Updated: Jun 23, 2022
Orlando, Florida- The Orlando Money Open was the first ever money-winning event in the state of Florida for fencing took place on May 27-29, 2022 at Sword Masters Club and Fencing Academy and was produced by the WSA Sports Alumni. Fencers came from as far as Michigan, Indiana, Louisiana, and Bermuda to get their share of the prize fund awarded to the highest placed fencers in the 8 events. Each and every one of the fencers embodying excellence in fencing and helping each other grow. But in the end it was Wayne University star Ramadan Dinkins who took down the Senior Open Mixed Epee $500 1st Place. Notre Dame star Amanda Pirkowski took down the historic first-ever prize money women's event the following day, though she also made the podium in the primarily male dominated epee event. The other events hosted by Sword Masters Club in Avalon Park, Orlando included Senior Mixed Epee, Senior Mixed Sabre, Senior Mixed Modern Sabre One-Light, and 4 Mini-Money Epee Tournaments. All together, 8 prize money events were held over 3 days paying out thousands of dollars to the fencers.
The senior open epee event was fenced at 9:00 am. The event with a strong field of 25 high quality fencers was completely over before 1:00pm. In under 4 hours all the pools and DEs were finished , due to the innovative new WSA money format which keeps the scoring the same as in standard bouts, but a faster clock with 1 minute for pools and 3 minute DEs in the early rounds. "What the WSA is doing and creating is truly groundbreaking for fencing", said veteran fencer, coach, and fencing club owner Daniel Bucur. He was also a national team member for Romania and renown international competitor.
The club was full of action and excitement. The WSA proved that strong tournaments with elite fields could succeed in standard fencing clubs. Another avenue for the sport to grow.
Strong A-rated fencers such as Tampa's Jeremy Mcdaniels joined fellow A's Pirkowski and Dinkins. Other standouts included B-rated Eustratios Provatas, Rebekah Bucur, and numerous strong teen talents Braedon Langdenferder , Thomas Dupree, Peter Irwin, Alexander Kuri, Leondras Hernandez. Former National Foil Champion of Cuba Yosniel Alvarez also joined in. Dark horse contender Nick Kypraios, who had quit fencing 15 years ago as a junior, came back to do some damage.
A strong stellar field for the first WSA Money Open
The level was extremely high! But when the smoke cleared, the final four had the top favorites and two surprises. Amanda Pirkowski of Notre Dame went undefeated in her pools 5-0 and took the top #1 seed for the direct elimination round. She went on to defeat Max Slowackiewicz 15-8 recent Timbercreek High School grad in his first year of fencing who did very well keeping up with her until 8-8. She then won a thriller over Fencing League of America Highschool Top finisher Peter Irwin 15-14, to reach the semi-finals. Unexpectedly, 16 year old Braedon Langenderfer of Sword Masters Melbourne took the #2 seed also going undefeated in the pools. Langenderfer defeated Suuayb Dinkins 10-9 thriller, defeated pre-event top seed Jeremy McDaniels 9-4, to reach the semi. Darkhorse Nick Kypraios of Orlando Sports Fencing Center/Sword Masters Club defeated Naomi Bucur 14-9, defeated hometown Champ Alexander Kuri 8-7, and fell short to Langenderfer in the semi-finals in a nailbiter 11-12 in the closing seconds.
Finally Ramadan Dinkins of Wayne University/Windy City Fencing in Chicago had only 1 loss in the pool 4-5 to Kypraios. Dinkins defeated Dupree 9-4, defeated Liberty University's Rebekah Bucur 10-7, and then gave Pirkowski her only loss 15-10 in the semi-finals in a superb match that was close in the first half of the match, before Dinkins pulled away.
Pirkowski's only loss in the event was to eventual winner Dinkins (right), who was unstoppable in the DEs.
The finals seemed like a David vs Goliath match-up as experienced college fencer Dinkins, a hulking 6'2 and 272 lbs presence with a 43 win 15 loss college record including a dominating 19-5 record at the Ohio State Invitational. Langenderfer still in highschool at 16 years old, had achieved #1 in the AAU High School standings.Dinkins took the early lead right away. Being expertly coached by Maestro Daniel Bucur , formerly the National Team of Romania, the very poised Langenderfer clawed back from a 4 point deficit to force a 2nd period. And eventually tied the match by the end of the second period. But the college experience showed at 11-11 as Dinkins sped away in the 3rd period as he went all out offensively to win 15-11 and take down the $500 cash prize. Langenderfer still received $120 for his efforts while Pirkowski earned $60 by defeating Kypraios for the Bronze 3rd place.
Langenderfer, Dinkins, Pirkowski, Kypraios on the podium of a very high quality field.
" I really enjoyed the event, and both tournaments had strong competition. I loved seeing more women fencing and growing the numbers in our sport. The WSA Orlando Money Open was well organized and ran on schedule, and I had a really good time", said Pirkowski (follow on IG @amandapirkowski). She added "The new WSA Money Open Format was fast and definitely kept me on my toes. The shorter clock helped me with making me more focused on key 1-touch situations. The prize money was really cool, though I always fence the same no matter what. You can always learn from experience and that's what I aim for. But it was definitely nice to donate to charity with some of my winnings. I would love to see more tournaments to grow the sport."
