To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee
Kyodo World Services, senior sports


TOKYO (February 11) --- Makoto Sasamoto and Shingo Matsumoto capped a successful tour of the United States for the Japanese national teams by winning individual titles in the Dave Schultz Memorial wrestling tournament on February 8-9. Sasamoto's title at 60 kg and Matsumoto's crown at 84 kg in the greco-roman competition followed Japan's promising showing a week earlier in the Concord Cup International in which Masatoshi Toyoda topped the field at 55 kg.

   Among Sasamoto's victories on the tour was a 4-3 decision over 2001 world champion Dilshod Aripov of Uzbekistan. His win over Aripov in Concord helped Japan to a 13-13 win over Uzbekistan in the team competition but also led to some confusion about his individual ranking at the end of the meet. Japanese coaches initially reported that Sasamoto, with a 4-1 record in the Concord Cup, had finished on top of the individual standings at 60 kg.

  Organizers and USA Wrestling said that Sasamoto had finished second, but Japanese coaches later pointed out that their man had tallied more points than any other entry at 60 kg. Since the meet was organized as a team competition, there were no awards for individual places although final rankings were calculated. In the team competition, Japan finished with only one win against four losses.

  "I think it was a great experience to have a good match against a former world champion and that gave me confidence to win in the Dave Schultz meet" Sasamoto said after returning to Japan. "But, I also gave up points in the par terre position, so I have to get better in the defensive position."

  "Last year, I started off with a couple of wins in international tournaments. But I wasn't able to win the Asian Games, so I can't be satisfied," added Sasamoto, who finished with a bronze medal in the games last October. "So I can't be satisfied right now. We have another tour coming up in Europe and I want to improve on my feet offensively and on my defense on the mat."

  After returning to Japan, Toyoda said that he had been a little concerned about a pulled muscle going into the Concord Cup meet. "I was able to relax in my matches and scored with my lifts, so I'm satisfied," said Toyoda, whose five wins included a 3-2 victory over former world No. 2 Brandon Paulson of the United States. "In the Dave Schultz meet, I lost to an opponent (Lindsay Durlacher) I beat in Concord, but was unable to score from the par terre position this time," added the Tokyo police officer.

  Asked about the trip to the U.S., Toyoda remarked "I was a little nervous since I hadn't wrestled overseas for a while. I think I made some progress, but I want to do well on the next trip since we'll be going to Europe -- where greco-roman is the toughest."

  Asian Games champion Matsumoto, meanwhile, sat out the Concord Cup since he was not feeling well, but used the time to gear up for the Dave Schultz tourney. "Winning against some of the top wrestlers from the United States and Cuba was a good experience and adds to my confidence," Matsumoto said with an eye on the Asian and world championships this year. "I've gotten much better with the tawara-gaeshi (reverse waistlock and lift) and want to perfect it so I can score on any opponent," Matsumoto said. "Physically, I think I can match any other competitor in the world. So I think if I can master the finer points of my techniques, I should be able to win."

  "I really hope to have a chance to face Yerlikaya again," Matsumoto said of two-time Olympic champion Hamza Yerlikaya of Turkey, who defeated the Japanese wrestler last September at the world championships in Moscow.

  Also at the Dave Schultz meet, Chikara Tanabe fell to Olympic silver medalist Sammie Henson 2-3 in the finals of the 55 kg competition in freestyle. Japan's own Olympic silver medalist Katsuhiko Nagata finished third at 74 kg in greco-roman.

  Former three-time world champion Miyu Yamamoto, meanwhile, continued with her comeback quest by taking a silver medal in the women's competition after losing to 2000 world runner-up Patricia Miranda of the U.S. 6-11 in the final at 48 kg. Yamamoto, who paid her own way to Colorado Springs, admitted later that she had run out of gas in the championship in the higher altitudes of the Rocky Mountains.

  "I had heard that it would be difficult breathing here, but I didn't expect the air to be this thin" said Yamamoto, who led Miranda 5-2 before being overtaken. Asked about her three-year hiatus from the mats, Yamamoto remarked,"I don't think that that was a problem, I just have to get my basic stamina back."

  Former three-time world champion Seiko Yamamoto, who accompanied her older sister to the U.S., meanwhile, skipped the competition apparently still bothered by an injury to her heel suffered last fall.

  A total of 22 wrestlers from Japan, representing the men。ッs national teams, a junior selection squad and competitors who paid their own way, entered the Dave Schultz meet. The men's greco-roman team next heads to Greece (March 18 to April 3) for a joint training camp and the Acropolis international tourney on March 29-30 in Athens. The freestyle team will make its swing through Europe from March 25 to April 8, wrestling in Belarus and Bulgaria.

