To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


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

July wrestling news


  TOKYO (July 11) - Melbourne Olympic gold medalist Shozo Sasahara was named one of this year's inductees into the international wrestling Hall of Fame.

  Sasahara, who won his gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Games, will join fellow Japanese Olympic champions Yuji Takada (inducted in 2004) and Yojiro Obata (2005) in the Hall in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Takada was the 52-kg freestyle gold medalist at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and Obata, formerly Uetake, was a two-time gold medalist at 57 kg in Tokyo (1964) and Mexico City (1968).

  Sasahara, who hails from Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan, began wrestling at Chuo University years of practicing kendo. Long recognized as one of wrestling's master technicians, Sasahara won the 1954 world championships title before claiming the gold medal in Melbourne. His signature technique was the'leg grapevine。ア in par terre.

  Sasahara coached the Japanese teams at the 1960 and the 1964 Olympics. In 1987, he became the chairman of the board for the Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation. He served as JWF president from April 1989 to March 2003. Sasahara also served as a vice president with the international wrestling federation, FILA, and with the Japanese Olympic Committee.

  Sasahara will be presented his award for his induction to the Hall of Fame at the September 24-October 1 world championships in Guangzhou, China.

  Also to be inducted are:

Soslan Andiev, Soviet Union (1976, 1980 Olympic champion, 4x world champion),
Leri Chabelova, Soviet Union-Russia (1992 Olympic champion, 5x world champion)
Kim Il, DRP Korea (1992, 1996 Olympic champion)

Frank Andersson, Sweden (4x world champion, 1984 Olympic bronze medalist)
Nikolai Balboshin, Soviet Union (1976 Olympic champion, 5x world champion)
Maik Bullman, East Germany-Germany (1992 Olympic champion, 3x world champion)
Islam Dugushiev, Soviet Union-Russia-Azerbaijan (4x time world champion, 1992 Olympic silver medalist)

Christine Nordhagen-Vierling, Canada (6x world champion)


  TOKYO, July 18 - Ryo Minemura and Nobuyoshi Arakida won titles for the men and Kei Yamana made it two in a row for the women in the Asian junior wrestling championships in Abu Dhabi. Minemura of Kanagawa University opened with a triumph at 55 kg in greco-roman for Japan and Arakida closed the competition with the freestyle title at 120 kg.

  In the female competition, Japan continued its domination as Yamana of Chukyo Women's Universtiy repeated as champion and Japan won three of the eight titles on offer.

Final placement of Japanese wrestlers:
50 kg - no entry (6 entries)
55 kg - Nagae Shota, 5th (7 entries)
60 kg - Kaoru Anzawa, 3rd (9 entries)
66 kg - Kazuki Morikawa, 2nd (8 entries)
74 kg - Aoi Otsuki, 5th (6 entries)
84 kg - Daisuke Fujimoto, 3rd (7 entries)
96 kg - Tetsuro Asami, 5th (7 entries)
120 kg - Nobuyoshi Arakida, 1st (5 entries)

50 kg - Kota Otani, 5th (7 entries)
55 kg - Ryo Minemura, 1st (10 entries)
60 kg - Ryota Sato, 5th (10 entries)
66 kg - Tomohiro Inoue, 5th (9 entries)
74 kg - Shin Kikuchi, 8th (8 entries)
84 kg - Masaaki Yano, 7th (8 entries)
96 kg - Masaki Chikada, 5th (6 entries)
120 kg - Shinichi Hirakawa, 3rd (6 entries)

44 kg - Asahi Kato, 5th (5 entries)
48 kg - Tomomi Kawamura, 2nd (5 entries)
51 kg - Megumi Maehara, 1st (3 entries)
55 kg - Mika Kunieda, 3rd (6 entries)
59 kg - Kei Yamana, 1st (4 entries)
63 kg - Marina Takahashi, 2nd (3 entries)
67 kg - Hiroe Suzuki, 1st (5 entries)
72 kg - no entry (3 entries)


  TOKYO (July 29) - Four-time former world champion Seiko Yamamoto has decided to hang up her wrestling shoes and will marry a member of the Japanese national handball team.

