Jayden Saucedo, Audrey Meeks lead Team USA into day 2 of sanda championships

Team USA had a successful first day at the 2023 World Wushu Championships in sanda. Led by Jayden Saucedo and Audrey Meeks, they are hopeful for a repeat on day two.

By: Blaine Henry | 3 weeks ago
Jayden Saucedo, Audrey Meeks lead Team USA into day 2 of sanda championships
Audrey Meeks of Team USA Sanda at the 16th Wushu World Championships hosted in Fort Worth, Texas

As day two of the 2023 Sanda aka World Wushu Championships gets underway, Team USA looks to have their four remaining fighters continue with a win in the championship rounds. With competition from around the world, moving on to day three would be a huge accomplishment.

Day one: Jayden Saucedo wins Sanda World Championship debut

Under coach Cory Johnson from United Martial Arts in Lubbock, Texas, Jayden Saucedo won his first bout of the day by winning two straight rounds. His win marked the first for a debuting Team USA member. Johnson said of the match, “It’s not bad for a kid that’s trained with us for about two years.” He continues, “I think if the jitters are out he will do a lot better.”

On day two, Saucedo will take on Kazakhstan to move on to the semi finals of the event. Saucedo said of winning his first bout, “It felt exhilarating. It’s my first time at a tournament of this caliber. I’ve only been doing this two and a half years. I came out here and [my team] told me that this is an experience and to come out here to let it all loose.” He continues, “As the first round kept going on I kept surprising myself. I got more confident as the fight went on and ended up winning the first two.”

Now, however, the pressure is on for Jayden Saucedo. Hoping to represent Team USA well, Saucedo hopes to not let that weight on his shoulders get to him. “I know Kazakhstan is a big boxing country. [My last opponent] boxed me a lot. And they’re tough too. It will be a good test and the experience after the fight.”

Audrey Meeks moves on to day two

On the other side of things, Team USA’s only women’s sanda competitor, Audrey Meeks, wasn’t able to compete on the first day after her opponent did not show up capable of fighting. Meeks was handed the win and moved on to the second round by forfeiture.

That said, Meeks said the pressure is definitely on after having to get prepared for a fight only to go up and have her hand raised. “It was weird getting my gear on and getting ready for a fight that’s not going to happen. I think it’s going to get me ready for tomorrow’s fight.”

Team USA’s third sanda competitor, Vincent Meng, was handed a defeat in the first round, eliminating him from the tournament. Meng came out fighting hot and won the first round. The second was a tougher fight and after an accidental clash of heads, Meng couldn’t quite get the job done. The clash of heads split his brow open, despite the use of head gear. The gash, which dripped blood, required five stitches for a visually upset Meng who had high hopes for the 2023 World Sanda Championships.

Day two: Team USA looking for more success

After Jayden Saucedo’s win and Audrey Meeks’ advancement, Team USA has high hopes for day two of the competition. With the finals approaching and half the competitors eliminated, Coach Johnson and company have two more competitors to compete for the first time: Livingston McKenzie and Bruce Wang. The four will compete to move on to the next round today and continue the growth of USA sanda.

You can watch the IWUF World Championships live on YouTube for free! Tune in to cheer on Saucedo, Meeks, McKenzie and Wang as they hope to represent Team USA and make their country proud on the biggest stage.

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Blaine Henry
Blaine Henry

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