Great competition and a well-run tournament made the New England Open a successful event.

The New England Open is known for innovative divisions and a well-run event. In 2016 it lived up to the reputation. The tournament was held June 3-4, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire this year. Daytime eliminations and grand championships on Saturday were completely finished by 4:00 p.m. with most rings completed as early as 2:00 p.m. The New England Open night time finals was an ideal length of less than two and a half hours. The event featured fun divisions like Superforms, the Weapons Challenge and Michael Kors Fighting. The event also offered a well-run underbelt finals on Saturday before the black belt finals. Top competition was in the house with competitors from all over North and South America. All-in-all, the New England Open was a top notch event.

The New England Open underbelt finals ran well, taking only one and a half hours and featuring the top kids from the under belt musical weapons and forms divisions.’s intern Daulton Zschunke won double grands with other stand out performances by top underbelt competitors Sean Canavan, Isabella Nicoli, Sean O’Donnell, Jack Burns and Charlie Williams. Team Seishin’s underbelt team won the team demo competition.

The black belt kids’ forms and weapons grand championships were run off during the day with the overall winners performing demos in the finals. The 14-17 boys CMX runoffs was intense with each performer trying to outdo the one before. Danny Etkin, Aidan Considine, Shaquan Parsons, Andrew Nordland and Allen Davies all competed with Davies getting the win.

However, when it came to the over all, it was Derek Meegan was the 14-17 overall forms grand champion with his traditional routine. Meegan was joined by his teammate Mason Stowell who won the 13 & under overall forms title. Alec Jahanvash followed in his older brother Shahin’s footsteps with the overall title in 14-17 weapons while Jake Presley is also right on the heels of older brothers Reid and Cole with his 13 & under weapons win.

The New England Open adult forms and weapons competitors had their competitions on the stage with some tough battles. Tyler Weaver, Jr managed two overall titles as he won the overall men’s weapons and overall men’s CMX forms competitions. He was joined by Team Paul Mitchell teammate Sammy Smith who dominated in the women’s divisions with titles in both weapons and form. 18-year-old Ariel Torres continues to amaze the crowd with his poise in traditional forms as he took the men’s traditional forms title for the evening.

Team Straight Up continues to cultivate its juniors with wins in the girls’ team sparring competition and another title for the boys’ team. The Straight Up boys remain undefeated in 2016 with six wins in a row. With such junior dominance, Team Straight Up is setting itself up to also dominate in the adult divisions in a few years.

The men’s and women’s individual divisions were fought out during the day time eliminations. Carina Balan of Canada eliminated all opponents in the lightweight divisions to go to the finals. Nikki Pelland overcame Verona Soliman to move into the final fight against Balan. In the grand championship match, Pelland and Balan were even throughout the first round but in the second, Pelland moved ahead and held on to her lead to win.

The men’s divisions included a number of upsets and great wins. Kameren Dawson’s determination overcame Ross Levine and Levine was eliminated in an early round. Dawson’s father, Gerald Dawson, was the overall 30 and over grand champion. A pretty good accomplishment for a 50-year-old fighter.

Justin Ortiz lost to Yohan Alvarado in the lightweight division. In the welter weight division, Mathieu Williams had a great match against Kevin Walker with Williams coming out the winner. However, it was Nathan Skoufis who ultimately won the welter weight division, defeating Williams in a close fight. Nelson Rodriguez of Venezuela won the middleweight division and the middleweight grands. He went on the face the heavyweight champion Jason Grenier.

For the overalls, Jason Grenier matched up with Nelson Rodriguez for the heavyweight title. In the end, Grenier held his own and took the title. In the light weight competition, Yohan Alvarado faced Jeremy Francoeur for the overall lightweight title. In the end, it was Francoeur with the win and the title. Francoeur joined his mom and dad who also both won grand championship titles at the event.

Michael Kors fighting was a fun way for people to earn a Michael Kors watch. The new division had unique rules that encouraged action. The fights were 60 seconds in length with a requirement that between the two fighters, at least 5 points had to be scored or both fighters would be disqualified. Matches were determined by random draw. Verona Soliman was the women’s winner and Corey Williams won the men’s watch during the Saturday day time eliminations. A special challenge match was set up between Brandon Ballou of Team Straight Up and Mathieu Williams of Team KTOC during the finals. Williams ended up the winner.

Men’s team sparring was a unique situation with a “new” All Stars team in the mix. All Stars was represented by Leon Jefferson, Ross Cooke and Kevin Walker, the first time the young guns from the team matched up. They faced off against opponents such as Team Next Level, Hayabusa, Straight Up and a hybrid Team Paul Mitchell line-up of Justin Ortiz, Kameren Dawson and guest Ross Levine of Team Impex. The All Stars mix did well, advancing into the finals. Next Level held their own and defeated the Team Paul Mitchell group to advance to the finals to face All Stars. In the finals, All Stars got off the line first with good, clean performances by the fighters to take a lead and keep it. It would be Team All Stars with the overall men’s fighting win.

With the finals over before 10:00 p.m., everyone got a chance to explore a bit of the nightlife in Manchester, New Hampshire and hang out with their sport karate friends. The New England Open moves to Hartford, Connecticut in 2017  with plans for even more great concepts for the sport.

Watch some of the live streams from the event on the Facebook page: is the largest media outlet for open sport karate tournament news and information. Over a quarter of a million people turn to’s online news, live streams, photos and social media to keep up-to-date on the dynamic sport of open martial arts competition. – We Love This Sport! 

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