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2003 WKA USA National Kickboxing Championships

When: 7/19/2003 - 7/19/2003
Where: Glen Allen, Virginia, U.S.A.

On July 18th and 19th 2003, the World Kickboxing Association - USA held its national championship tournament in Glen Allen, Virginia. At this year's event, 80% of the 119 competitors came in a day (July 18th) early to complete their check-in, weigh-in, and physicals. Over 40 different schools from 15 different states traveled to this year's event to test their skills against the top fighters in their respective divisions. Competitors were setup in three divisions: Muay Thai (elbows and knees below the neck), Kickboxing (low kicks), and Full Contact (kicks above the waist) in an elimination tournament to determine the best two fighters in each weight class that would fight for the U.S. title (belt) in the evening championship final. The event began at 9:00 a.m. with fighters and coaches doing their final check-in, fighter's meeting, and ring assignments. Shortly after 11:00 a.m., the action began with the men's Muay Thai divisions and continued through the first brackets of each of the Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and Full Contact divisions.

The bracketing for this year's event used the single-elimination bye calculation system (i.e., 14 competitors in a division = 2 byes, 13 competitors in a division = 3 byes, 12 competitors = 4 byes, 11 competitors= 5 byes). This system is used to even out the brackets to allow a division to flow down to a quarter-final, a semi-final, and a final match. The formula for determining the competitors who received the byes is as follows: 1) previous year's national champion, 2) best record, 3) random drawing. Next task is to try to match competitors with less than four fights in their record together, giving them an opportunity to gain more experience. Once the byes are in place and any novice competitors have been given a fair shot in the first round, everyone's fair game.

Although, one of the event's rings was a no-show - yes, usually we have fighters that are no-shows, but in this case we had a ring that was a no-show - the tournament went on ending only an hour behind schedule. Many of the matches during the elimination tournament could've been championship matches in their own right. Several matches went into additional rounds due to the evenly matched competitors. Others ended in devastating TKOs and KOs. Fighters came loaded for bear with a full arsenal of techniques. There was even one competitor in the Muay Thai Cruiserweight division that knocked his opponent out with a spin hook kick - yes, a Muay Thai competitor knocked his opponent out with a spin hook kick to the head….of course that was set up by a low kick to the leg.

The evening finals showcased some of the best amateur kickboxers in the US - all fighting for the WKA US amateur title (belt). First match of the evening, featured former US champion, Steve Richards, showing off his fast hands by taking the unanimous decision over Royston Niro for the Light Heavyweight Muay Thai title. Next up, all the way from Salt Lake City, Utah, Alisanne Casey, made her long trip worthwhile by using her strong aggressive techniques to score a TKO over in the first round over Hope Tzilianos for the Women's Lightweight Muay Thai title. In the men's Middleweight Full Contact division, Aaron Snider defeated Jonathon Chaplin by KO. Marc Moreno used his experience to control the action in a unanimous decision over newcomer Caleb Archer for the Featherweight Muay Thai title.

The women's Middleweight Full Contact division saw Jessica Botha for a TKO in the third round to win over Terri French. Next up was a Kickboxing (low kick) match-up for the men's Lightweight title match with Stephen Strotmeyer taking the unanimous decision over Fielding Carter. Julie Howell took a majority decision over Tiffany Say to take the women's Light Heavyweight kickboxing title. Giovanna Mazzotti was awarded the US women's Lightweight Kickboxing title after her opponent Lena Hudson had to forfeit the final match for medical reasons. Reining US Champion, Christopher Romulo, showed why he's still the US Champion in the men's Muay Thai Middleweight division by taking a unanimous decision over Nadim Hegazi. The women's Welterweight Muay Thai match featured last year's returning champion Bertina Lee facing off up and coming Jenny Foster. Both fighters battled back and forth in a closely contested fight. In the end and after a second look at the scorecards, judges scored this one 29-28, 30-27, and 29-29 for a majority decision to Bertina Lee with the edge going in her favor due to the more powerful shots thrown.

Men's Welterweight Muay Thai title match featured Michael Reno's first round TKO over Nihad Husic. In the men's Muay Thai Cruiserweight, Andrew Glassier scored a majority decision over Charles Pemble. Hats go off to Charles or rather Mr. Pemble. At 47, to make it to the finals is a great victory to itself and a testament to all the benefits of diligent training in the martial arts. Roderick Melvin showed good versatility in his majority decision over Greg Dorsey to take the men's Light Welterweight Muay Thai title. Lamont (Forin) Sitsutam and Giovanni Lemm, both entering this event with over 10 fights under their belts, squared off for the Muay Thai Light Middleweight title with Lamont getting the unanimous decision and the title.

