To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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


    GUANGZHOU, China (September 28) - National team newcomer Shinya Matsumoto notched a pair of wins and Takafumi Kojima posted a third victory for Japan at Tianhe Gymnasium. But, Japan’s three entries on the fourth day of the world championships left the arena empty-handed -- as all fell to wrestlers who eventually lost in the semifinals.

   Matsumoto, looking to match the performance of Nihon University teammate Noriyuki Takatsuka the day before, notched nail-biting wins in the first two rounds. Takatsuka took a bronze medal at 60 kg with some hard-nosed wrestling and late come-from-behind victories.

   In the first round, Matsumoto opened with a flying double-leg takedown for three points against Soslan Gattsiev of Belarus and then held off a late cross-ankle turn in the first period to forge a 3-3, 3-1 victory. In his second match, Matsumoto trailed Macedonia’s Dejan Bogdanov 3-4 in the second period, but chased the Euro junior bronze medalist out of bounds for a point and then took a single-leg and footsweep for the win.

   Matsumoto’s purple patch of good fortune, however, ran out in the quarterfinals as he was shut down by Uzbekistan’s Zaurbek Sokhiev in a 0-1, 0-4 loss. Matsumoto was eliminated from the competition and forced to settle for 10th place when Sokhiev lost in the semifinals to defending world champion Reza Mindorashivili.

   Sokhiev, runner-up in this year’s Asia championships, eventually took a bronze medal. The other bronze medal at 84 kg went to Reza Yazdani of Iran. In the gold medal final, Mindorashvili fell to 2003 world champion Sajid Sajidov of Russia.

   At 66 kg, Kojima opened with a one-sided win against Australia’s Gentian Balashi, but was overwhelmed 1-3, 0-7 by Ukraine’s Andriy Stadnik in the round of 16. Stadnik, a bronze medalist in the European championships this year, added another bronze to his collection with victory by fall over last year’s world runner-up Serafim Barzakov of Bulgaria. The other bronze medal went to Geandry Garzon of Cuba, repeating his showing of 2005.
In the gold medal match, American Bill Zadick edged Otar Tushishvili of Georgia 2-1 for his first world title.

   At 74 kg, Kunihiko Obata lost his opening match in a give-and-take battle with last year’s junior world champion Mihail Ganev of Bulgaria. Ganev upset Buvaisa Saitiev of Russia 2-1 in the quarterfinals and denied the six-time world champion a chance for a record-tying seventh freestyle world title.

   Ganev lost to Ukraine’s Ilbragim Aldatov in the semifinals, eliminating Obata, and then fell again to 2005 Asia runner-up Soslan Tigiev of Uzbekistan in the match for bronze medal. Aldatov won his first world title in a one-sided bout with Iran’s Ali Barzi Asghar while American Don Pritzlaff took the other bronze medal at 74 kg.
Results of matches involving Japanese entries:

66 kg - KOJIMA, Takafumi (15th, 35 entries)
Pr - df. Gentian Balashi (AUS), 2-0 (6-0, 6-0)
Knee picks and ankle picks give Kojima the one-sided win.
R1 - lost to Andriy Stadnik (UKR) 0-2 (1-3, 0-7)
A single leg and gut wrench in the first period and a knee pick and gut wrenches in the second show Kojima an early exit.
74 kg - OBATA, Kunihiko (21st, 35 entries)
R1 - lost to Mihail Ganev (BUL) 1-2 (1-0, 1-2, 0-1)
Obata takes the first period from the clinch, but cannot get anything going in the next two periods against the powerful youngster from Bulgaria.
84 kg - MATSUMOTO, Shinya (10th, 31 entries)
R1 - df. Soslan Gattsiev (BLR), 2-0 (3x-3, 3-1)
Matsumoto squandered a 3-0 first period lead, but stopped a cross-ankle turn to take the first period on his way to victory in his world team debut.

R2 - df. Dejan Bogdanov (MKD), 2-0 (1-0, 5-4)
Matsumoto won in the clinch in the first period, but again squandered a 3-0 lead in the second before rallying with a force-out point and a foot sweep.

QF - lost to Zaurbek Sokhiev (UZB), 2-0 (1-0, 4-0)
Giving up the first period, Matsumoto tried to avoid giving up a point in the second, but was arched over to his back for three points.