  Yamamoto announced that she leave Japan Beverage at the end of July and support her future husband, Hideaki Nagashima, in his bid to help Japan qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Yamamoto denied, however, that she was retiring from wrestling because of her pending marriage. "I have lost the desire to continue wrestling," Yamamoto said. "I would continue to wrestle if I had the feeling -- even if I was married."

  In recent years, Yamamoto has been plagued with a number of niggling injuries and failed in her bid to qualify for the Athens Olympics at 55 kg. In March, she also lost to Ayako Shoda in a national team wrestle-off at 59 kg for this year's world championships.

  Regarding the possibility of making a comeback, Yamamoto remarked "I don't want to say 'absolutely not.' If I feel like it, I might try again."

  Seiko is the youngest of three children of Munich Olympian Ikue Yamamoto. Seiko's older sister Miyu was a pioneer in Japanese female wrestling, while brother Norifumi has been making his mark in the mixed martial arts. Seiko won her first world championship at 51 kg in 1999 and then added back-to-back titles at 55 kg in 2000 and 2001. Her fourth world crown came in 2003 at 59 kg.

  One of the few women to own a victory over Saori Yoshida, Yamamoto failed in her bid to qualify for the 2004 Olympic team by unseating the eventual Athens gold medalist.


  TOKYO (July 22) - Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto has announced he will take a break from his career in the mixed martial arts for a chance to wrestle in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Yamamoto will make his bid at 60 kg and train at his alma mater of Yamanashi Gakuin. His first test will come in November at the Shakaijin Open (for non-student seniors) and the national championships next January.

  "I've always had a dream about going to the Olympics. And now, at 29, this is my last chance to make this challenge," Yamamoto told reporters at a Tokyo hotel. "I know if I don't try it know, I will regret it the rest of my life."

  Asked about his plans to take a break from his budding pro career to focus on wrestling, Yamamoto remarked 'Wrestling is not something so easy that I can expect to win while still doing mixed martial arts." "Further, it would be rather rude to my opponents and the fans if I only practiced wrestling and still fought in the MMA ring."

  A handful of pro wrestlers and fighters in Japan have attempted to make comebacks in "amateur wrestling" in the past, but have had only very limited success. Yamamoto dismissed the comparison to other pros, saying "The others have nothing to do with me. I'm doing this because there is the possibility (of success) and I am confident (I can succeed)."

  Yamamoto's former coach at YGU Yuji Takada hailed his protege's return to the mat and reasoned that the new rules will help the former collegiate champion. "In the past it was two 3-minute periods mostly on the mat. But now it is a 2-minute, 3-set system mostly on the feet," said Takada. "In the past there was also a question about Yamamoto's stamina and defense in par terre, but the rules work in his favor now," added Takada, who is chairman of the board of directors for the Japan Wrestling Federation.

  Yamamoto was a two-time junior high school national champion in Japan and finished sixth at the cadet world championships for wrestlers 15-16 years old. He went to high school in the United States and then matriculated at YGU where he won the Japanese collegiate open and collegiate national championships crowns in 1999 as a senior.

  Yamamoto's best showing at the All-Japan national championships was a second place finish to Hiroki Sekikawa, also in 1999.


  TOKYO (July 27) - Japanese national freestyle team hopefuls departed for Kaliningrad, Russia for two weeks of training at an international training camp and to compete in the Beloglazov International on August 4-6. Before departing, head coach Hajime Wakui said "We have a number of young wrestlers and they have a lot to learn. We hope this trip will serve as a stimulus to the wrestlers in many ways."

  In 2003, Chikara Tanabe won the Beloglazov title at 55 kg while Kazuhiko Ikematsu (66 kg) and Hidekazu Yokoyama (84) were runners-up as each of the wrestlers used the experience as a springboard to the world championships and Olympics.

