After about a minute of frenetic action, Stewart secured a really dominant position and it looked like he was going to force Gunnell to give up but Gunnell reversed him, got into a good position of his own, and cranked on a nice choke, forcing Stewart to tap at 2’56 of the first round.
Winner: Darren Gunnell at 2’56 of the first round Fight Five:
Mark Laird v John Jameson Fight five was another interesting matchup with John Jameson of Glasgow Brazilian JuJitsu Club the reigning Sottish Light Heavyweight Champion, taking on the tough newcomer Mark Laird, of Edinburgh Vale Tudo/Alba DornadairClub. Jameson was making his ring comeback since winning the Scottish title, after he received a neck injury in training many months before.
It was a good, exciting fight, with Laird showing good ability and toughness, and why he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for the future. But Jameson showed why he is the Scottish champion, with superior skills in all his game – standing, clinch and ground.
Jameson secured a nice position halfway through the round, sank in a front choke, and Laird had to tap at 2’53 of Round 1. A good comeback fight for Jameson.
Winner: John Jameson by submission at 2’53 of the first round.
Jason Simpson v John Nicholson The sixth fight of the night was the first title matchup, between Jason Simpson of Edinburgh Vale Tudo/Alba DornadairClub, and John Nicholson of the Dinky Ninjas in dumbarton, for the T.K.O. Scottish Middleweight
Free Boxing Title.
This fight had originally been scheduled between John Nicholson and Karl Burns of Sambo Dynamo in Glasgow, and had been eagerly anticipated by the Scottish Free Boxing/MMA community, as that was a superb match. However, Burns was injured a few weeks out, so all credit to Simpson, a relative novice, for stepping in to keep the title fight on.
The fight was as expected a highly intense affair. Nicholson is one of the most intense and committed fighters you’ll ever see and he took the rules to the limit! But he definitely looked the more experienced and together fighter Simpson actually looked far more experienced than he really is, with just three fights until tonight, but Nicholson seemed to be fighting a slight waiting game, and when the fight went to the ground, Nicholson got a great position and secured a nice armbar, forcing Simpson to tap out at 1 ‘49 of the first round.
It was a good fight, and Simpson is definitely a force for the future. But it was a slightly bad tempered match. Intensity is good, but there was definitely TOO much for this fight. A rematch would be very interesting sometime, and I would definitely love to see the originally planned fight – Nicholson v Burns. That will be a great fight.
Winner and the new T.K.O. Scottish Middleweight Champion John Nicholson, submission at 1 ‘49 of the first round,
Willie Scott v Michael Connor T.K.O. Scottish Cruiserweight Free Boxing Title The final fight of the undercard was between Willie Scott, the senior coach/instructor of the Edinburgh Vale Tudo/Alba DornadairClub versus Michael Connor of the Glasgow Brazilian JuJitsu Club, for the vacant T.K.O. Scottish Cruiserweight Free Boxing Title.
These two fellows are the nicest and most humble people you will ever meet. But when the bell went, as is the tru way of the warrior, they went for it hammer and tongs, and served up what was a superb toe-to-toe slugfest! It was without doubt the best fight of the night in terms of sheer gameness, guts and heart. And fought in a truly excellent, sporting and brilliant spirit! Definitely a candidate for fight of the year!
The crowd were all standing and cheering from the off. Both Connor and Scott weren’t in the outstanding physical condition of some of the other fighters, but they had the heart and intensity of all the fighters put together. From the start they stood and traded blow after blow and only occasionally did the fight and up in a clinch or more rarely on the ground. No-one looked superior and how they both stood up to some of the shots they took, I do not know. Scott maybe landed a few more clean shots and perhaps could have slightly edged it, but Connnor also landed many excellent strikes.
The bell went for the end of the first round and both guys trudged back to their respective corners knowing they were in a war.
Round two began and the war start-ed again! The intensity and heart of these guys was superb. Conor got through with a few nice clean hits early in the round and caused Scottt some eye dam-age, but the fight still raged on. They were both getting tired halfway through the round, and no wonder. It had been non-stop all the way. The fight went to the ground for the first time ‘properly’ so to speak and they both looked technically accomplished. Connor got in a nice couple of positions and was looking for the sub’ but Scott countered nicely and nullified his attempts.
At the bell, the crowd went crazy. They had witnessed one of the best fights ever in a Scottish ring, in terms of heart, courage and determination, and with good skills too. All T.K.O. Title fights are scheduled for a three minute over-time round if the fight goes the sched- uled number of rounds and the match is a draw. After deliberating over the scorecards from the judges, the fight was indeed a majority draw.
However, due to blurred eyesight from one of the blows he sustained, Scott decided to retire and the T.K.O. Scottish Cruiserweight Title was awarded to Michael Connor. Both these guys can be really prouds of themselves. It was a shame for Scott, because many people thought he was just in front!
Winner and New T.K.O. Scottish Cruiserweight Champion Michael Connor at the end of scheduled 2×5 minute rounds, Opponent Retiral
Caledonia Spririts was an excellent event and was without doubt the event at which Scottish Free Boxing/MMA has come of age. This show has now put Scottish Free Boxing/MMA right up there on the world stage, and as I’ve said before, there are now a number of Scottish fighters coming through that are certainly capable of competing at the International level.
Once again, BattleGroup International really put on an excellent promotion and showed why they are leading the way for world class fight promotions in Scotland. A REALLY huge thank you has to go to Willie Scott and all the people from the Edinburgh Vale Tudo/Alba Domadair Club.
They did superb work in helping to promote the show, selling tickets, and working at the event, and the show would not have been the great success it was without their great work. Thank you! As ever all the fights were well-matched and great value – for – money action. Unlike so many previous events, there were hardly any call-offs from fighters, making life SO much easier for the promoters! Maybe the clubs and the fighters are beginning to realise how important it is to behave professionally for the future development of their sport! The T.K.O. Have also increased their credibility and operational value with the quality of their first European Title Fight sanction. If they keep getting their title fights to be of this standard, they will soon be the titles that all Free Boxing/ MMA fighters will want. Credibility is everything, and T.K.O. Titles on this showing are certainly worth going for! Again I was impressed with B.G.I.’s NO smoking and NO alcohol policy for any of their events. The crowd were very boisterous and excited, but there was not one bad incident, and hardly even any bad language! The crowd had come to see the action, NOT to get drunk, and as it was the start of the Edinburgh Festival, they could go out after the show until 4am if they wanted! The atmosphere and spirit in the hall was magic.
The new, regular B.G.I, awards for Most Spirited Fighter of the night and Most Honourable Fighter of the night were won by Jason McCutcheon and jamie Duffy respectively, both of the Edinburgh Vale Tudo/Alba Domadair Club. Both of these awards were named after, and dedicated to the memory of, Mrs A.B. Campbell, the mother of promoter Duncan Airlie James. She died on January 2nd this year, and these awards are now regular features at every BattleGroup International, presented in her memory.
The next B.G.I, promotion, Caledonia Lions, is set to take place on Saturday 1st October at the ABC Venue in Glasgow, Scotland, another superb show in the making, with top billing going to the W.P.K.L. & I.K.F. World Heavyweight Thai Boxing Titles, with Duncan Airlie James v … (opponent T.B.C.)