Jade Fleetwood landing a kick in her bout with Melissa Dyke. PHOTO/LIONESS PHOTOGRAPHY

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Effective striking was the key to Masterton’s Jade Fleetwood winning her Muay Thai bout on a split decision at Night of Assassins II on Saturday.

Fleetwood and her partner, Brent Surgrue, both fought at the event in Whanganui, with Surgrue losing his fight by unanimous decision.

Both are part of the Fortitude Thai Boxing Club in Masterton, and trainer Zane Hopman said they had done the club proud.

“Jade had a fight against a woman from Tauranga who was quite a bit taller than her.

“She had a tough fight in Hamilton a few weeks ago where she walked into some knees, so I think she was a little bit cautious about that at the start.”

Hopman had encouraged Fleetwood to stamp her authority in the early exchanges, but not everything had gone to plan.

She spent much of the fight back-pedalling, but her superior striking got the job done in the end.

“I knew she would be far superior strength-wise and skill-wise over her opponent, but she needed to let that be known early on and not go backwards,” Hopman said.

“She did take a backwards step which put her on the back foot, but fortunately she maintained her distance well and was able to strike.”

The fight was very close, and Hopman said it was up to the judges whether they would reward the fighter with the better striking, or the one who was pushing forward, albeit not so effectively.

“Although she was going backwards a lot, she was effective when she did strike.

“She got two of the judges on her side.”

The slow start didn’t cost Fleetwood anything in the end, but it cost Surgrue in his bout with Matt Penny.

Surgrue rocked his opponent in the third and final round, but wasn’t effective enough in the opening exchanges.

“He allowed his opponent to dictate the pace for the first two rounds, and didn’t stamp his authority,” Hopman said.

“He was landing well in the first two rounds but his opponent was able to negate some of that and get him in the clinch.”

Hopman said he was confident both fighters would come back stronger in their next fights, especially with some adjustments to their nutrition.

“If you haven’t fed your body up with the right stuff you don’t have any reserves to draw on.

“They’ve been under such a misconception of how to do it, and they’ve been doing it hard.

“We’ll sort that out and the training camps leading into the next fights will be far better for them.”

Both Fleetwood and Surgrue said they were looking forward to their next bouts, and representing their club again.