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Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Drama and many surprises turned the 2019 International FXC Championship, held in Boca del Rio, Veracruz (Mexico) last Nov. 23 - 24, into a memorable sport event.

Organized by the Internatinal FXC Federation in association with the Mexican FXC Federation, the Italian AICS - Associazione Italiana Cultura e Sport and the Mexican INDET - Instituto Nacional Deportes de los Trabajadores, the event’s two competing categories (“Open” and “International”) and the double elimination system meant plenty of spectacle, with 18 one-hour-matches played in 2 days!

The event was a massive commitment of time, energy, and money for half of the 13 teams that had to travel to Veracruz from the Mexican states of Queretaro, Mexico and Michoacan and from 6 different cities in the United States. 140 athletes willing to prove themselves in the explosive, inclusive and coed sport of FXC - Fireball Extreme Challenge™, willing to compete for two days, playing up to 5 matches in a row to win the FXC trophies.

The tournament kicked off on Saturday, November 23rd under the dome of the Unidad Deportiva Hugo Sanchez, in Boca del Rio with an opening match between SNTE’s Las Panteras (The Panthers) from Queretaro and the Michoacan-based team of “Los Bravos” and the latter prevailing with a decisive score of 136 to 25.

In the second match of the day, the Capitanes de Xalapa, the best team in the International FXC ranking, confirmed they were still at the top of their game, defeating the Eagles of Queretaro with a devastating 309 to 29.

The third match was one the most anticipated of the day: the local heroes of Los Toros vs the DC Falcons, at their first participation in a FXC competition. Everyone knew the US joining FXC - Fireball Extreme Challenge™ would mean troubles for the other teams, but - thanks to Romone F. Penny’s strategy to keep all US training sessions under wrap - no one had ever seen the DC Falcons or the USA team in action. Nobody knew what to expect. The home supporters cheered their team until the final whistle, but it was not enough to stop the Falcons’ avalanche. The American athletes impressed everyone with their incredible athletic abilities, arial superiority and imposed their rhythm since the first ball possession, winning the match 111 to 34. The USA seemed unbeatable and people started to worry.

The fourth match between the SNTE’s Leones Blancos (White Lions) and the Capitanes de Boca del Rio took place in an electric atmosphere.. After the US team, the Leones Blancos proved to be the second big surprise of the tournament. The public witnessed some fast actions in a nail-biting contest between the Queretaro’s rookies and the Vice-Champions. With the first and second games of the match ending up respectively 41 to 45 and 51 to 55, the athletes from Boca del Rio did not have a dull moment. It was only after a couple of strategic changes and in the third game, that they managed to secure a win with a score of 115 to 98. Galvanized by their first match, the White Lions got ready to get back into the competition: the only thing they had to do now was winning all the matches of the Group B (created by the double elimination system).

The last match of the morning between the newly formed Los Capitanes de Orizaba and the Krakens produced the last big surprise of the day, with the green rookies from Orizaba, at their first appearance, beating 107 to 56 the more experience Krakens. Los Capitanes de Orizaba was the third team formed by Jaime Gotoo and Teresa Martinez, already owners of the champion and vice-champion teams of Xalapa and Boca del Rio. A third winning team produced by this power-couple is a way to consolidate their position in the overall FXC ranking both a national and international level and to send out a strong message: is there anyone willing to take up their challenge out there?

In the afternoon, the teams who had lost their first match competed in Group B to win the right to come back into the competition, playing in the first semi-final. All matches lasted only half an hour (one game: 10 ball possessions per team).

The SNTE’s Panteras defeated Queretaro’s Eagles 46 to 10. The Krakens’s fight back into the competition started well as they hold off the spirited Los Toros’ charges for a 27-25 victory after a thrilling match. They defeated their following adversary, the SNTE’s Panteras 66 to 12 but they were eventually stopped by the Queretaro’s Leones Blancos 44 to 22.

The second day of the championship began with the 3 matches of the International category.

The mighty USA, Mexico and the International (a team made by Mexicans and foreigners and promoting the topic of #inclusion) would face off to win the category’s trophy.

In the first match, USA vs International, the Americans once again amazed the audience with their acrobatic and athletic abilities but their advantage over their opponent looked smaller if compared to the previous day. Under 6 points in the first game (24 to 30), they took back the lead of the match in the second game (37 - 28), stealing the ball several times and showing great attacking strategies. The US fireballers consolidated their advantage in the last 3 ball possessions, winning 68 to 61.

The USA squad - at the helm of Romone F. Penny - had so far fared well in the Championship. Debuting in a new extreme sport, with a team made of super athletes but from 6 different cities, and with very limited opportunities to play and train together was not an easy task and winning two matches back to back was already a great achievement. The US athletes were able to jump over 2 meters high, seemed to catch every ball in mid air, they were fast and explosive… but the first signs of fatigue had started to show in the match vs International. Would they be able to keep it up for 4 more hours?