Back in July, Elvis Gashi stepped in on short notice to face Josh Jauncey at GLORY 43. The Kosovo-born Bronx resident then scored one of the biggest upsets in recent GLORY history by stopping the Canadian prospect in the second round of their fight.
On Friday night, Gashi again made the short journey from his Bronx home to Madison Square Garden for his second GLORY fight of 2017. Standing opposite him this time was Nate Richardson, also coming off a win in his GLORY debut this summer.
At one point it looked like Gashi would be scoring his second stoppage win in GLORY, and just one minute into the fight at that. A hard left cross from his southpaw stance landed flush on Richardson’s jaw and sent him crashing to the canvas for an eight count.
With Richardson on wobbly legs it seemed Gashi would find a finishing blow, but in his enthusiasm he rushed his work and Ricardson was able to variously tie him up or employ frantic head movement to stay out of harm’s way and make it to the end of the round.
Richardson’s head movement served him well throughout the rest of the bout, measured slips and ducks sending much of Gashi’s output sliding harmlessly past or over his head, often by a distance of just millimeters.
As a result Gashi often found himself firing off power-shot combinations into thin air, expending energy for no reward. His efforts began to tire him and his form lost sharpness. In the final half of the fight, even when he did land, the punches often lacked snap.
Richardson doggedly worked away on the attack and managed to open up a cut next to Gashi’s left eye late in the second round. In the third round Gashi found himself wearing a mask of blood on the left side of this face, a vision which may have resonated with the judges.
Though Gashi’s straight left remained dangerous, Richardson never again looked threatened in the way that he had in the first round. At the same time, Gashi’s superior height and range meant that Richardson also struggled to find the clean blows he needed to emphatically turn the fight in his favor.
Richardson was pushing the pace at the end of the third round, with Gashi fighting a rearguard action, and it would have been interesting to see what a fourth round would have brought.
But after three rounds the judges felt they had seen enough. All three returned a unanimous decision in Gashi’s favor, a scoreline which does no justice to the closeness of the last two-thirds of the fight.
Elvis Gashi def. Nate Richardson, Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)