Jayson Shaw Wins The Twenty Fifth International Challenge Of Champions

Jayson Shaw (File photo courtesy of Dave Thomson - Mediumpool.com)
“I watched this Tournament as a young boy and to now win it is amazing” said an elated Jayson Shaw moments after capturing the 2016 International Challenge of Champions title. The pressure packed $25,000 winner-take-all event was held at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 20.  Shaw, from Scotland, defeated Shane Van Boening of the United States in “sudden death” in the final match and was crowned the new “Champion of Champions.” The two semifinals and the Championship match were taped by ESPN for telecast beginning Sunday, December 11 at 4:00 EST.
“You have to play your best the entire tournament,” said Shaw “There’s no margin for error. I won the lag to break in Sudden Death and I knew if I missed one shot I would lose $25,000! That is pressure.”
Shaw played Kevin Cheng of Taiwan in the first Semifinal match. Cheng was off his game and Shaw played flawlessly winning both races to 5 handily 5-0 and 5-3. 
Shaw, the 2016 Derby City Classic 10 Ball Champion and Bergen Open 9 Ball Champion 9-Ball Champion then met Shane van Boening in the Finals who had defeated Alex Pagulayan, the 2016 Canadian Open Champion, in a sudden death tie breaker in the other semifinal. Alex won the first set 5-3 and Shane won the second set 5-4.  The sudden death game went back and forth with Shane pulling out a victory.
In the Finals, battling back and forth Shaw won the first set 5-4 and Van Boening took the second set 5-1.  The momentum appeared to be with van Boening, but in the one game sudden death Shaw won the lag, ran the table, and emerged the winner.  
The crowd gave Shaw a standing ovation when he won the final match. He raised his arms in victory and then accepted the highest single purse in international winner-take-all tournaments. The trophy and the check were presented by Gregg Hovey of Billiards International.
The 2016 event was the 25th annual International Challenge of Champions and the very last event to be held at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino, set to close on October 10, 2016.  Bill Talerico, Executive Vice President Sports & Entertainment for Taj Mahal, was delighted with the event and the support displayed by the crowd of pool fans. “This is a great event for the Taj Mahal to go out on.  I am only sorry we will not be around to host this again next year.”
In addition to the fine tournament site at the Trump Taj Mahal, the event was sponsored by Diamond Billiard Tables, Aramith Tournament Billiard Balls, Simonis Cloth, J. Pechauer Custom Cues, CueMate Cue Stands, PoolDawg.com, Cuetec, Marty Carey Jump Cues and Bill Westley Racks. The event was produced by Gregg Hovey of Billiards International.