On the weekend of May 23rd TEAM EPIC descended on Budapest, the capital city of Hungary and took 11 competitors to battle against some of the world’s best fighters in a massive tournament. The Hungarian world cup was into its 23rd year and attracted 2600+ fighters to compete across points fighting, light continuous, kick light and full contact.
The EPIC team that went was: Andy Cleeves, Harvey Pollard, Sean MacDonald, Alex Fellender-Evans, Ben Davies, Rakan Sabbah, Brooklyn James, Teia Doyle, Ellie Doyle, Harrison Doyle and Dylan Hunt.
TEAM EPIC finished 14th out of 156 teams which is a massive step and progression for the Bristol-based club who are locking horns with some of the best teams in the world and are quickly establishing theirselves as such. With 5 of the 10 gold medals that GB fighters won out there, this also states the national standard in which the team often dominates medal tables. The overall medal haul was 5 gold, 1 silver and 7 bronze medals.
Sean MacDonald made his international debut at the delicate age of 8 but this young warrior pushes from strength to strength as he won a bronze medal in the 8-9 year old -25kg category. He then came 5th in the 8-9 year -28kg, narrowly missing out on the semi finals by losing in the round of 8. He did however win another bronze in the male children white and yellow belt category -28kg.
Harvey Pollard, also making his international debut, fought in the -25kg mixed children category and the 7-year old showed much heart and passion as he battled but narrowly missed out in the quarter finals. He fought well in the -28kg mixed category and was unlucky to miss out on a quarter final place against a very tough opponent who went on to win the division. Pollard, 7, also stepped into the -28kg white and yellow category and again fell short in the round of 16 but has taken away alot of experience.
Brooklyn James fought in the -57kg category for points, continuous and Kick light and was unlucky not to place in any of them. It was his first competitive go at kick light and he held his own which was pleasing for his coaches to see.
The Doyle sisters were the stars of the show as they won 2 golds each, Ellie won a silver too and Teia won a bronze in the -32kg points. Ellie smashed her kick light category to get through to the final and used slick movement and crisp techniques to beat her final opponent and claim gold. She then went and did the same thing in her continuous category. She bossed all of her fights against some tough opponents. A slightly off-the-pace performance in her final in the points prevented the clean sweep of golds but after so many fights to claim the silverware in her other categories she was still putting her all into it. Teia Doyle, 8, won opening points category and stood on the centre piece of the podium and savoured the moment. She then went on to win in the points -25kg category, displaying those flexible kicks and stunning timing as she dismantled her opponents’ fight plans and once again topped the podium.
Harrison Doyle went into the tournament in a very busy -42kg light continuous category and came out with a bronze medal. He won a couple of tough fights to set up a semi final place. The fight was very close but unfortunately for the Bristolian fighter on this occasion the decision went against him and he took away experience as well as a bronze medal for his efforts.
Rakan Sabbah won a gold in the kick light -80kg intermediate category after winning his opening fight with robust hitting and persistence when under pressure to set up a semi final fight against a Ukrainian opponent. Sabbah was too much to handle for his opponent and set up a final against a home-national. Despite the Hungarian being favourite on home soil, Sabbah had other ideas and demonstrated heart, power and ‘always believed’ he would win. He did! He had previously won a bronze in the light continuous -80kg after losing to a greek fighter in the semi finals who was very ‘leggy’ and landed several head kicks on the Jordanian Team EPIC fighter. On the Sunday Rakan fought in the advanced -74kg category for light continuous and after beating a Hungarian in the first round, he then lost to a Slovenian in the quarter finals.
Alex Fellender-Evans was unlucky to lose out in the quarter-finals of both the -28 and -32kg points categories. He is moving better than ever and clearly understands the sport well as he sets up wonderful leg passing techniques and quick blitzes through movement of the front foot but was just unable to beat his two quarter final opponents in those two categories. Evans however did win a bronze in his -28kg light continuous category with a fine set of performances.
Dylan Hunt won a few fights in his respective categories but couldn’t quite find the answers past world-class opponents in the quarter finals. He was unfortunate to not get a few decisions but his knowledge of the sport is growing as has committed himself to progressing with the kickboxing. As a talented gymnast Hunt has a very agile and quick style which can be a real pleasure on the eye.
Andy Cleeves started with his usual flair as he first blitzed his opponent and then swept him clean to the floor as he stepped into him and took his standing leg. The greek opponent came back stronger in the second round with a staggering kicking ability. The fight ended close but a couple of head kicks meant the Greek progressed to the next round.
Ben Davies also produced fine performances to get through the earlier rounds in his categories and eventually lost out in the quarter finals of his categories to strong opponents. Some very close-fought encounters went in his opponents favours but the performances were good and in a marginal sport these fights can be decided by one mistake or bad call. Davies, a current British champion, will be back and win plenty on the circuit.
Team EPIC entered a children’s team which was: Alex Fellender-Evans, Harrison Doyle, Ellie Doyle and Dylan Hunt. The team came 5th, losing out narrowly in the quarter finals. The team are planning to enter more team events soon.
Team EPIC are proudly sponsored by Safety Horizon South West.
On Sunday 21st May Team EPIC took a team of 15 competitors to Northampton to compete at Benham Sports Arena. The team performed well on the day and won an array of medals including multiple bronze, silver and gold winners. The tournament is one of the more coveted on the national circuit which makes it appealing for competitors to attend, hosted by the Fighting Fit Academy.
