Chapter 494 Boxing Fight
Every night, the alley behind owl tavern was abuzz with noise and activity.
Loafers and nearby laborers loved coming here after work. There was no Tiktok or Weibo in this era. Hence there was also no turning into keyboard warriors, and entertainment was sorely limited, especially for these lower-class citizens of the society. They couldn’t afford a game of golf or attend fancy dance parties like the wealthy gentlemen and ladies, nor would they understand the sophistication of theatre.
One thing this group of men preferred, however, was a sport like boxing, where flesh met flesh and spattered blood and sweat were everywhere. Now, this was indeed a man’s romance. Combine that with some money, and the entire prospect became an exhilarating and adrenalin pumping undertaking for the underprivileged lot.
The truth was, it wasn’t just the workers, but even the rich enjoyed this brutal amusement. Among the rowdy crowd were gentlemen dressed in fine suits and hats. They tapped their canes, waving money in the air like they were toilet paper. A group of onlookers had gathered in a circle, leaving a space in the center for tonight’s two main protagonists. One was a hulk of a man who worked in a shipyard. The muscles on his arms bulged, and his chest was covered in a carpet of thick hair like a bulletproof vest. They called him Anchor Quinn, inspired by the tattoo on his right arm, and he was a regular among the underground fight club. He scored 13 winnings and six losses in the past three months, and he could have reverted the losses.
Tonight, his opponent was an unfamiliar face. Asians were rare in London, especially those who spoke fluent English. This one claimed to be a famous traveler from a wealthy family, probably equivalent to a British squire. His hands belonged to one who had never done a days’ labor, and his healthy but far from strapping physique had many of the spectators feeling less than optimistic about him.
“What the hell is this? Couldn’t they find a better fighter?”
“I bet he won’t last ten rounds against Anchor. That poor bastard will most probably end up in the hospital!”
“Ten rounds? I don’t think he can even last five! If the guy has any sense at all, he should kneel and beg for mercy before it even starts.”
“If memory serves me right, he won’t get any money then…”
“Instead of thinking about making money, he should think about protecting his own little
The crowd discussed among themselves, the odds between the two competitors, worlds apart.
On the one hand, Zhang Heng’s odds had jumped to 7/1, and on the other, Anchor’s was only 1.9/1. In other words, if you were to place a pound on Anchor, and he won, you would earn less than two shillings. But even then, the majority placed their bets on Anchor. After all, it was free money.
It was a shame that small-scale street boxing promoters had limited funds. As a result, each indivudual betting limit was capped at five pounds, also an effective method to keep anyone from bribing a boxer to secretly manipulate the game. Otherwise, winning by quantity was also an excellent way to make money. However, for most of these workers, five pounds was a lot of money. Since it was rare that they encountered such a risk-free opportunity to make money, people had began borrowing money before the match started.
And what happened next confirmed the people’s verdict.
While Anchor had his share of shortcomingsclumsy and threw slow punches-every punch he threw was firm. Under his violent offensive, his poor opponent, the Easterner, could only dodge, and even so, still received several punches on the body.
Until now, he did not even have a chance to attack, completely subdued by Anchor’s overwhelming firepower. “Kill him! Anchor! Tear him apart! We don’t need sissies in a man’s sport!”
“Show him what English men are made of!”
The crowd’s fervent cheers seemed to give Anchor an injection of renewed strength. His awkward, clumsy movements became faster and lighter. Zhang Heng received two more punches, and he wasn’t looking too good.
The crowd exploded into applause. Holmes, who had been observing from the sidelines, wanted to laugh. So far, Zhang Heng had been on the receiving end of the punches, and it looked like he was never going to win. But only a seasoned observer could see that those punches didn’t damage Zhang Heng too badly. Anchor’s movements were so slow that before his fist struck, Zhang Heng had already raised an arm to protect himself. So, even though the Asian looked like he was at a disadvantage, he was actually holding up pretty well.
Zhang Heng’s breathing had remained unchanged since the beginning of the fight, and his footsteps were methodical. On the other hand, Anchor, who had the supposed upper hand, had begun to pant-a lack of stamina, a common problem among strength-type fighters. Especially when encouraged by the roar of the audience, he struck again with full force at the cost of slowing down after the rush of adrenaline had passed.
It was almost time to fight back, Holmes thought to himself.
Just then, Zhang Heng began to make a move. This time, when Anchor swung a fist at him, Zhang Heng did not block the blow, instead, he moved half a step forward, and with a slight tilt of the head, avoided the fist. A panicked look flashed across Anchor’s eyes. As a boxer, he recognized just how bad his situation was. He had thrown so much strength into that punch that it was impossible to retrieve it halfway.
On top of that, his chest was also wide open-a bad time to be so close to his opponent.
But he very quickly, he recomposed himself. So what if his opponent was near? Judging by the earlier sparring, his opponent’s performance had been rather lackluster. Anchor, holding true to the idea of ‘punch first, then use the opportunity to grab the opponent and put an end to this long overdue game,’ he regained confidence.
“It’s never a good habit to underestimate your opponent,” Holmes tutted, rubbing his chin.
The next thing he saw was Zhang Heng, striking Anchor’s face.
The punch was more painful than Anchor expected. A tooth, along with a spray of blood, had been knocked off. His brawny frame helped him weather the force, though, and he managed to stay upright. So, things weren’t looking too bad.
It was now his turn.
Anchor’s hand curled into a fist. He was about to strike Zhang Heng on the head, confident it would siffice to knock the Asian to the ground.
But before he could swing his arm, he received another punch on the right cheek.
What?! So fast?!
Blinded by the punch, Anchor began to stagger, and all the strength reserved in his bodywas completely drained off him.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Zhang Heng clapped Anchor’s ears hard with his palms, and the otoliths in the semicircular canals that controled the balance of the body were affected. Anchor began swaying like drunk.
He could barely walk straight, let alone fight. His mind was a puddle.
Naturally, Zhang Heng did not miss the opportunity, and ended the long but not-in-the-least-bit dangerous battle with an uppercut.
Anchor’s giant body fell to the ground with a sickening thud.
Suddenly, the once unruly cheers and shouts evaporated, and a heavy silence filled the alley. Mouths were left ajar, and waving handkerchiefs hung in mid-air. The people’s eyes were gaping wide, as if unable to process the sudden turn of events they had just witnessed.
How could Anchor, who had the very clear advantage, be knocked out just like that?