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Bunch, Honeycutt, Kjar, Schavrein winners at Agon Wrestling IV

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Shawn Bunch, Chris Honeycutt, Ben Kjar and Todd Schavrein all came out winners at Agon Wrestling IV: Venom in the Valley at Lemoore High School in California Saturday.

In the main event battle between two wrestlers with impressive collegiate and freestyle credentials, Bunch – a two-time NCAA All-American for Edinboro University who is now competing in mixed martial arts -- secured an 11-5 win over Stephen Abas, a three-time NCAA champ a decade ago for the now-defunct wrestling program at Fresno State. The match had been tied 5-5 at the end of the second period, but it appeared that Bunch’s youth and conditioning helped him ultimately defeat the 2004 Olympic silver medalist.

Abas is now 1-1 in Agon competition, having won his match at Agon Wrestling I in Las Vegas with a 2-1 victory over former Michigan State All-American Nick Simmons.

The opening match saw the first fall in the four-event Agon series, as Schavrein, an NCAA qualifier at the University of Missouri, pinned former Cerritos College wrestler (now MMA competitor) Cody Bollinger at 1:46 of the second period. Schavrein had amassed a 16-1 lead before putting Bollinger’s shoulders to the mat.

In the second bout of Agon IV, Ben Kjar, an NCAA All-American at Utah Valley University, topped Gabe Flores, a three-time NCAA qualifier for the University of Illinois, 8-2.

The third match featured two MMA competitors, Chris Honeycutt, and Raphael Davis. Davis stepped in on short notice when Honeycutt’s original opponent, Ryan Halsey, announced on Facebook March 13, “Sad to say that I'm out of Agon IV this Saturday as i tore my MCL and who knows what else.” Honeycutt, a 2011 NCAA finalist for Edinboro, put on a scoring demonstration… with the final score being 20-5.

Davis was philosophical about the loss, posting on Facebook: Got smoked by NCAA finalist @agonwc event today. Straight wrestling has passed me by, but was fun to go out & compete hard. Thx @agonwc!

Agon Wrestling IV is the last event of the first season for this new venture. Prior to this California event, Agon had an inaugural event in Las Vegas in late October, December's Agon II in Flint, Mich., and Agon III in Whitewater, Wis. in January. At all three Agon events, matches were wrestled following unique rules that drew heavily from collegiate folkstyle. One significant difference: the Agon bouts were nine minutes (three equal three-minute periods) instead of seven minutes in college. Another important distinction: Agon participants earn a paycheck for doing what they love.

“Agon” comes from Greek word describing a one-on-one, no-holds-barred contest where human nature was tested to the limits. “Agon” is the root of English words “antagonist” and “agony.”

Agon is one of at least three new ventures that offer prize money to post-collegiate wrestlers competing in amateur-style wrestling events. Tour ACW (Association of Career Wrestlers) had a test event in Pittsburgh in August, while Victory Wrestling Challenge – a product of Victory Fighting Championships, an Omaha-based MMA promotion – put on its inaugural event in its hometown in November. Each venture has its own rules and distinctive format; however, all provide wrestlers with an income alternative to entering MMA, professional wrestling or football.

Want to know more about Agon Wrestling Championships? Watch video of all four Agon Wrestling III: Festival of Funk matches online. Readers may follow Agon on Twitter... Facebook... and visit their official website.

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