Results of Japanese entries at the Dave Schultz Memorial:


55 kg -- Chikara Tanabe (2nd, 14 entries)
1R -- defeated Alexandr Kaminski, Belarus 7-1
2R -- bye
3R -- defeated Eric Albarracin, U.S. 7-0
SF -- defeated Rene Montero, Cuba 3-2
Championship -- lost to Sammie Henson, U.S. 2-3

55 kg -- Masashi Saito (4th, 14 entries)
1R -- defeated Tim Dernlan, U.S. 4-1
2R -- pinned Edwin Martinez, U.S. 0:23
3R -- bye
SF -- lost TF to Sammie Henson, U.S. 1-13 (4:46)
Final for 3rd -- lost to Rene Montero, Cuba 3-1

55 kg -- Takashi Adachi (6th, 14 entries)
1R -- lost TF to Sammie Henson, U.S. 0-11 (0:31)
2R -- defeated Miguel Martinez, Mexico by TF 13-2 (2:05)
3R -- defeated Ali Shemol, Bulgaria 6-1

60 kg -- Ryosuke Ota (9th, 15 entries)
1R -- pinned Andrew Perez, U.S. 1:37
2R -- lost to Jason Kutz, U.S. 5-9
3R -- bye

60 kg -- Junpei Hashiji (10th, 15 entries)
1R -- lost TF to Michael Lightner, U.S. 2-12 (5;54)
2R -- won by default
3R -- bye

66 kg -- Kazuyuki Miyata (14th, 22 entries)
1R -- lost to Reggie Wright, U.S. 2-7
2R -- defeated Ilian Stefanov, Bulgaria 3-1 (6:05)
3R -- bye

66 kg -- Kazuhiko Ikematsu (4th, 22 entries)
1R -- defeated Max Shingara, U.S. 14-6
2R -- bye
3R -- defeated John Fischer, U.S. 5-3
QF -- defeated Adam Tirapelle, U.S. by TF 14-3 (5:02)
SF -- lost to Doug Schwab, U.S. 2-5
Final for 3rd ィC lost TF to Gardris Garzon, Cuba 1-12 (5:21)

66 kg -- Muneyuki Suzuki (11th, 22 entries)
1R -- defeated W.R. Groves, U.S. 4-3 (6:26)
2R -- bye
3R -- lost to Doug Schwab, U.S. 4-10

74 kg -- Kunihiko Obata (6th, 17 entries)
1R -- defeated Yoshady Sanchez, Cuba 6-2
2R -- bye
3R -- lost to Josh Koscheck, U.S. 1-3 (6:06)
QF -- lost to Donny Pritzlaff, U.S. 3-6

74 kg -- Yosuke Kato (17th, 17 entries)
1R -- bye
2R -- lost TF to Murad Gaidorov, Belarus 0-10 (5:31)
3R -- lost TF to Byron Tucker, U.S. 0-10 (5:57)

74 kg -- Yuta Nakasuji (14th, 17 entries)
1R -- bye
2R -- lost to Joe Heskett, U.S. 0-9
3R -- lost to Brian Stith, U.S. 5-9

120 kg -- Akihito Tanaka (5th, 8 entries)
1R -- lost to Brian Keck, U.S. 0-3
2R -- lost to Angelo Borzio, U.S. 0-6
3R -- pinned Eric Kirscner, Canada 0:45


55 kg ィC Masatoshi Toyoda (5th, 15 entries)
1R -- lost by fall to Lindsey Durlacher, U.S. 5:25
2R -- defeated Anthony Gibbons, U.S. 6-1
3R -- defeated Enrique Montiel, U.S. 3-0

55 kg -- Bunsei Murakami (13th, 14 entries)
1R -- lost to Brandon Paulson, U.S. 0-7
2R -- bye
3R -- lost to Kim Holk, Sweden 1-3

60 kg -- Makoto Sasamoto (1st, 16 entries)
1R - won TF over Jason Chao, U.S. 14-0 (4:19)
2R - won TF over Marcos Jeabtete, U.S. 10-0 (2:54)
3R - bye
SF - defeated Joe Warren, U.S. 4-2
Championship - defeated James Gruenwald, U.S. 3-2

60 kg - Hiroshi Shimomura (15th, 16 entries)
1R - bye
2R - lost TF to James Gruenwald, U.S. 0-11 (2:19)
3R - lost TF to Nurlan Koizhaiganov, Kazakhstan 0-10 (1:41)

66 kg - Masaki Imuro (11th, 22 entries)
1R - bye
2R - defeated Cory Posey, U.S. 4-0 (6:19)
3R - lost to Philippe Bendjoudi, France 4-5

66 kg - Noritomo Eto (15th, 22 entries)
1R - bye
2R - lost to Ron Muir, U.S. 0-4 (7:20)
3R - defeated Darnell Lollis, U.S. 7-6

76 kg - Katsuhiko Nagata (3rd, 21 entries)
1R - bye
2R - defeated Dan Catarello by TF 10-0 (5:11)
3R - defeated Andrei Stashonak, U.S. 3-0 (6:16)
QF - defeated Marcel Cooper, U.S. 4-1 (6:11)
SF - lost to Filiberto Azcuy, Cuba 1-8
Final for 3rd - won by default

84 kg - Shingo Matsumoto (1st, 14 entries)
1R - won by default
2R - defeated James Meyer, U.S. 8-0
3R - defeated Jake Clark, U.S. 10-2
SF - defeated Keith Sieracki, U.S. 5-4
Championship - defeated Aaron Sieracki, U.S. 5-0

96 kg - Shuhei Taniguchi (10th, 17 entries)
1R - lost to Adam Wheeler, U.S. 3-4
2R - defeated Jeff Munson, U.S. 7-0
3R - lost to R.C. Johnson, U.S. 0-4


48 kg - Miyu Yamamoto (2nd, 18 entries)
1R - bye
2R - pinned Monica Harris, U.S. 1:08
3R - pinned Kristin Fujioka, U.S. 2:56
QF - pinned Carol Hyunh, Canada 2:53
SF - defeated Lyndsay Belisle, Canada 9-3
Championship - lost to Patricia Miranda, U.S. 6-11