Nikki studied her reflection in the big wall mirror, slipped into her knee length black and gold robe and then made her way downstairs. Even from her changing room the noise from the spectators could be heard hear clearly, but as she neared the door to the arena the clamor was so loud she could hardly hear her trainer, Terry, as he wound his fighter up for the biggest fight of her career to date! The rambling old house shook when the names of the two fighters were read out, the biggest cheer being for Nikki. Terry’s voice was completely drowned out but Nikki didn’t need any winding up for tonight’s opponent, Karen Marks!
Ten months ago at the Bloxham Manor Champions Weekend Karen had given Nikki a bad beating, stopping her within 4 rounds and ending her proud unbeaten record. The defeat had been hard, but worse was to come. The following night Nikki fought Liz Johnstone in a vicious wrestling match, learning the hard way about “winning at all costs!” Before the fight Joan had rowed with Nikki, angry at the growing influence of Helen Norwood on the young fighter, and, after another heated argument she walked out, leaving Nikki as Liz savagely worked her over, winning the fight by submission.
At that moment Nikki was at her lowest ebb. Both her parents had been killed in a car accident when she was less than 6 months old, and Joan had become in many ways a mother figure to her. But another woman now entered her life. Helen Norwood. Realizing Nikki’s potential, Helen had been looking for a way to get the skillful young fighter away from Joan, her hated rival. Throughout the weekend she had worked on Nikki, and now with Joan out of the picture she made her move.
Nikki signed an exclusive contract with Norwood Promotions and turned full time professional. Soon she had moved into Bloxham Manor with the other Norwood fighters and began extensive training. Nikki had her first fight for Norwood in January 2002, knocking out a useful boxer called Mandy Roberts. More fights, boxing and wrestling followed, and Nikki soon became the darling of the Bloxham Manor Fight Night Crowd, adored by her fans. By June she had won all of her 6 fights, 4 boxing and 2 wrestling, steadily improving with each bout. Boxing was Nikki’s favorite form of combat, and the one she was best at, though she was a tough and skillful wrestler too. In boxing, her skill and speed canceled out any disadvantage she had in size, but wrestling was more about strength and power.
As Nikki rose quickly up the rankings, Helen began to plan and scheme how she could best exploit the skill, looks and appeal of the young fighter. When Nikki wasn’t fighting or training she was, like the other girls, sent on photo shoots for advertising agencies, the owners of which were regulars at Bloxham and acquaintances of Helen and her husband James. With her fresh faced looks and stunning figure Nikki was always in demand, causing not a little resentment among the other Norwood girls. The Norwood’s received a good commission for supplying “models” and were already making a lot of money from Nikki. But Helen knew a way they could make much more!
Two weeks before the re-match with Karen Helen had introduced Nikki to Henry Cobham. Cobham was the owner of a pay per view TV channel called “Female Fight Time” (FFT) in America. FFT was always looking out for new fighters, Nikki was told. Cobham watched with Helen as Nikki sparred for a few rounds. Later he had dinner with Helen and James. “She’s quite something, Helen” remarked Cobham. “You say she’s fighting Karen Marks? Should be some fight! How did you and James find her?” Helen explained how she had heard about Nikki and went to see her fight.
“That’s when I discovered Joan Cooper was her manager. Bitch!” Cobham laughed. He knew there was no love lost between the two women, and in truth he had a score to settle with Joan. “So you sent her packing. Good! Well, you know me. Any friend of Joanie is an enemy of mine! I want you to ruin the Martin kid’s career! I want her license taken away, and I want her banned from the sport! Then, when there’s nowhere for her to go, FFT will make her an offer she can’t refuse! When Joan hears about her star pupils fall from grace, and that FFT have signed her up, it’ll be like a knife in her ribs!” Helen smirked at the image, but said “To be honest, Henry, I don’t think she cares what happens. Nikki’s not heard from her since she drove off 10 months ago!” Cobham’s face clouded over, and his smile was replaced with a scowl. “Oh, she cares alright. The Martin kid would have appealed to her “motherly instincts” I know, we were married for 10 years, don’t forget!” Helen smiled, reassured. In the long term Nikki could make everybody a lot of money, winning championships and titles, but there was a quicker way to achieve a better turnover, and Henry Cobham would get his payback too!
Nikki was introduced to a cacophony of sound which increased when she slipped off her robe. Since her appearance at Bloxham in the previous years Champions Weekend Nikki had lost much of her shyness and was happy to wear sexier, more revealing outfits for her fights, happy to “put on a show”. Tonight she was wearing a red bikini which showed off her slim, well toned body to perfection.
“And weighing 130 lbs, in the red bikini, Miss Nikki Martin!” Posing for the cameras, Nikki glanced at Karen Marks as she went through some stretching and flexing moves before gazing out into the crowd in the hope of seeing Joan, as she did every fight.
