To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

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

March wrestling news


SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (March 1-2) - Tsukasa Tsurumaki defeated a pair of world place winners on their way to the Beijing Olympics to take a bronze medal at the Hungary Cup greco-roman tournament. Tsurumaki, who lost his all-Japan crown over the winter, posted four convincing wins at the FILA Grand Prix event and hopes that it will convince Japanese wrestling officials to give him a shot at qualifying 74 kg for Japan at the Olympic qualifying competitions in May.

Tsurumaki’s only loss came in a 2-1 nail-biter in the quarterfinals against 2006 European silver medalist Aleh Michalovich of Belarus.

Despite hurting his shoulder in the match with Michalovich, Tsurumaki rebounded with wins the consolation bracket with wins over world bronze medalist Christoph Guenot of France and Poland’s Julian Kwit, a fifth-place finisher in Baku.

On the second day of competition, Japan’s three entries, including world silver medalist at 60 kg Makoto Sasamoto, lost early and did not qualify for the consolation bracket. Sasamoto lost to 66-kg world runner-up Steeve Guenot of France 1-2 after an old ankle injury slowed the Japanese veteran.

Also at 66 kg, Tsutomu Fujimura also lost to Guenot after posting a win over an American opponent in his opening match.

Guenot defeated 60-kg Olympic champion Jung Ji-Hyun in the quarterfinals, but lost to world champion Farid Mansurov of Azerbaijan in the semifinals, eliminating Sasamoto and Fujimura from further competition.

Kenzo Kato, who qualified for the Olympics with a fifth-place finish at the world championships, looked good in his start against Jakob Cedergren, but was dropped in the third period by the Swedish muscle-man and did not have a chance at the consolation bracket.
Results of bouts involving Japanese entries:

66kg - SASAMOTO, Makoto (did not place, 35 entries)
R1 - bye

R2 - lost to Steeve Guenot (FRA), 1-2 (1-2, 3-0, 0-2)
 Sasamoto is stung with a pair of penalty points and drops the first period, but claims the second with solid defense and a front headlock and turn. In the third period, an old ankle injury comes back to plague Sasamoto as he is turned in the final 30 seconds.


66 kg - FUJIMURA, Tsutomu (did not place, 35 entries)
R1 - bye

R2 - df. Faruk Sahin (USA), 2-0 (2-1, 6-0=1:00)
 Fujimura takes the first period with a chest-high gut wrench, and then eases through the second with a pair of snap downs each followed with a gut wrench.

R3 - lost to Steeve Guenot (FRA), 0-2 (0-3, 1-6)
 Fujimura cannot turn the world silver medalist in par terre and gives up two with a gut wrench in the first period. Guenot scores three points with an arm throw with Fujimura ending on top for a point. In par terre, Fujimura is turned and cannot answer in his 30 seconds on the attack.


74 kg - TSURUMAKI, Tsukasa (3rd, 34 entries)

R1 - bye

R2 - df. Krzysztof Kowalski (POL) by injury default, 2P=1:57 (2-1, 2-1)
 Tsurumaki takes first period with switch and penalty point, and then scores with a duck-under in the second before Kowalski is forced to resign with a leg injury.

R3 - df. Ari Harkanen (FIN), 2-0 (3-0, 2x2=last point)
 Tsurumaki takes first period with defense and gut wrench and the second on an exchange of turns from the front headlock.

QF - lost to Aleh Michalovich (BLR), 1-2 (3-0, 0-3, 1-3)
 Tsurumaki misfires with a front headlock and turn in the third period and falls to the former Euro No. 2.

r1 - df. Christoph Guenot (FRA), 2-0 (3-1, 1x-1=last point)
 Tsurumaki hit with passivity caution in the first minute, but rebounds to take the period with a gut wrench, and then defends last in the second for the win against the world bronze medalist.

F3 - df. Julian Kwit (POL), 2-1 (3-0, 1-1x=last point, 1x-1=last point)
 Tsurumaki takes the first period with a gut wrench, and wins defending last in the third against last year’s world No. 5.


96 kg - KATO, Kenzo (did not place, 36 entries)

R1 - lost to Jakob Cedergren (SWE), 1-2 (3-1, 1-1x=last point, 0-6=0:35)
 Kato was pushed out of bounds with a sumo-like thrusting attack, but came back in par terre with a gut wrench for the first period. Kato lost the second period on the last point criteria, and then is dumped twice from standing with a front headlock in the third.


