History made with the first Pro Kumite 10K as Team All Stars wins
The 2016 Kumite Classics, held May 27-28, 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA, made huge changes in 2016. It became an independent event and offered the largest prize money purse for team sparring in recent history – a whopping $10,000! This kind of cash drew some of the top teams out to battle for the cash and the battles were INTENSE! Team All Stars fielded two squad and met on the battlefield against talent from Team Impex, Team Tankson, Next Level and others. The Friday night eliminations were insane with each fighter knowing what was on the line. You needed to be in the top four for any part of the purse and had to win for the big money.
In addition to the Pro Kumite 10k team sparring division, the event offered forms, weapons, junior fighting, open weight fighting and individual point sparring. The event was part of an overall fitness expo that featured weight lifting, grappling (gi and no gi), talent contests and much more. Some of the highlighted divisions from the event were the Classical/Japanese divisions for adults and kids, tag team sparring for the kids and junior doubles team sparring.
In the Classical/Japanese contest, Joey Castro won the overall title and grand championship during the finals. Castro also defeated Kyle Petrosky for the overall weapons grand championship. Matt Hogan of CORE Team was the adult Korean forms grand champion and his team was also the demo team champions. Alexandria Seefeldt was the Youth Korean forms grand champion with Rebecca Young of Canada as the Youth Classical/Japanese grand champion. Ana Bocanelli’s routine was the title winner for junior traditional weapons.
Kari Ammon was the adult CMX forms winner while Abdullah Jameel was the junior CMX forms winner. Hailey Schuh’s double kama spins on her thumbs helped solidify her junior CMX weapons title for the night. In a hotly contested Chinese division, Gina Bao ended with the title.
With all the other events happening, the team sparring still dominated all the talk of the event. During the Friday night eliminations, Team All Stars second squad consisting of Robbie Lavoie, Chris Walker, Leon Jefferson and Ali Viola met their match against Team Tankson’s Dejuan Brown, Larry Tankson Jr, Jason Tankson and Natalia Kley-Wisniewski with Tankson eeking out a victory despite an injury to Tankson Jr.
Individual point sparring divisions were full of hard hits and intensity. In the end, Morgan Plowden suffered a rare loss at the feet of Elyse Gorrell of Canada and Gorrell faced fellow Canadian Emma Levy on stage for the grand championship. It would be Gorrell dominating the final match to take her first major overall title. For the men, teammates Jason Grenier and Richard Avery Plowden were the two left standing after the smoke cleared. In the final fight, the two fought like wild despite being on the same team and went into an incredibly long overtime as the rules required you to win by two points. In the end, it was Plowden with the title.
Probably the best match-up of the Friday evening eliminations was Team All Stars 1 (consisting of Raymond Daniels, Jack Felton, Trevor Nash and Elyse Gorrell) against Team Impex’s Willie Hicks, Avery Plowden, Jason Grenier and Morgan Plowden. Trevor Nash performed like a beast for Team All Stars all night, beating down his opponents like Thor’s hammer and leaving devastation in his wake. Morgan Plowden opened the fights, getting her team a slight lead. The Hicks versus Daniels match up was one for the history books with Hicks holding his own against the larger Daniels. Avery Plowden returned from his shoulder injury in 2015 to fight for the first time and looked to have been training hard in his off time as he faced Felton. The final match between Canadians Nash and Grenier had legs and bodies flying as Nash held on and advanced All Stars to the finals to face Team Tankson.
Larry Tankson Jr’s injury in the eliminations forced Team Tankson to put in an alternate and it was Chris Robinson of Texas. Robinson goes down as one of our all-time favorite executive fighters out there right now. Not just because of his amazing ability to throw stuff that you’d never expect, but also because he’s frankly hilarious when he’s in the audience cheering. If you hear the words “bow to your sensei” or “mayday”, you can bet he’s out there somewhere.
Robinson stepped in and faced Trevor Nash and held his own with some great moves. In the end, Team Tankson didn’t have enough in the tank to overcome the All Stars’ powerhouse. It would be All Stars with the historic win in the first Pro Kumite 10k at the 2016 Kumite Classics.
In it’s first year as an independent event, the 2016 Kumite Classic produced a memorable event and left itself open to assure lots of growth in years to come. Congratulation to Team All Stars – the first Pro Kumite 10k champions!
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