Karen as usual was topless, wearing just a black thong, socks and boots. Taller and heavier by some 10 lbs Karen’s body was hard and well muscled, but she was also fast. Ranked at 61 in the European Women’s Fighters
Organization, and 15 in the German Ladies Boxing League, she had a good record of 46 wins and 9 defeats. Nikki, a pro for less than a year, was ranked 40 places lower at 101 in the EWFO and 49 In the British Women’s Boxing Association.
“From Munich, weighing 141 lbs, please welcome Karen Marks!” Karen strutted round the ring, sneering at the chorus of boos. Standing in the centre of the ring she shouted above the noise “This time, you will go down! I will not be playing tonight!” Nikki couldn’t make out most of what Karen said, but she was certain the German wasn’t wishing her well! The bell rang.
As in their previous fight Karen came out tucked into a tight crouch, her head weaving, her powerful body swaying. Nikki moved lightly, skipping over the canvas on her toes, relaxed and fluid, yet coiled like a spring, ready to strike! The Germans left glove pawed at Nikki, enticing her to come forwards, and the crowd yelled as she did just that, measuring Karen with her own flicking jab then throwing a short right which caught the German just above the ear! Karen shuffled back but not before a terrific left hook had crashed onto her head. She had forgotten how fast Nikki was and backed away, covering up as a torrent of punches rained on her.
The crowd roared as Nikki hit Karen with a scything punch to the ribs but Karen took it well and launched her own attack, firing a savage upper cut that grazed Nikki’s chin. Nikki tucked her head in as Karen rose from her crouch swinging, slamming hard punches to the head then to the body, trying to bring down Nikki’s guard, each blow making the young fighter wince as they thudded into her belly and ribs. Nikki’s smart footwork got her out of trouble and she skipped away, ducking and weaving, keeping the German fighter on the end of her darting jab.
At the end of the round the crowd cheered wildly as both women went back to their corners. There was no way this would go the distance, surely?
Karen covered the ring methodically trying to cut Nikki’s space down but the elusive youngster wouldn’t allow herself to be trapped, her speed and movement frustrating her opponent while her jab flicked into the German woman’s face. Light on her feet Nikki seemed to glide over the canvas with a sinuous, flowing rhythm, her lithe body swaying and weaving as she made Karen miss time after time. Suddenly she would side step, skip inside and spray fast, sharp combinations before quickly moving out of reach of Karen’s heavier, swinging blows, delighting the crowd as she made Karen look slow and clumsy.
Just before the end of the round Karen was tagged with a beautiful right which sent sweat spraying from her head! Nikki quickly followed it up with a left, staggering the German. The crowd roared as Karen went down, but she was up fast, protesting to the referee she had slipped as he wiped off her gloves. At the bell Nikki glared at her opponent then went to her stool. Karen, her breasts heaving and her body slick with sweat, goaded her, saying “Are you here to fight, or run away! Fight me like a woman!”
Nikki swallowed some water as her trainer Terry applied some grease over her eyes. “Keep boxing Nikki, you’re too fast for her and she can’t cope! You’re scoring well and won that round easy!”
Nikki came out fast for round 3, taking the fight to Karen with good solid punches which forced Karen to cover up, crouching low as Nikki’s fierce blows ripped into her!
At ringside Henry Cobham turned to Helen Norwood and said “Lucky I didn’t bet on the German! Your girl’s all over her!” Helen nodded. So far all of Nikki’s fights for Norwood Promotions had been carefully selected, the opponents useful but not likely to cause Nikki too many problems. Taking on Karen was a gamble, but a necessary one if Nikki was to move up the rankings. 10 months ago Helen had matched the two women up in order to see just how good Nikki was and might become, expecting the tough, experienced German would be too good, but Nikki had surprised both Helen and Karen and instead of carrying the younger fighter for 7 or 8 rounds, as agreed with Helen,
Karen stopped Nikki in round 4 after taking some heavy punishment from the talented youngster. Having to yell almost in Cobhams ear because of the noise, Helen replied “If Nikki wins we can start pushing for an eliminator for the BWBA title! A couple more good wins should see us through to an eliminator!” Cobham grinned, knowing exactly what Helen was referring to!
Meanwhile Karen had been pushed against the ropes as Nikki continued her assault, the crowd cheering and chanting her name! Karen was taking heavy punishment as Nikki stood off and picked her shots but the German woman came back, grasping Nikki with her strong arms and holding on while she took a much needed breather! Nikki felt Karen’s hot breath in her ear. “Is that the best you have, girl?” Karen panted, pulling Nikki close to her sweating, heaving breasts.
