Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters representing Trinidad and Tobago won two of their four fights in the International MMA Federation (IMMAF) Pan American Championships in Monterrey, Mexico, this week.
A media release from TT MMA Federation president Jason Fraser on Friday reported that Anthony Joseph defeated Uruguay fighter Cristian Sanchez in a split decision in the semifinals of the men's welterweight division.
A split decision is one based on a majority verdict from judges rather than a unanimous one, especially as to the winner on points scored in a fight.
Joseph is expected to face US fighter Lester Bates Jr in the final category of the tournament on Friday.
In the heavyweight category, Trinidad and Tobago's Jeremy Rodulfo defeated Mexican fighter Marco Mendez via a technical knockout in the first round and will face Guyana fighter Carl Ramsey in the finals.
Speaking with Newsday via WhatsApp, Rodulfo said he was happy to be able to win his fight and move on to the finals.
"I didn't feel really excited about it, because I knew I had more work to do, so I was and still am in the mode to finish the job.
"I expect to come back home with the gold and to make my coaches, my friends and my country proud."
TT fighter Mikhell Allen was defeated by submission to Uruguay fighter Emiliano Gonda in the middleweight category and Ronnie Chadband was defeated in a technical knockout by US fighter Gabe Rednose in the lightweight category.
Chadband and Allen won bronze medals despite their losses.
Responding to Newsday's questions via WhatsApp, Fraser said despite the losses he was pleased with the performance of all fighters.
He said while TT's Aden Williams lost in the preliminary round of the tournament, he won the respect of international fighters, and he was optimistic Rodulfo and Joseph would win.
"Aden fought a guy who has been to the world championship twice, and I think he won the heart of the Mexican spectators, so I'm very pleased with the team.
"Everyone went beyond my expectations, only because we have two senior athletes Jeremy and Anthony, who made it straight into the finals.
"Mikhell Allenm who is a soldier in Trinidadm came onto this team and burst onto the international scene to win bronzem which is in itself an accomplishmentm and Ronnie Chadband also – they were amazing with their performance."
Fraser also credited the victories to coaches Warren Gill and Kerry Grant.
Contacted for comment, Grant said he was generally pleased with the performance of the team.
He said despite Williams' defeat, he was impressed with his skill, as it was his first tournament.
He also praised the skills of Rodulfo and Joseph and was optimistic they would continue their dominance into the finals.
Joseph, he said, "did a good job and he's one of the hardest-working fighters to get to the finals. He did what he was trained to do, he kept his head in the game and he fought two tough opponents.
"Winning this gold medal isn't going to be easy – his opponent is a state champion in wrestling – but we think we can get the job done.
"Jeremy did what he was supposed to do and he defeated one of Mexico's top kickboxers. He TKOd the guy in the very first round. And now hes going even further as he competes against the Guyanese fighter today."