This past Friday Eric Utsch returned to action after a layoff of over a year. He stepped in the ring at the Friday Night Fights Muay Thai event to take on veteran Sean Hinds. When the bout was over Utsch, his trainer and fans in attendance were surprised at the decision the judges rendered, a split decision victory in favor of Hinds. Eric Utsch and his trainer Eric Haycraft were kind enough to sit down and talk about their thoughts on the judge's decision.
Eric Utsch was surprised by the decision and is hoping the WKA reviews the decision.
MTA: Eric (Utsch) you came back from a long lay off, how did you feel in the ring?
Eric Utsch: I felt good, the way I spar here in my home town and at camp it’s like a fight. As hard as you can punch and kick.
MTA: You pressed the action throughout the fight and attacked the entire fight, even scoring a knockdown in the first round. Was there any doubt in your mind when the fight was over that it was not going to go your way?
Eric Utsch: No the whole time the game plan was working that Eric made up. I was fighting Thai style and Dutch. Anyway you want to judge it I thought I was winning.
MTA: What was the first thing that ran through your mind when the decision was announced?
Eric Utsch: I thought I had been screwed over by the judges.
MTA: Having had a few days to sit back and reflect on the fight, have your thoughts changed at all, do you feel it was close enough that you might be able to understand why the judges awarded Hinds the fight?
Eric Utsch: Sometimes I punch too much and they say I am too much Dutch style and that’s why I lost, but this time everything was even. Good punches, good throws in the clinch and I landed more body kicks too.
MTA: What’s your next move now, anyone you would like to fight?
Eric Utsch: I would like to see the video of the fight and have the WKA look over it or have some people look it over who have an idea how to judge. I am looking to move on as fast as I can. I fight 160lbs now, looking to fight some K-1 rules. I just want to win so I can move up to bigger shows and more $. I got a good team, I like to be with at Real Fighters and great coach now. At the end of the day I am not taking nothing away from Sean he's a fighter and he fought a good fight, but WKA judges saying that I didn’t win, something must be wrong. I would like to end with if it’s not Dutch it’s not much, Souwer power osu!
A coach has a different vantage point for the fight, but much like Eric Utsch, his coach Eric Haycraft strongly feels that the wrong decision was made in the fight between Utsch and Hinds.
MTA: Eric (Haycraft) would you say the fight with Hinds went for you guys as far as implementing game plan and strategy?
Eric Haycraft: For every strategy I develop for a fight I have the best case scenario and then the back up strategy. The back up strategy is always what I know will win in its simplest form. In this fight the first 2 and 1/2 rounds were a lot more of the main plan and as Eric started to get deeper in the fight it became more of Plan B. Either way he was dominating.
MTA: Utsch kept moving forward and pushing the pace, as a trainer do you look at this as a necessity to establish not only control in the fight but in the judge’s eyes?
Eric Haycraft: Judges eyes are something I have yet to figure out. Haha. We are a Dutch kickboxing gym. We fight kickboxing and Muay Thai but our style is fast pace and balls to the wall. I think early on this broke Sean. Sean was smaller and it’s harder for a smaller guy to generate the force he needs always back peddling.
MTA: When it was over were you fairly confident Utsch had won?
Eric Haycraft: I was. In fact, I let him know after each round who I thought had won. Going into the fifth I had us up 4-0. I think Sean took the last round simply because Eric took that round off.
MTA: What were your thoughts when the decision was announced?
Eric Haycraft: Well I was kind of dumbfounded after the first judge gave it to Sean. I know from everyone's body language that everyone there knew who had won. After the decision was announced of course I pan the room looking for eyes and each set I meet was looking back like ummmm......
MTA: As a trainer looking at the fight, are there things that you can think of now that might have cost Utsch the fight?
Eric Haycraft: Nothing in the fight. I think perhaps the judges were perhaps in a bubble that gave them rose colored glasses for their area and the area's fighters. The worst part is when everyone comes up and whispers under their breath,"we know who the real winner was." Say it out loud! I mean it won’t change the outcome but if you really believe that then have the balls to say it out loud. Maybe if more people in the know or in positions of control did say it out loud it would trickle down the judges overall comprehension.
After the fight all the guys that I have seen around the USA, over seas came in and were like WTF?? I know these guys. I know their history. I’m not saying the judges are qualified or not but I certainly dont see them at shows around the country or the world for the last 20 plus years.