The Official Black Belt Magazine World Sport Karate Rankings have been updated once again following the action-packed 40th anniversary of the Ocean State Grand Nationals. Promoters Don and Christine Rodrigues put up a remarkable $20,000+ in prize money, which resulted in some of the top sport martial artists in the world descending on Warwick, Rhode Island. One of the major draws was the SuperFights division, which paid out $3,000 to the winner and led to a litany of marquee matchups over the weekend.
Elijah Everill, formerly the top-ranked lightweight point fighter in the world by Black Belt Magazine, moved to the heavyweight half of the bracket at this event. The committee decided to move him completely to the heavyweight rankings until further notice, where his performance this weekend earned him a tie for the number one spot in that division with incumbent leader Avery Plowden. These titans of point fighting met twice in individual competition at The Ocean States, Plowden winning the first bout in the opening round of SuperFights by a score of 10-6, and Everill taking the second matchup for the Heavyweight Overall Grand by a score of 12-7. The next of these combatants to get a major win under their belt will likely have sole possession of the top spot.
That's just the heavyweights, what about the ridiculously deep lightweight division? Bailey Murphy, inactive so far in 2022 but expected to return at the Battle of Atlanta, is clinging to the top spot while Jack Felton and Tyson Wray have asserted themselves in the second and third spots respectively. These formidable lightweights have made waves in the open weight division as well. Given Murphy's inactivity and the absurd amount of talent between the weight classes, the Team Straight Up superstar fell to the third spot, making room for Felton to take the lead with his back-to-back open weight wins at the Compete Internationals and Ocean States. SuperFights winner Avery Plowden sits in second, as mentioned the Diamond Nationals open weight champion Bailey Murphy is in third, followed by Warrior Cup winner Darren "Dee Stacks" Payne, and Tyson Wray, who defeated Everill in the open weight division in Rhode Island, holds the final spot in the top five.
In other point fighting news regarding the rankings update, Team All Stars catapulted to the top of the team fighting division with an impressive win led by Everill, Felton, and Kevin Walker. Top Ten Team USA's Tahirah Abdul-Qadir made her adult debut over the weekend and recorded an impressive win over Compete Internationals champion Cassandra De La Barrera in the lightweight grands. She fell short to the ultra-dominant Morgan Plowden in the overall grands, but the effort was still enough to lift her to the third spot in women's fighting.
On the forms and weapons side, there was not nearly as much movement as we saw in point fighting. Danny Etkin, yet to be seen in 2022, fell out of the rankings entirely due to inactivity as AKA Warrior Cup men's CMX forms overall grand champion Shaquan Parson becomes the new number one. New Team Paul Mitchell member Dawson Holt shot up the rankings in the same division with his overall grand championship at The Ocean States. Speaking of new Team Paul Mitchell members, all five of the other new additions hold a top ranking in at least one division. Notably, Esteban Tremblay and Isabella Nicoli each won double overall grand championships in junior forms and weapons to help them either upgrade or maintain their position. Wassim Dridi of Team Competitive Edge also won double overall grands and he is trending upwards in multiple youth divisions.
Suffice it to say, the Ocean State Grand Nationals featured a plethora of elite sport karate competitors. Check out the complete Black Belt Magazine Sport Karate Rankings to see how the dust settled in detail.
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