The National, Monday 3rd June 2013
By JACK AMI
FINLAND’S Jarkko “Turbo Diesel” Jussila earned a split decision over Papua New Guinea’s Rickson “The Powerhouse” Yamo in their 12-round World Kickboxing Federation welterweight title fight at the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex on Saturday.
The fight was an even tussle with Yamo claiming the opening five rounds before the visitor gained control from rounds 6-10.
The last two rounds saw both men swing for the fences with Jussila outworking Yamo, 28, to win on two of the three judges’ cards.
Jussila edged Yamo for the WKF 64.5kg title to add to the Intercontential title he won in Kampala, Uganda earlier in the year.
That fight proved the perfect lead-up for the 33-year-old who has travelled widely in search of competition.
The Finn used his edge in fitness and experience to take over from the 6th round onwards keeping up a constant barrage of kicks and punches which had local hero Yamo clinching everytime Jussila got within striking distance.
WKF director Fritz Exenberger, who refereered the title bout, found himself having to break up the clinches as the fight wore on.
Yamo to his credit had landed some telling blows – mostly with his fists – in first round one and the 7th but could not maintain the pressure.
Jussila slipped and blocked the majority of Yamo’s power shots and fought on even terms over the first half of the fight.
Jussila, who stands at 184cm, towered over the much shorter Yamo, who at 168cm was always going be reaching for his opponent’s chin, but that did not stop the Hela fighter who was visibly pumped by the crowd to go the duration.
Jussila’s promoter Robert Wilesmith said after the fight that it was one the best he had seen involving two quality fighters.
Wilesmith said if Yamo wanted a rematch it could be arranged.
Yamo, a professional boxer as well who has had a stop-start career since turning professional in 2007, was clearly the better puncher connecting with lead rights and countering well but neglected his kicking which may have helped sealed his fate on the scorecards.
Yamo admitted afterwards that the home crowd had given him strength to go 12 rounds after some wobbly moments at the midway mark.
Exenberger was impressed with the two fighters who got the crowd on their toes including the dancing Huli Wigmen.
Exenberger said it was up to PNG Kickboxing Association boss Stanley Nandex to prepare the winners for international titles defence.
He said PNG will stage another international event later this year or early next year.
In the bantamweight South Pacific title Kaupa Omena kicked his way to victory hurting and stopping Indonesian Eka Areka in the fifth round with a slashing kick to the visitor’s right knee.
Areka’s compatriot Alfa Tubagus suffered a simialr fate being overpowered by Jonathan Tuhu for the South Pacific title and Jeffrey Daka did the same against Australia’s Ricky Mellor.
Andy Sam was awarded the Intercontential title after his Indian opponent, Paritosh Nigam, failed to show up due to complications with his visa.