Holy F@$%ing Phantom Punch in Romania

Friday, November 13, 2015

At RXF 15 Bucharest MMA All Stars, on 15 December 2014, in Bucharest, Romania, heavyweights Robert Orbocea and Raul Sabou squared off, for six seconds. Sabou, seen in red fight shorts, lunged in with a ferocious left hook; it landed, and sweat flew from Orbocea’s face.

Then Sabou dropped, insensate.

As Sabou lunged in, Orbocea edged back, and with his left arm extended awkwardly delivered a fist to the button. What looks at first like the result of a chin made of the finest, most fragile crystal, or maybe a partisan sniper in the audience, is actually part of an Eastern European boxing technique called Casting.

It works.

The original Phantom Punch took place on May 1965 in one of the hotspots for boxing worldwide – Lewiston, Maine. Muhammad Ali had a rematch with Sonny Liston, landing a right in the first that few saw land. Ali then stood over a prone Liston screaming at him to get up. You have seen the image.

After the fight, Ali said the strike was Jack Johnson’s secret Anchor Punch, and that he learned it from actor Stepin Fetchit.

“It’s a chop, so fast you can’t see it,” said Ali. “It’s karate. It’s got a twist to it. Just one does the job.”

One does the job indeed.

HFS origins

One of the owners of the dominant and defining league in mixed martial arts was asked once to define the power of the sport.

“… there’s the holy s— factor,” he explained. “Actually, they said ‘the holy f—ing s— factor.’ It happens at every fight. At least one or two times in every show, whether you say it out loud or you say it to yourself, you go, ‘holy shit did that just happen?’ I mean, you might see somebody do a flip, get kicked in the head, get knocked out with a punch. At some point, you’re going ‘whoah, did that just happen? Did I really just see that?’ That’s the nucleus of what our product is.”

The UnderGround scours the sport to find those HOLY F@$%ING S#!^ moments from across the globe.

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