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Busta Fighters outclass United States

Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer

JAMAICA'S combined martial arts team on Saturday beat the United States in four straight bouts to lift the inaugural Busta Pan-Am Challenge, upgraded this year after being staged as the Caribbean League, which the Jamaicans had won four years in a row.

The combined team rounded off their victory in Philadelphia after taking out Cuba, representing the Caribbean in December, and later Venezuela from South America.

Paul Shoucair, general manager of Jamaica Beverages, which sponsors the combined team and the Pan-Am Challenge, said it was an exciting weekend as his next-favourite team, Manchester United, won the Barclays Premier League in England on Saturday.

"As always, it has become a lot like Manchester United, I expect to win every Saturday," said Shoucair.

"The Busta Fighters have become so used to winning and I expect them to win, it's an arrogant attitude which I shouldn't have, but they are fine and dedicated fighters," he pointed out.

Easy win

First out on Saturday was microweight Alrick Wanliss, who easily won against his opponent.

Nicholas Dussard, the current International Taekwondo Federation Pan-Am champion, was too devastating against his US counterpart whereas Kenneth Edwards, the 2008 local Busta league champion, easily battered his rival into submission.

National silver medallist Shaiah Shukura, easily enjoying his best form to date, got past his American super heavyweight opponent for Jamaica to close with four straight wins.

Jamaica also dominated the individual bouts with Dussard easily winning the lightweight title. Edwards took home the heavyweight division and Shukura topped the super heavyweights.

It was the second time in a month that Jamaica's top super heavyweight, Shawn Cummings, finished behind Shukura, putting his spot in jeopardy as the number-five pick on the world continental team-fighting squad.

Lone loser

Jamaica's lone loser was Dwayne Vascianne, who was beaten in the first-round match after a blistering start. The first-timer appeared to run out of steam midway his encounter.

Arthur Barrows, who replaced the absent Jason Mckay as captain, did not compete, not wanting to be injured.

Shoucair said the win was ideal warm-up for Orlando.

"It's also a good build-up for what I consider the big one for the year, in July in Orlando," he said, anticipating a tough showdown when the combined team defends its world continental team-fighting championship against the likes of Argentina, the United States, New Zealand, Germany and England.

"Coming off a victory, it's always good. It gives motivation," said Shoucair.