She entered the ring with a "little
smile" for her inner circle – a "rictus of confidence" Thomas
Simon of L'Est Républicain called it – "that contrasted
starkly with the dour concentration of the French woman." There
was a reason, too, for the confidence. "I'm a far better boxer
than Mathis," Couch told
This is Bristol last
week. "She might have a big punch, but she's going to have to
catch up with me if she wants to use it. She hasn't been in with
anyone with my technique before now and I know I have the
beating of her."
So the "Fleetwood Assassin" knew
she had the beating of the Frenchwoman. And Mathis a mother
too! Where was Sarko, we wondered? Was he just going to let this
We're so used, you see, here in
France, to our president leaping into airplanes or issuing
appeals whenever French citizens (Colombians… Spaniards…
Romanians…) are in jeopardy that his laissez-faire
attitude on this occasion was not only dismaying but baffling.
Had he been paid off? we wondered. Was that the meaning of the
We needn't have worried. In the time
it takes to say "Paris vaut bien une messe", the world
champion had sandblasted the smirk off Couch's face. It was like
the Cheshire Cat, only in reverse. First the grin. Then the rest
of her. And the Fleetwood Assassin was…er… histoire.
She got off lightly. (Compared to
She took a clobbering, admittedly, in the first round, but the
second was only 30 seconds old when the referee decided he'd
seen enough and sprang to her rescue, sparing Couch "an even
more ignominious fate", as Simon put it. By this time, she'd
begun to "totter ominously", he says, "but nonetheless protested
the stoppage". "It's true the decision was a bit hard on her,"
conceded Mathis afterwards, "but I was about to finish her off
anyway... She'd have gone down seconds later."
Mathis, who (we read) was "scarcely
grazed" in the first round and emerged from the second "less
marked than if she'd been at the beautician's", was disappointed
the Englishwoman hadn't given her more of a workout. "I need to
fight," she said, "but when you get a chance to finish a match,
you finish it. …. What I can't understand is how she lasted ten
rounds with Clampitt."
On the same bill, Myriam Lamare
defeated Daniela David of Romania in the fourth, again by
referee's stoppage, and Aziza Oubaita pipped Simona Pencakova of
Slovakia on points.
Venue: Le Cannet (France) 8th