Diamond Nationals Hits Attendance Record; New Superfight Winners
Jack Felton wins the men’s lightweight Superfight title.
The report back from the 2012 Diamond Nationals was that attendance was the highest it has been since 2004. The turnout was evident in the men’s Superfight divisions with the divisions being split into various rings to get through all of the competitors. Boys black belt forms and weapons divisions were also packed, with competitors lined up around the rings. The event was held October 3-4, 2012 in Bloomington, Minnesota. The absence of some of the top rated men’s fighters like Raymond Daniels and Ross Levine and the arrival of new foreign competitors led to interesting endings in the fighting competition.
Team Paul Mitchell made a bold move by adding top Hungarian fighters Zsolt Moradi and Laszlo Gombos to their line-up. This strategy resulted in Paul Mitchell dominating the men’s team sparring division with the two Paul Mitchell entries taking first and second place. This nearly translated to domination in the fighting division as Paul Mitchell’s Chelsey Nash of Canada won the women’s grand championship title and Moradi went to the stage for the men’s final against Team Next Level’s Lawrence ‘Kodaq’ Wray. Wray fought his way through the 30 and over men’s divisions to make it to the stage. The match between Wray and Moradi appeared to be all Moradi until Wray started to break through Moradi’s awesome lead leg kick. An ecstatic Wray was able to get the lead as the buzzer rang and shock Paul Mitchell with his first diamond ring win.
The boys dominated in the kids divisions with Dallas Liu taking home two junior diamond rings in forms and weapons. Local traditionalist Brendan Rasinski had tears in his eyes as he accepted his first Diamond Nationals grand championship in the 14-17 forms competition. The bo was spinning so fast you could barely see it as Jackson Rudolph kept his cool and won in the 14-17 weapons competition.
Jennifer Espina was the women’s weapons winner in the finals and Caitlin Dechelle made sure to go home with her ninth diamond ring as she won the women’s forms grand championship. Dechelle took a second title in the synchronized teams finals with partner and boyfriend Marc Canonizado. Steven Grasz received nearly perfect 10s with his traditional sword routine
Caitlin Dechelle won women’s forms grands and synchronized teams.
which won the men’s grand championship. Matt Emig’s injured finger kept him out of the men’s weapons competition but he went all out in men’s forms to win the grand championship title.
The competition that closed out the Diamond Nationals was the Superfight finals. It came down to Jack Felton who had quietly showed up at the tournament and was ready to show his stuff. He faced Hamed Firouzi for the lightweight title. In the heavyweights, BJ Carnahan had knocked out Alex Dingmann in an earlier round and he faced Elias Lemon for the final fight in the men’s heavyweight Superfight competition.
In the final heavyweight fight, Carnahan and Lemon delivered some hard hits. Lemon was methodical and looked comfortable. This led him to the win over Carnahan and his second Superfight title. In the lightweight competition, Firouzi was defending his title. Firouzi had defeated Felton in the individual point sparring division during the day time eliminations and Felton was not going to go home empty-handed. Felton started strong and held a lead through the entire fight. He ended the winner with his first Superfight win.