The 2016 Amerikick Internationals impressed and improved again. In sport karate as in all sports, evolution is critical. We must push the boundaries of yesteryear in order to excel to new heights. The same thing applies to tournament promoters. Your tournament must evolve if you want to stay relevant. This is one lesson that Amerikick took to heart. Held in historic downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the weekend of April 1-2, 2016 Amerikick offered a great location full of American history, and a walkable tournament venue. With Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches right around the corner, it was an atmosphere to remember.
The spacious Philadelphia convention center allowed the entire tournament to be held in one room. With a location of this size, it eliminated the problem of running from room to room to see a teammate or a junior competitor. The PA system was clear and loud for those inevitable ring
change assignments. This event drew from the local states as well as bringing in famous faces from all over. However, this year Amerikick raised the stakes and invited some of Europe’s best to fight in the Open Weight division.
Amerikick seeded 7 top fighters allowing the sole winner of the Friday night eliminations of men’s Open Weight to earn the final spot. Before Saturday the lineup included: Jack Felton, Ross Levine, Josh Horwege, Austrian kicking machine Roman Bründl, Anthony Merricks, Germany’s Timmy Sarantoudis and Irish stand out Dean Barry. Jason Grenier of Team Impex blasted through a huge panel of top competitors to fight his way into the final open spot. With that line-up set, most people could not wait to see the finale.
The night time finals did not disappoint. Team Impex swept both men’s and women’s team fighting and set off to cheer on its two team members in the Open Weight finals. Derek Meegan, Ariel Torres, Reid Presley, Sammy Smith and Haley Glass were a few of the Black Belt winners in forms and weapons but this night was heavily slanted towards fighting and the crowd could not wait until the Open Weight finals would begin.
Jack Felton used great movement and counters to get past Jason Grenier while Roman Bründl used his dynamic kicking ability to best Ross Levine. On the other side of the bracket, Timmy Sarantoudis was forced to bow out of an exciting match due to a knee injury which advanced Anthony Merricks. Josh Horwege did his best but he could not get past the offense and sweeps (which are legal in open weight) of rising star Dean Barry.
In the semi-finals Jack Felton does what he does best and out angled Roman Bründl to earn a spot in the finals. Dean Barry and Anthony Merricks put on quite the show with Merricks edging out Barry for the win. In the finals it was all Jack Felton who cruised to the 2016 Amerikick Open Weight title.
Be sure to look for the edited version of the Amerikick finals to be broadcast on your local Comcast station. After the finals we were able to settle in and grab an authentic Philly Cheesesteak to put the final topping on a great experience.