After the excitement of team sparring at the 2014 Irish Open on Friday night, the weight class eliminations began on Saturday. 2014 was the largest ever Irish Open and divisions boasted 70+ competitors in many. Winning meant everything and competitors were ready to put in maximum effort. At the same time, junior forms and weapons were running with the largest turn out for these divisions in the history of the event.
Forms and Weapons
The forms and weapons divisions were inundated with competitors from the United States as some of the world’s finest were in attendance. The newcomers had to contend with a big obstacle – the WAKO rules. Time requirements for performances cost Jalen Carr a win in the 12 & under boys musical contest and Cody Sanders managed to improvise to add on time in his routine but still only took second in 13-15 boys musical forms. Sanders made up for it with a win in traditional form. Other youth traditional forms winners were Jessie Jane McPharlan, Mikel Fresan Porter, Megan Ellis, Megan Abel, Justin Liu and Jackson Rudolph.
In the kids musical forms divisions, Jessie Jane McPharlan took a second win. Oliver Turner, Angelina Kopytova, Aleksander Iushaov and Mackensi Emory took wins.
The kids weapons and adult divisions were run on Sunday. The turn out was so large that the divisions were running constantly throughout the day. Jackson Rudolph won his weapons division. In traditional forms, Becca Ross of the USA won for the women which Jason Baird of the UK won for the men. Roberto Zanini was the veterans winner for traditional form. In open forms Paige Cerson of the UK won for the women and Tyler Weaver of the USA was the men’s winner. Weaver and Mackensi Emory also won the team division with their performance.
Kyle Montagna won the adult traditional weapons division. Kady Robinson won women’s weapons. Reid Presley’s double bo routine amazed everyone and he earned four 10s – an Irish Open first – to win the adult musical weapons competition.
The weight eliminations finals were held during the Irish Open finals on Saturday night. A chance for everyone to see the last fight for each point fighting division and some of the final light contact and full contact fights as well. Demonstration performances by Amerikick and Paul Mitchell competitors entertained the crowd between the fights.
-57 kg Men Point
WAKO rules allow anyone 15 and over to fight in the adult divisions. 15 year old Roland Veres of Hungary tried his hand in this weight class and found himself facing Robbie Lavoie of Canada in the finals. Veres used his blitzes and front hand jabs to get ahead 7-6 after round one. In the second round, young Veres pulled ahead to gain a lead and hold it for a 16-11 finish and his first Irish Open title.
-50 kg Women Point
Another Veres was on stage, this time Mercedes Veres of Hungary and she faced Ireland’s Shauna Bannon. The ladies hit hard in round one and ended tied 4-4. In the second round, Veres could not get anything started and Bannon pulled ahead to win 8-4 for the title. Bannon continues her Cinderella year – 2013 Irish Open Open Weight winner and World Combat Games winner in 2013 as well.
-63 kg Men Point
Ritchie Veres of Hungary made sure that there would be more Veres on stage in the finals. Ritchie faced Davide Colla of Italy. Veres delivered some nice blows and was up 5-1 after the first round. In the second round, Veres landed more resounding hand techniques. He capitalized on every mistake made by Colla and never let up throughout the match. In the end, it was Veres with the win.
-69 kg Men Point
The USA had some representation in the weight class finals with Justin Ortiz of Team Paul Mitchell facing Timmy Sarantoudis of Germany. Ortiz was looking good and up 3-2 after the first round. Sarantoudis turned it on in the second round to pull ahead and win his first Irish Open title with a 7-5 score at the buzzer.
-60 kg Women Point
Shauna Bannon of Ireland was back and facing Evelyn Neyens of Belgium for the -60 kg women’s title. Remember that under WAKO rules, competitors can fight in their own weight class and one weight class up if desired. Neyens left nothing to chance and was up 6-2 at the end of round one. Bannon mounted a comeback in the second round and tied it up 9-9 at the buzzer. In over time, Neyens was able to score and hold the lead to get the win.
+70 kg Women Point
Natasha Walker of UK and Henrietta Nagy of Hungary faced off for the title. Nagy already had a nice shiner from team sparring and she wasn’t taking no for an answer. Nagy held on to win the title.
-89 kg Men Point
Fivous Sourfos of Greece and Eduardo Esposito of Mexico pummeled each other for this match. Sourfos was up 6-5 at the end of the first round and held his lead to take the title after the second round.
-94 kg Men Point
Trevor Nash of Canada fought through a large group to make it to the stage to face Ryan Marlow of UK. The two had already fought in team sparring with Nash coming out the victor. This time, Marlow played it smart and got on the board first. Nash responded with a kick to Marlow’s face but it was Marlow ahead 4-3 at the end of the first round. In round two, Marlow held his lead against a frustrated Nash with Marlow being awarded the win.
-79 kg Men Point
Dean Barry of Ireland faced Tilen Zajc of Slovenia in this match. Barry was up 3-1 after the first round. In the second round, Barry landed kick after kick to dominate and take the win with a 12-1 score.
-70 kg Women Point
Bev Sturzaker of the UK faced Jahanna Brunnbauer of Germany in this division final. Sturzaker was able to overcome Brunnbauer to win the match and finish with a nice kick to Brunnbauer’s face.
+94 kg Men Point
Paola Nicefro of Italy and Kalon Page of UK were the big guys and could have taken out the entire crowd if they fell of the stage. Page walked into a kick to the face by Nicefro and could not get things started. Nicefro was up 9-5 as time ran down and held the lead for the win.
-55 kg Women Point
Caradh O’Donovan of Ireland was up 8-1 over Evita Viltaniota of Greece by the middle of round two of their fight. O’Donocan held on to take the win.
-65 kg Men Point
Lazaros Konstantinou of Greece faced Mark McDermott of Ireland for this division. McDermott hit Konstantinou with a couple of late shots in round one and knocked Konstantinou out. Konstantinou got back up to finish the fight. McDermott was up 5-4 at the end of the first round. In the end McDermott held his lead to take his first Irish Open win.
-65 kg Women Point
Chelsey Nash of Canada faced Adrienn Kadas of Hungary for this weight title. The two spent time strategizing and the score was low at only 1-1 after the first round. In the second round, Nash found her rhythm and went up 3-1 after a nice head kick. She then scored two more kicks to solidify her lead and take the win.
-84 kg Men Point
Robbie McMenamy of Ireland faced Roman Brundl of Austria. McMenamy figured out Brundl quickly and was ahead 8-2 after the first round. A sweep in the second round by McMenamy merely helped him to strengthen his lead as McMenamy ended with the win.
Congratulations also to Nathan Key who won his full contact division at the event. Other full contact information that we are aware of is that Greg Betlach of the USA was eliminated in the semi-finals and Jose Mariscal lost to Nathan Key in a semi-final round.
After all the fighting on Saturday, Sunday was the day for the coveted Open Weight division eliminations and finals for men and women.