Another veteran, Janice Johnson (46), returned to nationals once again to take the US title from seasoned veteran Huong Nguyen by majority decision. The final match of the evening featured two talented fighters, Carlos Zevallos and Dan Pemble (younger half of the father-son combination from Michigan). The match began with Carlos establishing himself with good strong techniques, but soon the experience of Dan took over as he scored with repeated combinations. The fight ended in a TKO with Dan Pemble taking the Heavyweight Muay Thai title.

Due to time constraints, there were three WKA US title matches that were fought earlier in the day. Jamie Crower defeated Adam Graves for the US title in the men's Full Contact Welterweight division. Matthew Callahan defeated Brian Nodes for the men's Full Contact Middleweight title. Michael Littrel defeated Alexander Jashonbich for the men's Full Contact Light Heavyweight title. Congratulations to all the new WKA US champions. Hats go off to all competitors for their hard work and commitment to prepare themselves for this tournament-style competition. It takes a lot of fortitude and heart to go into an event not only not knowing who your opponent is, but how many you are going to have to face. Much appreciation to all of the coaches, WKA officials, staff, and volunteers who without these events would not be possible. Next stop, winners from the 2003 WKA Nationals and now WKA US team members set their sites on the North American championships in Calgary, Canada and the world championships in Antwerp, Belgium.

MUAY THAI DIVISION - FEMALE

Lightweight (- 50 kg or - 110 lbs)
Alisanne Casey winner over Hope Tzilianos by TKO
Salt Lake City, UT Astoria, NY

Welterweight (- 55 kg or - 121 lbs)
Bertina Lee winner over Jenny Foster by Majority Decision
Richmond, VA Astoria, NY

Middleweight (- 60 kg or - 132 lbs)
Janice Johnson winner over Huong Nguyen by Majority Decision
Richmond, VA Virginia Beach, VA

KICKBOXING DIVISION - FEMALE

Lightweight (- 50 kg or - 110 lbs)
Giovanna Mazzotti winner over Lena Hudson by Medical Forfeit
New York, NY Americus, GA

Lt Heavyweight (- 65 kg or - 143 lbs)
Julie Howell winner over Tiffany Say by Majority Decision
Americus, GA Atlanta, GA

FULL CONTACT DIVISION - FEMALE

Lightweight (- 50 kg or - 110 lbs)
Jessica Botha winner over Terri French by TKO
Dunwoody, GA Little Rock, AR

MUAY THAI DIVISION - MALE

Featherweight (- 57 kg or - 125.4 lbs)
Marc Moreno winner over Caleb Archer by Unanimous Decision
Virginia Beach, VA New York, NY

Lt Welterweight (- 63.5kg or - 138.7 lbs)
Roderick Melvin winner over Greg Dorsey Majority Decision
Newport News, VA Baltimore, MD

Welterweight (- 67 kg or - 147.4 lbs)
Michael Reno winner over Nihad Husic by TKO
Whitestone, NY Clarkston, GA

Lt. Middleweight (- 71 kg or - 156.2 lbs)
Lamont Sitsutam winner over Giovanni Lemm by Unanimous Decision
New York, NY Newport News, VA

Middleweight (- 75 kg or - 165 lbs)
Christopher Romulo winner over Nadim Hegazi by Unanimous Decision
New York, NY Astoria, NY

Lt. Heavyweight (- 81 kg or - 178.2 lbs)
Stephen Richards winner over Royston Niro by Unanimous Decision
Elliott City, MD New York, NY

Cruiserweight (- 86 kg or - 189.2 lbs)
Andrew Glessner winner over Charles Pemble by Majority Decision
Greenville, IN Marquette, MI

Heavyweight (- 91 kg or - 200.2 lbs)
Dan Pemble winner over Carlos Zevallos by TKO
Marquette, MI Bayside, NY

Super Heavyweight (+ 91 kg or + 200.2 lbs)
Anthony Iannone winner over Chris Slolzman by Unanimous Decision
Raleigh, NC Atlanta, GA

KICKBOXING DIVISION - MALE

Lightweight (-60 kg or -132 lbs)
Stephen Strotmeyer winner over Fielding Carter by Unanimous Decision
Pittsburgh, PA Atlanta, GA

FULL CONTACT DIVISION - MALE

Welterweight (- 67 kg or - 147.4 lbs)
Jamie Crowder winner over Adam Graves by TKO
Queens, NY Tonawanda, NY

Lt. Middleweight (- 71 kg or -156.2 lbs)
Aaron Snider winner over Jonathon Chaplin by KO
Virginia Beach, VA New York, NY

Middleweight (-75 kg or -165 lbs )
Matthew Callahan winner over Brian Nodes by Majority Unanimous Decision

Lt. Heavyweight (- 81 kg or - 178.2 lbs)
Michael Littrel winner over Alexander Jashonvich by TKO
Hopeville, GA Grennvill, IN


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