The first competition in Dublin was a great experience. It was a well run event despite the slightly late start which then seemed to have a knock on effect, making it a very long day.
Venue was good, easy to find and with plenty of parking. The building facilities felt worn and dated, but venue itself served drinks and hot food which seemed to go down well. The hall was very crowded at times and people struggled to get around all the bags and equipment that was left around the seating areas.
The layout was good but could have benefitted with the circulation space around the mats being a little wider. The barrier section around the mats was good in that you were able to get access to all areas and have a good view; this is so much better than having on single barrier separating the spectators from the areas and not really being able to see the rear mats. Unfortunately, the seating area quickly resembled a baggage dumping ground, with very few seats actually left free for spectators as they were taken up with sports bags and jackets.
Event organiser, Jordan White, should be commended for making sure people standing around the areas did not obstruct spectators view and ensured refs had a clear line of site to the medics, should they need to call them. None competitors were also kindly asked to vacate areas to provide clear space for the fighters.
I thought the referees were good in both making decisions and insisting all safety gear was worn correctly. Competitors were all checked in appropriately and paired up for fights accordingly. Scoring was clear, fair and unbiased. Refs were good apart from one mistake in the 7-8 points stop draws on mat 3, which they promptly corrected when it came to light. All the fight categories were very efficiently organised overall.
First up was Ashton in the Grand Champion category. He comfortably won his first 3 fights with a flurry of punching combinations that he'd been working on with Ady Jones at the Academy. His composure and technique proved to be too much for his opponents, taking him into the final
About 30 seconds into the second round of the final, the fight was stopped as it appeared the 2 collided heads. The referee immediately called medics seeing how Ashton was disoriented after an initial collision. I initially thought he had some dirt or grit in his eye but when he said he couldn’t see and vision was blurry, that’s when the panic set in!
The fight was paused for what felt like forever as the medics were called over to check on his vision and balance to ensure he didn't have concussion! It was an undeniable a scary experience!
Unfortunately he had to miss out on finishing the final and the rest of his categories due to the medics and ref intervention.
Gutted for him, as I know how much he wanted to continue, especially with it being the second round of the final in the Grand Champion category with only 20 seconds remaining. He dominated throughout the final and was a little over zealous with his contact; being given a warning and told to tone it down by the ref.
However he still got a silver medal; that in spite of breaking his foot 3 weeks earlier and not really supposed to be training until the Monday after the competition.
Gutted for him missing out on the belt. But I’d much rather be sure that his vision was ok and that’s worth a million times more than a championship belt.
"My opponents were pretty good but I think I could've beaten them if the medic didn't stop me from fighting. Feeling strong and aiming for the next win," Ashton
Ashton's first round of the Grand Champion category
Well Ethan had a fantastic day winning 2 golds, which was a result of all the hard work he has put in with Glen at the Academy. His ability to spot an open scoring area on his opponent and his sheer speed. Whereas previously Ethan preferred his punches, he has become much more comfortable executing his kicks.
Round 1 won 5-1
Round 2 won 3-2 against Tyler
Round 3 won 1-7
Tyler had a great day winning a bronze in points and a silver in continuous, only losing to the winner of both which as it turns out was his twin brother Ethan. Tyler was very comfortable in turning his side kick into an axe kick; but just needs to push forward with a bit more determination so that his opponent doesn’t have time or space to react.
Round 1 won 7-1
Round 2 won 2-6
Round 3 lost 3-2 to Ethan
Bronze (but I'm sure he came second and should have been awarded with a silver)
Ashton Silver continuous 🥈Grand Champion
Ethan Gold continuous 🏆Gold point-stop 🏆
Tyler Silver continuous 🥈Bronze point-stop 🥉