Unofficial results of the individual medal matches

55 kg - 27 entries
F1 - Bekkan Mankiev (RUS) df. Sam Hazewinkle (USA), 2-0 (?, 6-0=1:14)
F3 - Natig Baghirov (AZE) df. Lasha Gogitadze (GEO), 2-1 (0-6, 1x-1=last point, 3-1)
F3 - Marat Garipov (KAZ) df. Virgil Munteanu (ROU), 2-1 (7-0, 2-3, 3-2)

60 kg (31 entries)
F1 - Davor Stefanek (SRB) df. Hamid Bavavaz (IRI), 2-0 (5-1, 2-1)
F3 - Nurbakyt Tengizbayev (KAZ) df. Edward Barsegian (POL), 2-0 (4-3, 3-0)
F3 - Park Eun-Chol (KOR) df. Balint Korpasi (HUN), 2-0 (3-0, 3-0)

66 kg - 35 entries
F1 - Tamas Lorincz (HUN) df. Farid Mansurov (AZE), 2-1 (?, 0-2, 3-0)
F3 - Seref Eroglu (TUR) df. Mukhran Machutadze (GEO), ?
F3 - Steeve Guenot (FRA) df. Seyran Simonyan (RUS) by disq., (3P=0:45)

74 kg (34 entries)
F1 - Aleh Michalovich (BLR) df. Mark Madsen (DEN), 2-1 (3-1, 2-8=0:34, 3-1)
F3 - Aliaksandr Kikinou (BLR) df. Jure Kuhar (SLO), 2-1 (1-2, 2-1, 2-1)
F3 - Tsukasa Tsurumaki (JPN) df. Julian Kwit (POL), 2-1 (3-0, 1-1x=last point, 1x-1=last point)

84 kg (33 entries)
F1 - Badri Khasaia (GEO) df. Andrei Baranouski (BLR), 2-0 (2-0, 3-0)
F3 - Kim Jung-Sub (KOR) df. Artur Michalkiewicz (POL), 2-0 (1x-1=last point, 3-1)
F3 - Viachaslau Makaranka (BLR) df. Robert Papp (ROU), 2-0 (3-0, 3-0)

96 kg - 31 entries
F1 - Jimmy Lidberg (SWE) df. Karam Gaber (EGY) by injury default, 3P=0:33 (2-0, 2-3, 1-0)
F3 - Andrzej Deberny (POL) df. Lajos Virag (HUN), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
F3 - Mehmet Ozal (TUR) df. Timo Kallio (FIN) by default, 0:00

120 (26 entries)
F1 - Riza Kalyapp (TUR) df. Dremiel Byers (USA), 2-1 (1-1x=last point, 3-0, 1x-1=last point)
F3 - Siarhei Artsiukhin (BLR) df. Guram Petrselidze (GEO), 2-0 (1x-1=last point, 3-1)
F3 - Bashir Babajanzadeh (IRI) df. Loseb Chugoshvili (BLR), 2-0 (5-0, 3-1)


KLIPPAN, Sweden (March 7-8) - Yu Miyahara from Toyama and Chiho Hamada of Tokyo both won titles in the cadet division at the Klippan international female wrestling competition.

Miyahara won in a four-person round robin at 38 kg, while Hamada prevailed in the 16-wrestler 52-kg category. Also for the Japanese cadet squad, Miori Suzuki of Tokyo took second at 46 kg, while Osaka’s Haru Ide (38 kg) and Mika Naganuma of Gifu (46 kg) earned bronze medals.

The team, however, had to settle for third place with 16 points behind Russia (22) and Germany (17), after winning here last year.


KLIPPAN, Sweden (March 8-9) - Ayano Suzuki and Kaya Tsuda of Tokyo’s Abe Gakuin high school earned bronze medals in the prestigious Klippan Ladies International senior wrestling tournament.

Suzuki (51 kg) and Tsuda (59 kg) won the only medals for Japan in the senior division and the remainder of the Japanese juniors were introduced to international wrestling at the senior level.

Among the champions in the senior level was reigning world champion Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria, who won her third straight tourney of the year at 72 kg.


