As summer gets ready to turn to fall, the Capital Region combat sports community has plenty to look forward to.
From mixed martial arts, to judo, to karate, to wrestling — the pro and amateur kinds — here’s just a smattering of the events set to take place around the region in the coming months.
After running their Mike Tyson’s Fight Night event in Albany last month, the Cage Wars mixed martial arts promotion will be back at their regular home base at Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady for Cage Wars 53 on Sept. 9.
The amateur show currently has 10 fights on the car, including four title bouts. A heavyweight title bout featuring champion Alex Marro defending against Joshua Depace is the scheduled main event. Former Mohonasen High School wrestling standout Cory Quintana is scheduled to face Matt Boyce for the Cage Wars super heavyweight title. The other title fights currently scheduled will see Joe Poirier and Jordan Scrom mix it up for the vacant flyweight title, while Phaidra Knight and Amanda Brundige will meet for the vacant women’s bantamweight crown.
On Oct. 9, at the same time several of its athletes will be competing overseas in the World Judo Championships, Glenville’s Jason Morris Judo Center will host the 2022 Morris Cup event.
The tournament, set to be held at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, is returning after a two-year hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the highly successful Journeymen Wrestling club is based out of the Capital Region, it’s Journeymen Fall Classic tournament that often sees some of the best high school wrestlers in the country face of before the scholastic season gets underway will be held out-of-state on Oct. 1-2 at Spooky Nook in Manheim, Pennsylvania.
Action starts Oct. 1 with the elementary, middle school and women’s tournaments, as well as a mini “OverFLO” tournament that will allow winners to earn a spot in the B brackets of the Fall Classic Main Event on Oct. 2.
Albany’s MVP Arena is set to host television tapings for both major U.S. pro wrestling promotions, a little more than two months apart.
On Sept. 14, All Elite Wrestling will make its Capital Region debut with both a live edition of Dynamite and a taping for that week’s episode of Rampage. On Nov. 21, WWE will hold its first edition of Monday Night Raw in Albany in more than three years. Advertised for the show are Saratoga Springs High School graduate and former NYSPHSAA wrestling champion Matt Riddle, Seth Rollins, Bayley, Bianca Belair, Kevin Owens, The Miz, Damian Priest and Finn Balor.
Technique will be on display on Sept. 17 at the Golden Eagle Challenge, which invites martial artists from all disciplines to compete in a kata/forms only challenge tournament at Galway High School. Every competitor will have to perform at least two — and as many as five — different katas or forms based on experience. There will be medal rounds, with a championship round of similar medal round winners, and black belt champions will compete for the event’s grand championship.
The Golden Eagle Challenge is part of the 518 Martial Arts competition circuit. Two other events on the circuit, the Capital District Karate and Tae Kwon Do tournaments are both tentatively scheduled for Oct. 30 at a location to be announced.
If you want to submit your upcoming events to be featured in an upcoming edition of the Sparring Session, reach out to me at [email protected].
LOCAL TAEKWONDO SCHOOL SHINES
Guilderland’s Pil Sung Taekwondo landed huge medal hauls last month at both the AAU Taekwondo National Championships in Las Vegas and the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Greensboro, North Carolina.
At the national championships at the MGM Grand, Pil Sung’s 16 athletes competed in forms, point sparring, board breaking and Olympic-style sparring. In the end, Pil Sung captured 151 medals, including 90 gold medals. Clemence Mignot of Guilderland, a second-degree black belt, won her division, took grand champion honors and earned a spot on the 2022-23 national team.
At the Junior Olympics, four athletes from Pil Sung combined to win 33 gold medals. In addition, Joey Hasan and Mia Hasan were the overall male and female points leaders at the competition, earning them both the Joel Ferrell Outstanding Performance Memorial Award for Taekwondo at the games. The award honors the sportsmanship and ability of an athlete from each individual sport at the Junior Olympics.