To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee


  SOFIA (March 5-6) - Tomohiro Matsunaga capped the Japanese freestyle team’s winter tour of Europe with his second championship in as many competitions, dropping only one set on his way to the 55-kg crown at the Dan Kolov international.

  Matsunaga, who also won the Yasar Dogu title in Turkey in late February, breezed into the finals and overcame a second period lapse against Besik Gochashivili of Georgia for the championship. Matsunaga was named the outstanding foreign wrestler of the competition. With Olympic bronze medalist Chikara Tanabe on sabbatical, Matsunaga has raised Japanese hopes for a medal in this year's freestyle world championships in Budapest. And while there were no world medalists in the field at either meet, Matsunaga remarked that it helped his confidence to win against wrestlers from countries that were formerly in the Soviet Union.

  Meanwhile, Kunihiko Obata claimed a third place for Japan at 74 kg while Senshu University duo Yasuhiro Inaba and Akihito Tanaka fell in bronze-medal matches at 55 kg and 120 kg respectively.

Japanese results:

55 kg - MATSUNAGA, Tomohiro (1st, 13 entries)
1R - df. Berguia Anoha (FRA) by fall, 2P 0:54)
2R - df. Amzah (FRA), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)

SF - df. Yosefi Magid (IRI), 2-0 (6-0t=1:55, 3-3)
  Three-point takedown led to a first-period technical, but Matsunaga needed a last-second takedown to secure a 3-3 win in the second.

F1 - df. Besik Gochashivili (GEO), 2-1 (1-0, 0-1, 2-0)
  Matsunaga scored twice with double-leg takedowns midway through the third period to nail down his second championship of the tour.
55 kg - INABA, Yasuhiro (5th, 13 entries)

1R - bye
2R - df. Tekin Soyer (TUR), 2-1 (3-5, 1-1, 6-0t=1:54)

SF - lost to Besik Gochashivili (GEO), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)
  Inaba gave up takedowns in the first and second periods, and was not able to make up the difference.

F3 - lost to Ramazan Demir (TUR), 0-2 (0-1=2:15, 0-1)
  Inaba, starting on the defensive, lost the first-period clinch, and then was driven out-of-bounds in the second.
60 kg - KOJIMA, Tadafumi (16 entries)

1R - lost to Didier Pais (FRA), 0-2 (0-1, 1-5)
60 kg - YUMOTO, Kenichi (16 entries)

1R - df. Mustafa Bicer (TUR) 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
2R - lost to Koba Kakaladze (GEO), 0-2 (1-1, 0-4)
66 kg - KANABUCHI, Kiyofumi (dnp, 15 entries)

1R - lost to Mihail Ganev (BUL), 1-2 (0-1=2:28, 2-0, 1-1)
74 kg - OBATA, Kunihiko (3rd, 14 entries)

1R - df. Ryuta Takahashi (JPN), 2-1 (1-0, 1-3, 5-1)
2R - df. Benali Rachid (FRA), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)

SF - lost to Nikolay Paslar (BUL), 1-2 (0-1, 1-0, 0-2=2:14)
  Obata gave up a duck-under takedown in the first period, but won the clinch in the second. Obata had a chance to defeat the 2001 world champion in the third period when he won the coin toss. Paslar got off to a quick start and got around behind for the deciding point.

F3 - df. David Akhalmosulishivili (GEO), 2-1 (2-1, 0-1, 1-1)
  With the match knotted at one period for each wrestler, Obata fell behind when he gave up an early takedown. However, he came back with a front headlock and go-behind in the final minute for the last point -- the tiebreaker in a 1-1 situation.
74 kg - TAKAHASHI, Ryuta (dnp, 14 entries)

1R - lost to Kunihiko Obata (JPN), 1-2 (0-1, 3-1, 1-5)
84 kg - ISOKAWA, Takao (dnp, 14 entries)

1R - df. Shinya Matsumoto (JPN), 2-0 (4-3, 4-0)
2R - lost to Eslami Abazar (IRI), 0-2 (0-1, 1-1)
84 kg - MATSUMOTO, Shinya (dnp, 14 entries)

1R - lost to Takao Isokawa (JPN), 0-2 (3-4, 0-4)
120 kg - TANAKA, Akihito (5th, 12 entries)

1R - bye
2R - df. Fatih Cakirogu (TUR), 2-1 (3-1, 0-1, 6-1)

SF - lost to Biser Deianov (BUL) by fall (time not recorded)
  Tanaka gave up the first period on a takedown by Deianov. In the second period, Tanaka tried to a counter attack but was thrown to his back for the fall.

F3 - lost to David Musulbes (RUS) by TF, 0-2 (0-6t=1:47, 0-6t=1:29)
  Tanaka could not keep up with the former world and Olympic champion. Even when Tanaka was on the attack, Musulbes countered with ease.
96 kg - KODAIRA, Kiyotaka (11 entries)
1R - lost to Robatmoradi Alireza (IRI), 0-2 (0-1, 1-3)