TOKYO (March 16) - Seoul Olympic gold medalist Takashi Kobayashi will take the position of head coach at International Budo University in April, seeking to revive a program that has slumped to the bottom of the second division in East Japan collegiate wrestling.

Kobayashi, who won the 1988 gold medal at 48 kg, will be making his first attempt at coaching senior level wrestlers after considerable experience with kids wrestling at the Matsudo Juniors Club in Chiba.

The IBU wrestling team was established in 1986 and, beginning in the third division, advanced to the East Japan collegiate first division in just four years. In recent years, however, the size of the team has dwindled and head coach Kunihiko Kainuma has not been able to coach because of work commitments.

With Kobayashi taking over as head coach, Kainuma will assume to the position of the club’s general manager.

Despite not having a chance to recruit any top wrestlers this year, IBU is convinced that the Olympic gold medalist will be able to attract some top wrestlers and Kobayashi insisted that he would do his best to teach his wrestlers.

The IBU team under Kobayashi will make their debut on May 10 at the East Japan collegiate championships at the National Training Center and on May 11 at Aoyama Gakuin University Gymnasium.


TOKYO (March 19) - Photographer Sachiko Hotaka, a matside fixture at wrestling events in Japan and Europe, will be covering the Beijing Olympics this summer as one of the handful of recipients of accreditation cards from FILA.

Hotaka is a graduate of Nihon University’s arts department with a concentration in photograph. She became interested in wrestling when she started covering the NU wrestling team as a student.

Beginning with the Busan Asian Games in 2002, Hotaka has paid her own way to cover a number of international events, selling her photos to the Japan Wrestling Federation website along with a number of publications.


TOKYO (March 27) - The finals of the East Japan collegiate wrestling championships will be held May 11 at Aoyama Gakuin University gymnasium because of scheduling difficulties at the competition’s traditional site of Komazawa Gymnasium

The first two days of the championships, May 8-9, will still held at Komazawa. The third day of dual meets will be at the national training center with the finals set for AGU in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.


NIIGATA (March 27-28) - Kyoto Hachiman, making its debut at the high school wrestling national invitational meet, knocked off defending champion Kasumigaura (Ibaraki) 4-3 to win its first invitational team title.

Kyoto Hachiman, in its first year since the consolidation of Hachiman and Minami Hachiman high schools, was the first school from Kyoto and the Kinki area of Japan to win the high school invitational.

More amazingly, the school’s wrestling team has only seven wrestlers and, without a wrestler at 50 kg, is forced to forfeit the lightest weight category in each dual meet.

In both its quarterfinal and semifinal victories, Kyoto Hachiman needed victories at heavyweight to pull out 4-3 wins over Kanto champion Hanabuki Tokuei (Saitama) and Nagano’s Ueda Nishi, respectively.

Ueda Nishi and Ginan Kogyo (Gifu) both earned third-place trophies.


NIIGATA (March 27-28) - Former middle school rivals Kohei Kitamura of Kyoto Hachiman and Shun Kikuchi of Kasumigaura (Ibaraki) capped their first year of high school wrestling with the 74-kg and 84-kg individual crowns, respectively, at the national high school invitational tournament.

Kitamura was a two-time middle school national champion in 2005 and 2006 while Kikuchi was a runner-up in 2006.

In addition to Kitamura, other middle school champions from 2005 who won were Mamoru Handa (Amino, Kyoto) at 50 kg and Ryuji Yamamato (Hiryu, Shizuoka) at 96 kg.

Meanwhile, last year’s 55-kg champion entered at 60 kg Yukitaro Tanaka (Hachiman, Kyoto) suffered an injury in the team tournament and forfeited his first match of the individual competition.

The individual champions were:

50 kg - Mamoru Handa, Amino (Kyoto)
55 kg - Takuma Igarashi, Akita Shogyo
60 kg - Takahiro Inoue, Ikuei (Hyogo)
66 kg - Hideyuki Otoizumi, Tadotsu Kogyo (Kagawa)
74 kg - Kohei Kitamura, Kyoto Hachiman
84 kg - Shun Kikuchi, Kasumigaura (Ibaraki)
96 kg - Ryuji Yamamoto, Hiryu (Shizuoka)
120 kg - Takashi Zaimoku, Ikuei(Hyogo)