The Northants Open also has open weight categories for juniors and adults which four of our competitors entered (one in each). Katie Williams competed in the cadets female open weight and was unlucky in her semi-final fight as she performed well but just couldn’t quite overcome her opponent, earning a 3rd place! Connor Mitchell, making his EPIC tournament debut, impressed in his fights but had a tough opponent in the second round who narrowly took the victory from the 17-year old Bristolian. Senior coach Matt Roberts opened his grand champion category with a resounding 4-1 win over CMA opponent Connor Preece before narrowly defeating the experienced Ryan Ellis on sudden death (final score 9-8) in the quarter final. He faced multiple champion Reuben Charlesworth in the semi finals and was 5-4 down with seconds to go and committed to a blitz and was unlucky to have a counter kick scored against him but went down 6-4 in a close encounter to finish 3rd. Molly Hershaw dismantled her opponents on the way to the final of the Female senior open weight final against the vastly experienced Imogen Proctor. The fight was on tender-hooks as both girls traded wonderful techniques scoring freely and Hershaw slipped a beautiful leg counter in to bring the scores close together. The second round of the final was a close affair with further exchanges of scores and a couple of scores missed in the EPIC fighter’s favour. There was only seconds left when Proctor finally pulled enough points ahead to make the win safe but Molly, who is suffering from a knee injury, did her club proud with 2nd place.
In the points categories both Rhiannon Bater and Jess Andrews opened up the day with the brown and black belt categories. Jess was slow to start her opening fight and got back into the fight too late as she tried clawing the score back but fell short of the mark. Rhiannon started quickly in her opening fight and took her opponent apart. She went on to the final and came second to a good fighter. Oliver Hiscutt recorded both a 10 point victory and an 11 point victory margin in his category as he took home a gold! Harry Cooke, also making his debut, was unlucky to draw an opponent who was a bit stronger but fought well as the referees had to warn his opponent for excessive contact. Tyrese Redgers, who competed in the same category, improved from round to round to reach the final against the opponent who beat Harry Cooke. Tyrese recorded a 7-2 victory and took gold. Rowan Redgers took a bronze in his 7-8 category for points, fighting extremely well as he eased passed his opening opponents and lost narrowly to his semi-finalist opponent. Harvey Tyler took two golds from three points categories as he produced some beautiful performances. A strong spectacle of kicks, fast blitzes and counter techniques that stopped some of his opponents. Katie Williams earned a silver in the advanced points and a gold in the intermediate points to complete a good days fighting for the ever-improving EPIC youngster. Mike Andrews took a silver in the novice points category before Molly Hershaw earned a silver in the female +65kg category and Matt Roberts earned 2 further bronze medals to complete the day. Also mentions for good performances from Ollie Lawler, Finlay Cozens and Connor Mitchell throughout the day but fell short of the podium finishes in their points categories.
In the Light Continuous Tyrese Redgers took his second gold in two categories as he completed a great day for the Redgers boys because Rowan took a gold in his 7-8 Light Continuous category too. Ollie Lawler was unlucky not to place 3rd as a contentious decision in his bronze place fight off cost him a podium finish despite a strong performance. Mike Andrews was also in a tough category and had his fight stopped for medical time which was unfortunate but his children Jess Andrews won a bronze and then son Dean won a silver in their categories. Finlay Cozens won a silver medal in his light continuous category before Harvey Tyler tied up another gold (totalling 3 on the day- our stand out medallist winner) in his category with a stylish performance in the final.
A massive well done to the fighters on the day, both Molly and Matt, who coached on the day, were proud of the team.
Thank you to our proud sponsor SAFETY HORIZON SOUTH WEST for all of the support!
Early April is the annual time of year for the Dutch open! This year we had 4 fighters take the trip to Amsterdam to compete at the event with a very high level of competition on show and were very pleased to announce that all of our team fought well.
Our team: Harrison Doyle, Teia Doyle, Molly Hershaw, Matt Roberts and our pillar of support, coach and head videographer- Emma Doyle)
Friday evening was the open weight divisions and our adults fought against tough opponents in their respective divisions. Molly Hershaw was unlucky with refereeing decisions as she narrowly lost out to Martina Rossi of Italy. Matt Roberts went down to a heavy defeat to European champion Anatoli Kuschnir in the men’s section.
Saturday started with all of our fighters in action. The kids categories were busy and our two Team Doyle warriors both came away with amazing results. Teia Doyle won two silvers and a bronze medal and Harrison won two silvers, a bronze and also a Gold in his categories. What made his gold so special was he overcame an Italian opponent who has beaten him comfortably in recent years but this time the 12-year old GB team member crushed his opponent by 5 points! Teia was on form and lost both of her finals to the same opponent from Belgium narrowly both times. Her display of kicking in he earlier rounds earned praise and respectful comments from coaches and referees alike. Harrison Doyle is currently ranked number 1 in the world in his respective WAKO points category!
In the adults sections Molly Hershaw earned a gold in her +70kg category as she lost to world ranked number 3 Joanne Deegan in the semi finals after hammering Dilara Tunc in the previous round. Molly was beaten by a tough Italian opponent in the opening round of the -70kg category. Matt Roberts once again drew Anatoli Kuschnir of Top Ten Germany in the opening round of his -89kg category after suffering defeat to him the night before. A patient opening round performance saw the scores tied at 4-4 which Roberts had led for the majority of the round but the second round saw experience tell and Kuschnir went on to win.
A great weekend by all and the team are now looking forward to the CIMAC and KWON competitions coming up.