The referee told them to “break”, moving in to pull them apart, but Karen stepped back and threw a hard left to Nikki’s breast, bringing boos and jeers from the crowd and a warning from the ref! At the restart Karen waded in with fists flying knowing she needed to score some points. Nikki was driven back, ducking and blocking most of Karen’s punches but a few found their mark as the German concentrated on Nikki’s body, hoping to slow the younger fighter down. Fighting back Nikki swung a looping right hander, rocking Karen, but there was no time to follow it up as the bell sounded for the end of round 3!
“I’d say you won that round” said Terry as he sponged Nikki down “but it was close! Don’t get into a slugging match, that’s what she wants!” Then he noticed that the tie string on Nikki’s bikini top was broken. “I’ll try to fix this” he said but Nikki replied “Don’t worry about it Terry, just take it off” Terry did as he was asked and Nikki came out for round 4 topless, her firm full breasts glistening under the lights. For the spectators this was a real bonus!
Round 4 was easily Nikki’s as she controlled the ring and out boxed her German opponent, picking her off with good, accurate punches which came at the beleaguered Karen from all angles, but the resilient German woman refused to go down, taking Nikki’s best shots and even rallying at the end of the round with a flurry of her own which had the crowd applauding her for her sheer guts!
In her corner Nikki sat gasping for air as Terry cooled her off with cold water which he squeezed over her sweat soaked body from his sponge. “Why didn’t she go down?” she panted, “I hit her with everything!” “Don’t talk, just breathe!” ordered Terry “You’re well in front, take a breather in the next, save your energy!” Nikki nodded, her breasts rising and falling as she greedily sucked air into her lungs.
Nikki answered the bell for round 5 and for the first 90 seconds her clever footwork kept her out of Karen’s range but as the round went on Karen got closer as Nikki’s legs grew tired. Finally, Karen trapped her in a corner, pushing her against the post. Nikki covered up behind her gloves but Karen’s target was her belly and ribs! Nikki winced as a vicious right drove low into her bikini bottoms. Karen, head down, heard the smack of leather on flesh and Nikki’s gasp of pain, and knew she had been hurt! Wind milling fists battered Nikki’s arms and body as she desperately tried to cover up from the torrent of punches Karen was throwing. Her gloves began to drop under the pounding, offering the German fighter another target! The crowd roared, amazed at the intensity of Karen’s attack, and screamed for their favorite to fight back, but it was all Nikki could do to defend herself! A swinging left caught the besieged young boxers head, spraying sweat from her hair over the ringside seats. She gagged as a wicked blow ripped into her belly, doubling her over. An uppercut crashed through her guard into her breast! The referee saved Nikki from more punishment as he pulled Karen away. Neither fighter had heard the bell in the tremendous noise and frenzied action!
Karen dropped onto her stool, wearier than she could remember! Her stamina had always been good and she was known for her resilience, but rarely had she taken so many good shots! After round 4 she knew she had to increase the tempo and put pressure on her young opponent who was looking tired after her tremendous opening rounds, and now, as she gazed at Nikki in the opposite corner, she had to admit a grudging respect for the young English girl.
Round 6. Leaving their respective corners, the two fighters came out cautiously, looking to conserve energy as they moved slowly around the ring. Nikki was flat footed now, the spring gone from her tired legs, but her movement was still easy and fluid. Karen peeked out from behind her gloves, in no hurry to get in close, occasionally pushing out her solid jab, which Nikki easily fended off.
Halfway through the round Karen once more started to increase the tempo, stalking Nikki and probing for an opening. She fired off two quick jolting jabs and a short right cross which struck just under Nikki’s elbow in her already sore ribs. This time Karen saw the pain on Nikki’s face and stepped smartly inside, feinting with her right, and as Nikki dropped her arms to protect her body, a stunning left hook exploded on her head, just above the right eye!
Nikki, her eye filling with tears, blurring her vision, had little defense as Karen assailed her with punches, sending the half blind girl reeling and rolling like a rag doll! Helplessly Nikki tried to grab and hold, but the German pushed her off and went for the kill! Nikki was pounded mercilessly, her lank, sodden hair whipping from side to side as Karen’s fists crashed into her head!
The referee watched anxiously, concerned at the amount of punishment the young English boxer was taking. Nikki was still unable to see properly and her eye was starting to swell, further impairing her vision. Another crippling blow landed low on Nikki’s bikini bottoms and the following uppercut sent her crashing to the canvas! With the partisan crowd screaming at Nikki to get up Karen leaned over the ropes, breathing heavily as the referee started to count. “4!” Nikki groped for the bottom rope and heaved herself to her knees! “6!” Karen, alerted by the cheers and yells from the crowd watched amazed as Nikki struggled to her feet! “8!” Stopping the count the referee wiped off Nikki’s gloves, looking long and hard into her eyes! Through her bruised, puffy lips Nikki gasped “And is that the best YOU have?” Before Karen could respond the bell brought the round to a close!
