Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

At Plush, Kickboxers Are Ready to Rumble

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

At Plush, Kickboxers Are Ready to Rumble

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Capitano

It's funny to see a boxing ring in the middle of the Plush nightclub. During most of my Plush visits, that space has been filled with billows of foam standing 5 feet high in some spots, shirtless guys and bikini-topped girls all sudsed up and dancing their troubles away.

There will be no foam tonight, as man-on-man combat will be the main attraction. It's Friday Night Fight time, an International Kickboxing Federation-sanctioned rumble that Plush has hosted monthly since April.

I must say that Fight Night is one of the more exciting happenings I've seen around town. It's an organized and well-attended event, action-packed, and it even carries a bit of Michael Buffer Las Vegas-style glamour - what with the swirling searchlights and plenty of female guests in cocktail dresses.

The night starts on the tame side, with good, old-fashioned arm wrestling in the center of the ring. The male and female defending champions take on any audience member bold enough to challenge them. A bit of cash goes to the challenger for winning, but the champs are tough to topple, no matter how much bigger or stronger the challenger appears. In arm wrestling, size just does not matter.

Following the arm battles, there's a big to-do to kick off the real fighting. A sharp-dressed announcer performs his crescendo of an introduction backed up by testosterone- fueled music from the likes of Kid Rock and Eminem. A dizzying light show signals the action to come, and the fighters in the competitors' area hop, jab and kick imaginary competitors to psych themselves up, their swift movements broken up by strobe light effects.

There are 10 bouts, progressing in weight class as the evening goes on. Each bout is three, two-minute rounds, and in case you lose track of things, a parade of scantily costumed ring girls take turns strutting inside the ropes with their signs bearing the correct numerical information. …

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