"The WSA Orlando Money Open events were smooth, fast, and very well organized. Thank you to Carlos Kuri the Tournament Director for running it and Charlie Williams for producing", said Rebekah Bucur (follow at IG @swordgirl16). "Fencing events that are run well are not as common as we would like, so we really appreciate the efforts including all the promotions and pre-marketing of the fencers."
"All the pre-promotions of the fencers and the Orlando Money Open was awesome!" said Jeremy McDaniels.
"The WSA Orlando Money Open was a resounding success. We are young in the sport of fencing, but veterans when it comes to sports promotions. We would love to see this amazing sport grow to the levels we have achieved in other mainstream sports", said WSA CEO Charlie Williams. (follow WSA @worldsportsalumni and @thekoreandragon))
One of the most promising fencers participating in the event was of course Ramadan Dinkins (follow IG @ramadan_dinkins) . At only 20 years of age, he went home with the gold medal around his neck and $500 dollars cash in winnings. He is from the state of Michigan and has been fencing for ten years. After his victory when asked what he would do with his cash prize, he wisely explained "I'm going to put it into stocks,". Even at a young age, Dinkins is already a savvy investor making smart decisions for his future. And we can't wait to see where the future will lead him.
Ramadan had a lot to say on the WSA Orlando Money Open. "The way the WSA shortened the time clock was a lot better format for pools. 1 minute is better and that I definitely enjoyed. Fencing Amanda in the semi-finals was thrilling and definitely the highlight match of the tournament for me. I see her around sometimes at college meets but never fenced her before, so that match with her was a lot of fun." Dinkins was asked how it felt to fence for money for the first time " I was just trying to have a good time. It did pop in my a head few times today I was fencing for the money. And then I was like “oh snap”! But I came here because the money concept definitely intrigued me and staying in shape for the summer till next college fencing season is definitely my goal. The event was a great experience for me and I really liked the WSA and AAU community and I felt very welcomed. I’m really looking forward to coming to more WSA Money Opens!"
WSA World Sports Alumni sports events award college athletes prize money through sponsorships within NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) regulations. In addition, college, junior,and amateur athletes are allowed up to $10,000 in prize money earnings per calendar year. The WSA is comprised of a Board of Attorneys, Business Board, and over 500 professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB, UFC, PGA, WTA, ATP, Boxing and more. The WSA is the largest multi-sport pro athletes association in the world. Visit WorldSportsAlumni.com
1 DINKINS Ramadan Michigan USAA18A22
2 LANGENDERFER Braeden Sword Masters Melbourne Central Florida USA
3 PIRKOWSKI Amanda University Of Notre Dame Ncaa Central Florida USA A22
4 KYPRAIOS Nicholas Orlando Fencing Sports CenterCentral Florida USAE22 B22
5 ROMERO KURI Alexander Sword Masters Club, Orlando Central Florida USA C22
6 MCDANIELS Jeremy Tampa Fencing & Tennis AcademyCentral Florida USAA22
7 IRWIN Peter Florida Fencing AcademyGateway Florida USAC22
8 BUCUR Rebekah Genesis Fencing Club MelbourneCentral Florida USAB19
9 ALVAREZ Yosniel Sword Masters Club, OrlandoCentral Florida USAUD22
10 ROMERO KURI Celeste Sword Masters Club, Orlando /Central Florida USAE20D22
11 PROVATAS Eustratios Tampa Bay Fencers Inc./Dunedin Fencing Club Central Florida USAB22
12 HERNANDEZ Leandros Epee Miami Fencing ClubGold Coast Florida USAC22
13 DUPREE Thomas Florida Fencing Academy Gateway Florida USAC22
14 BUCUR Naomi Sword Masters Club MelbourneCentral Florida USAC18
15 DINKINS Shuayb Orlando Fencing Club / Windy City Fencing-Chicago Central FLFloridaUSAC22
16 SLOWAKIEWICZ Maximillian Sword Masters Club, OrlandoCentral Florida USA U
17 FERNLUND Helen Sword Masters Club, OrlandoCentral Florida USAU
18 DINKINS Adam Orlando Fencing Club / Windy City Fencing-ChicagoCentral Florida USAU
19 ARTHUR Greg Iron Works Fencing / Olde Towne Fencing GangCentral Florida USAC18
20 WILLIAMS Charlie Sword Masters Club, OrlandoCentral Florida USAU
21 TREANOR Donald Bermuda Fencing Federation BERU
22 BAKER Kenneth Sword Masters Club, Orlando Central Florida USAU
23 BLYDEN Jordan Sword Masters Club, OrlandoCentral Florida USAU
24 SEXTON Matthew Unattached Gateway Florida USAU
25 EKIMKIN Anatoli Sword Masters Club, Orlando Central Florida USAU
Women's Epee Top Finishers 1st Amanda Pirkowski 2nd Rebekah Bucur 3rd Naomi Bucur 4th Celeste Kuri 5th Helen Fernlund 6th Vilma Kerenyi 7th Jennifer Bui
The 4 Cash Prize Mini-Tournaments were accomplished in 90 minutes. Cash winners included:
1st Alexander "The Great" Kuri
2nd Naomi "Blonde Shark" Bucur
1st Max Slowackiewicz
2nd Helen Fernlund
1st Naomi Bucur
2nd Max Slowackiewicz
1st Alexander Kuri
2nd Charlie Dragon Williams