Jian-Bo Fu of China Wins 2008 Challenge of Champions

“I am very happy to win this honor for China,” said an elated Jian-Bo Fu through his interpreter moments after capturing the 2008 International Challenge of Champions title. The pressure packed $50,000 winner-take-all event was held at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut,  August 13  and August 14.   Fu, from Beijing, China, defeated Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines  5-1 and 5-2 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 September 28.

“The pressure in the tournament is very hard,” said Fu. “No error is allowed when every player is a champion. The $50,000 is important, but the most wonderful thing is to return home as the Champion of Champions.”
Indeed, of the eight international champions in the event, Jian-Bo Fu had to fight his way through the quarterfinal round. In his first match, opposite Shane Van Boening, the 2007 Player of the Year, they split sets 5-1 and 5-0. Fu then won the one game tiebreaker. The Quarterfinal, Semifinal and Final matches require the winner to win two sets, race to 5 games each set. In the event of a tie, the pressure becomes intense with a one game sudden death shootout.

Fu, the 2007 World Cup Champion, next had to play Niels Feijen, the reigning  Champion of Champions, in a semifinal match, which Fu won 5-2 and 5-2. His final match against Dennis Orcollo was a nail biter, featuring exquisite safety play.  Known for his pinpoint accuracy, Fu closed out the Championship match by running the table with electrifying shots.
The Quarterfinal matches also brought cheers from the standing–room-only  crowd. 2007 Asian Tour Champion Jung-Lin Chang defeated 2007 World Champion Daryl Peach 5-4 and 5-3 in the first round. Niels Feijen blitzed Korean Seung-Woo Ryu, the 2008 Grand Prix Champion, by a score of 5-2 and 5-2. Orcollo and Satoshi Kawabata, the Japan Billiards Association Champion, split sets 5-4 and 5-4. After winning the lag for break, Orcollo then performed a flawless run out to take the one game Sudden Death tiebreaker. Orcollo next took on Chang in the other semifinal match and handily zapped him 5-1 and 5-0.
The crowd gave Jian-Bo Fu 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 of $50,000. The trophy and the check were presented by Bob Yalen, Director of Sports at Mohegan Sun. The presentation brought another round of cheers from the audience.

The 2008 event was the eighteenth annual International Challenge of Champions and the twelfth to be held at Mohegan Sun. Bob Yalen, of Mohegan Sun, was delighted with the support displayed by the crowd of pool fans. “We will continue to host this event,” he said. “The crowds were even more than we anticipated, and the players were amazing. We are extremely pleased.”
In addition to the fine tournament site at Mohegan Sun, the event was sponsored by Aramith Super Pro Balls, Simonis Cloth, PoolDawg.com, L.E.A.N.I. Slate, AcCue Shot Training Device, Executive Billiards Delta 13 Rack and Silver Cup Chalk. The WPA sanctioned event was produced by Matt Braun and Bettiane Braun of Billiards International, Ltd.