State Games of America
Last weekend John-Michael Bianco and Ian Parina, of Kombat Arts Training Academy, were part of a select group of Canadian athletes to travel to Grand Rapids Michigan to participate in the State Games of America. Held every Two years since 1999, the Games is an Olympic style event that features medal winners from across the US. Our athletes were able to compete for Ontario, in the North American division, because we are a bordering state (province) to the host State of Michigan this year. Along with boxing, the State Games holds competitions in several other sports such as: Tae Kwon Do, Wrestling, and Gymnastics, just to name a few.
Ian Parina was able to secure a silver medal at the Games. In a narrow split decision, Ian lost to Luis Ramirez, who is the current Michigan State golden gloves champion, with over 100 fights. Although the coaches would have liked to see a bit more output from Ian, everyone was very impressed with his performance, especially against an opponent with so much ring experience. Ian is definitely a fighter to keep and eye on, as he has already demonstrated incredible talent, and continues to show big improvements every time he gets in the ring.
From right to Left: Leon Felix, Ian Parina,
John-Michael Bianco, and Coach Socretes Celestial
It was a unanimous decision for John-Michael Bianco, in the gold medal match, against Ron Lord of Los Angeles. With the win, he becomes the National Champion of the United States. Coaches say that John-Michael rarely looked troubled by the heavy handed, come forward opponent. Also commenting that he fought smart and with superior speed, skill and movement compared to Lord, who is a skilled fighter in his own right. John-Michael has been doing an outstanding job in the ring lately, and bringing home this belt is only further evidence of his bright future in the sport.
John-Michael Bianco with his new belt!
The Coaches and Support Staff
It was a very successful tournament for the team, who walked away with 2 golds, 3 silvers and 1 bronze. We are especially proud of our fighters, and of course to the coaches and staff who prepared and accompanied the fighters for the trip. The coaching staff included Kombat’s own Coach Socrates Celestial, as head coach, and assisting him as team manager, also from Kombat, was Leon Felix. The fighters also had a lot of support with all their training at home thanks to coach Sean, and their training partners. Great job coaches and athletes, we couldn’t be more proud!