Members of the squad include:
Coach - Takahiro Wada
55 kg - Hidenori Taoka, Tomohiro Matsunaga
60 kg - Noriyuki Takatsuka
66 kg - Takafumi Kojima, Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu
74 kg - Kunihiko Obata, Kazuyuki Nagashima
84 kg - Shinya Matsumoto


  TOKYO (July 23) - Greco-roman ace Shingo Matsumoto embarked on a month-long solo training tour of Europe in preparation for this year's world championships in China. Matsumoto is scheduled to train with the Hungarian national team for two weeks before joining the Japanese national team in Turkey on August 10. Matsumoto and the Japanese team are then scheduled to travel to Poland for the prestigious Pytlasinski International meet August 24-26 in Poland.

  Because it is difficult to find suitable training partners in Japan, Matsumoto, who wrestles at 84 kg, made a two-month training tour of Europe in 2003. At that time, Matsumoto was joined by national team coach Hiroshi Kado who was on a year-long sabbatical in Ukraine.

  This year's journey, however, is a solo tour and is being seen as a chance for Matsumoto to strengthen his competitive resolve as well as his technique. "Pytlasinski is one month before the world championships, so I want to see what the results of the training in Hungary and Turkey will be," Matsumoto said. "Last year, I had a poor training camp in Sugadaira before the world championships. This year I feel good. I want to train hard in Europe and do my best at the world championships (in Guangzhou, China)."


  TOKYO (July 6) - The Japanese greco-roman national team leave for Turkey on August 9 for two weeks of training in Turkey and then travel to Poland for the prestigious Pytlasinski International in Warsaw August 24-26.

The Japanese delegation will include:
Head coach - Hiromichi Ito
Coach - Hiroshi Kado
55 kg - Masatoshi Toyota, Shingo Hirai
60 kg - Makoto Sasamoto
66 kg - Masaki Imuro
74 kg - Taichi Suga, Tsukasa Tsurumaki
84 kg - Shingo Matsumoto
96 kg - Kenzo Kato


  TOKYO (July 7-8) - Musashi Nagao of Kinki University led a group of West Japan collegians to the Canada Cup competition in Guelph, Canada and came away with the championship title at 55 kg.


  HIGASHI IZU, Shizuoka (July 1-2) - Winners at the All-Japan Shakaijin (non-student seniors) Wrestling Championships at Higashi-Izu Municipal Sports Center:

Men's freestyle
55 kg - Takeshi Sugitani, Japan Self-Defense Forces
60 kg - Seshito Shimizu, Clean-up
66 kg - Kiyoshi Kuroda, SDF
74 kg - Kazuhiko Ikematsu, K-Powers
84 kg - Hiroshi Shibata, Yamaguchi
96 kg - Masahide Hanada, Wakayama
120 kg - Yoichi Akiba, Gunma

Women's freestyle
51 kg - Makiko Sakamoto, SDF
55 kg - Hitomi Sakamoto, SDF
59 kg - Yu Sekine, SDF
63 kg - Chie Ishii, Dream Stage Entertainment

Men's greco-roman
55 kg - Takumu Otsu, Starts
60 kg - Yasuyuki Tanioka, SDF
66 kg - Hiroshi Shimomura, SDF
74 kg - Hideki Goto, Nihon Bunri Univ., instructor
84 kg - Mitsuhiro Ota, Oita
96 kg - Ken Sogabe, Kokushikan club
120 kg - Tetsuya Shato, Nippon Sports Science Univ., OB

Team competition
Industrial division - ALSOK Sogo Keibi Hosho
Club division - Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
Women's division - Japan Beverage


   OARAI, Ibaraki (July 30) - Boris Mujikov of Yamanashi Gakuin University won the senior heavyweight title at the Don Quixote Cup All-Japan Beach Wrestling Championships and was named the senior men's outstanding wrestler.

   Ken Numajiri of Kokushikan University won the lightweight title and Hisashi Aoyama of Toyo University was the senior men's middleweight champion.