“Jeez Nikki!” said Terry as he went to work immediately on her swollen eye “She gave you a hell of a beating! Are you ok?” Another voice said harshly “Just do your job, you bloody fool! Get that swelling down?” Grabbing the sponge Helen wiped blood away Nikki’s mouth and nose and, her voice full of concern, said “How are you feeling Nikki? Can you carry on? You’re ahead still on points!” Nikki grinned, pleased that Helen had come to see her. “My ribs hurt” she panted “but I’ll be alright!” The referee came over and said “Nearly time! Are you continuing?”
“She’s continuing!” Helen replied.
After the previous rounds beating Nikki was in no hurry to get to grips with Karen. Her main concern was just surviving! Terry had done a good job on her eye, reducing the swelling and smearing it with grease. It still stung, but at least she could see clearly! Nikki’s left side was sore, but Terry had assured her nothing was broken.
Round 7 and both women were desperately tired. Nikki’s long, slender legs ached with fatigue and her arms were heavy, the gloves on her hands feeling like lead weights. With her elbows tucked in protecting her sore ribs and her damaged eye hidden behind her gloves Nikki left her corner expecting Karen to launch an all out attack!
Karen hauled herself up from her stool and moved slowly to the centre of the ring. The last round had been a good one for her but she had expended a lot of energy, and thrown a lot of punches! Her growing respect for her opponent had increased when Nikki got up from the canvas after taking a sustained beating. This wasn’t the same young girl she had beat 10 months ago!
With the crowd hollering the two boxers warily circled each other, both waiting for the other to make the first move. Karen groped with her jab but stayed out of range while Nikki kept low, her guard well up. For over a minute neither landed a punch, but with a sway of her hips Nikki wrong footed Karen and tagged her with a beautiful left which wobbled the German!
A hard short right exploded on Karen’s breast and another left clipped her chin before she managed to clinch, wrapping Nikki up in her arms! Too tired to push the German off Nikki leaned into her, blending her sweat with Karen’s as they pressed against each other breast to breast. With less than a minute of the round remaining the referee ordered the two exhausted women to “box on” after pulling them apart and Nikki responded with a slashing blow to Karen’s jaw which the German just reared away from! Urged on by the crowd Nikki went after Karen catching her with another looping right hand which brought blood from her nose but also spurred the hurt woman into action.
Standing toe to toe the two fighters slugged it out in the middle of the ring, bringing the crowd once more to their feet! With the bell just second’s away Karen fell, dropped by a wild round house left that seemed to come at her from the back of the Bloxham Manor arena! Face down, her breasts crushed under her weight, she lay with one hand stretched out before her and the other by her side. At the count of “6!” the bell rang!
Nikki flopped onto her stool and Helen and Terry got to work. At the bell Karen had just started to drag herself to her knees. Helped back to her corner she looked in a bad way with blood flowing from her nose and a cut under her left eye, her face puffy and marked. “Now listen!” ordered Helen “Next round you go for her, understand? Don’t give her time to rest out there! I know you’re tired and hurt but one more round will finish her, ok? She knows she has to stop you to win and she has to do it this round. She’s out on her feet! Now stand up! Let her see how strong you are still!” Nikki got to her feet with still some 10 seconds to go before the bell for round 8 and stared across at her opponent, slumped on her stool.
From somewhere Nikki found the energy to get back up on her toes, skipping across the ring like it was the start of the fight! Her jab flicked out hard and sharp, stinging Karen as it speared into her face. Karen was dismayed and disheartened by her opponent’s new found vitality and retreated, her hopes of winning the fight retreating with her! A stunning right hook crashed into her temple and Karen reeled drunkenly. Her legs started to buckle as Nikki thumped a big left into her belly and after a chopping right to her jaw and another left, Karen was down again! Totally spent Nikki hardly heard the count as she stood bent over in her own corner gasping with her gloved hands on her knees. A huge cheer erupted and Helen leapt into the ring, hugging the drained and shattered Nikki as she wearily raised her arms in victory! Karnes corner had thrown in the towel rather than let the beaten woman be counted out!
“Ladies and Gentlemen! We have just seen one of the best fights ever staged here at Bloxham Manor, so please show your appreciation for the gallant loser, Karen Marks!” The crowd cheered, giving Karen a standing ovation. “And now, the winner of tonight’s amazing contest, Bloxhams very own Fighter Girl, Miss Nikki Martin!” Nikki waved a huge grin on her face as she posed for the cameras. Then she went over to Karen and hugged her, holding the Germans arm aloft in the magnanimous gesture which had endeared her to her fans.
Helen glanced at Cobham as he applauded from his seat, a thin smile on his lips. She knew he would be eagerly awaiting the day “Fighter Girl” made her debut at Female Fight Time!