There is nothing like ending the year on a warm beach with great international competition. That’s exactly what you got if you attended the 2014 Pan American Internationals, the weekend of November 14-15, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. Competitors from around the world gathered to battle at this event and the competition was exciting.
The Pan Ams started strong with eleven teams lining up for men’s team sparring. Venezuela’s Team Legend started a march to the finals with a win over Team Proper while Team Impex left nothing on the table with dominating wins over all opponents. In the end Team WKF went head-to-head with Team Legend to determine which team would go to the finals against Team Impex. In a close match-up, WKF advanced.
Sixteen fighters were up for the challenge in men’s Superfights as they battled to face the seeds. Ross Levine and Josh Horwege were the defending seeds. Both watched with interest as the fights wound their way down. In the end, Ryan George of Louisiana moved to the finals along with Anthony Merricks of New York.
More fighting was to be had on Saturday with the eliminations for point sparring individual divisions. Everyone wanted to get to the stage and there were a ton of great fights. If you are a fan of women’s fighting, you need to be watching the day time eliminations to see some of the best match ups. Two top fighters – Morgan Plowden and Gina Thornton – are in different weight classes but end of facing each other in a lightweight challenge to see who goes to the stage. At Pan Ams, it was Plowden with the win and moving to the stage. Middleweight Nicole Pelland battled through her opponents to make it to the stage to face Plowden for the grands.
Team Proper’s boys didn’t get to the final four but all made sure that their opponents would not forget them with hard hits and close matches. Venezuela’s Manuel Bermudez got the win in the super light division but Victor Suarez of Team WKF took out Bermudez in the match to go to the stage. The welterweight competition was totally international as Mexico’s Zain Pedrazo faced Venezuela’s Jose Ibarra with Ibarra coming out the winner.
Jason Grenier of Canada faced Bryan Rodriguez of Venezuela for the middleweight title. Grenier left nothing to chance as he advanced to the final four. And for the heavyweight competition, Ross Levine eliminated Leo Valdivia. In the end, Suarez sent Ibarra packing and Levine took teammate Grenier out of the running leaving Levine and Suarez as the final two for men’s sparring.
Team Infinity seems to know nothing but how to win as the demo team ended the year on a high note with the demo team win at 2014 Pan Americans. Executives got their chance on stage with the 30 & over forms and weapons grand championships showcased. Drew Derrick-Bisbee took the win.
For the juniors, local talent Haley Glass was the winner in the 13 & under forms grand championships but little powerhouse Jake Presley took the 13 & under weapons grands. But what a night for Sammy Smith. She managed two grand championship wins in 14-17 forms and 14-17 weapons as she showed everyone that girls kick butt.
For the women, Becca Ross decided to diversify and show her creative bo skills rather than traditional. It proved a good move as she won the women’s weapons grand championship. But Ross was not able to make it double grands as Florida’s Stephannie Figueroa was the women’s forms grand champion. Reid Presley made quite the mark winning both the men’s weapons and forms grand championship titles to cap off a great first year as an adult.
The men’s and women’s individual sparring grand championships were set for two rounds. For the women, although Nicole Pelland was able to hold her own in the first round, Morgan Plowden left nothing to chance in round two and ended the fight with a 13-3 win and the title. For the men, it was heavyweight Ross Levine facing lightweight Victor Suarez. Levine started scoring first but Suarez stayed in the game – even landing an axe kick on Levine. The two ended round one with Levine up 4-2. In the end, Levine held off Suarez to take the win and the grand champion title.
The Superfight finals at Pan Ams was not just for adults, the kids got a chance on stage as well. Little Angel Rosado and Nicholas Benton put on the longest junior Superfight in history with Benton finally taking the win after countless overtime rounds. Frankie Lopez continued his undefeated streak with a win over Diego Perez.Peyton Fender held her own against her opponent and the Venezuelans went crazy when junior fighter Ronald Zapeda won his Superfight match. Nicholas Negron and Micah Williams battled for dominance with Negron coming out the winner.
For the adults, Ross Levine faced Anthony Merricks in the first semi-final round. At the buzzer, Levine was up 3-1 and advanced to the final round.The second semi-final fight was between Josh Horwege and Ryan George. The two were tied 4-4 at the buzzer and went into sudden victory overtime. The two exchanged blows and finally George was the one up by two points and advancing to meet Levine. In the final match, Levine’s strong hands faced George’s great kicks. In the end, it was Levine with the win and his second Pan Ams Superfight title in two years.
Pam American Internationals saw the return of Manny Reyes, Jr. He fought in team fights and was on stage in the executive Superfight semi-finals. After winning his first round, Reyes faced Venezuela’s Yoskar Gamez after Gamez defeated Jesse Wray in a classic fight. Reyes elected to bow out giving Gamez the Executive Superfight title at the 2014 Pan American Internationals. For the Executive point sparring challenge, Gregg White and Chris Chastain went mano-a-mano with Chastain coming out the winner.
The men’s team sparring finals ended a great event. Team Impex faced hometown Team WKF in three rounds of action. Avery Plowden opened for Team Impex and he was wearing head gear due to a head cut received on Friday night. Plowden faced Victor Suarez in the first round and head gear or not, Plowden was ready to go. The round ended with Impex up 5-1. In the second round, Ryan George got Team WKF back into the game with a great fight against Jason Grenier that ended with WKF up by one point. The final round pit anchors Ross Levine of Impex against Josh Horwege of Team WKF. Levine brought Impex back and pulled ahead in points. Horwege stayed in the game but couldn’t catch Levine and it ended with Impex as the men’s team sparring winners.
After the finals, it was time to head out for fun on Miami Beach. The place was open all night and fun went on throughout the night.