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By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee:wmay52@hotmail.com


TOKYO (December 23) – World and Olympic bronze medalist Kyoko Hamaguchi held off a pair of young challengers to win the women's 72kg crown and claim her 14th overall All-Japan National Championships title.

Hamaguchi's triumph on the final day of the championships at Yoyogi National Gymnasium renewed her own record for most All-Japan titles in the women's events, while tying the mark for all wrestlers held by greco-roman ironman Yasutoshi Moriyama. Moriyama won 14 titles at 82kg and 90kg from 1982 to 1995.

In her two matches, Hamaguchi defeated fellow world team member at 67kg Mami Shinkai in the semifinals and then won the clinch in the third period to edge world university silver medalist Hiroe Suzuki in the final.

Also in the women's events, Saori Yoshida won her ninth straight All-Japan title at 55kg and Kaori Icho edged rival Seiko Yamamoto for her eighth title overall at 63kg. Yoshida's triumph was her 40th in a row in an individual competition, extending her personal winning streak in those competitions to 146. Judo great Yasuhiro Yamashita ended his career with 144 consecutive wins in individual matches.

In men's freestyle, Olympic bronze medalist Kenichi Yumoto, twin brother of 55kg champion Shinichi Yumoto, defeated 2006 world bronze medalist Noriyuki Takatsuka for the 60kg crown, while defending champion Shinya Matsumoto stopped world team member Atsushi Matsumoto for the title at 84kg.

In greco-roman, collegiate champion Yuji Okamoto defeated 2007 world silver medalist at 60kg Makoto Sasamoto for the triumph at 66kg. At 74kg, Kazuo Tamura defeated Asian Games silver medalist Tsukasa Tsurumaki and world No. 5 Takehiro Kanakubo to become the first student and/or former student from Waseda University in 50 years to win an All-Japan title in greco-roman.

The Emperor's Cup for Japan's most outstanding wrestler of the year was awarded to Ryutaro Matsumoto, the 60kg world silver medalist in greco-roman.

The outstanding wrestlers in freestyle and greco-roman went to Asian Games champs Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (FS, 66kg) and Kohei Hasegawa (GR, 55kg), while Yoshida was named the outstanding wrestler in the women's events.

Men's freestyle

60kg (19 entries)
F1 – Kenichi Yumoto df. Noriyuki Takatsuka, 2-1 (0-3=2:05, 1-0, 2-0=2:30)
SF – Yumoto df. Hiroyuki Oda, 2-1 (0-3=2:16, 1-0=2:04, 1-0)
SF – Takatsuka df. Kei Matsumoto, 2-1 (2x-2=last, 0-2=2:04, 1-0)
(Yumoto wins 3rd All-Japan title, first in four years)

84kg (14 entries)
F1 – Shinya Matsumoto df. Atsushi Matsumoto, 2-0 (2x-2=big, 3-0)
SF – S. Matsumoto df. Tetsuro Asami, 2-0 (2-0, 2-1)
SF – A. Matsumoto df. Takeshi Yamaguchi, 2-1 (1-2, 3-1, 2-1)
(S. Matsumoto wins All-Japan title for 2nd straight year)


66kg (15 entries)
F1 – Yuji Okamoto df. Makoto Sasamoto, 2-0 (2-0, 3-0)
SF – Okamoto df. Shota Watanabe, 2-0 (1-0, 5-0)
SF – Sasamoto df. Tomohiro Inoue, 2-1 (1-0. 0-1, 1-0)
(Okamoto wins 1st All-Japan title)

74kg (16 entries)
F1 – Kazuo Tamura df. Takehiro Kanakubo, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
SF – Tamura df. Kosuke Kaku, 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)
SF – Kanakubo df. Hiroki Iwasaki, 2-0 (1-0, 3-1)
(Tamura wins 1st All-Japan title)

Women's freestyle

55kg (14 entries)
F1 – Saori Yoshida df. Chikako Matsukawa by fall, 2P=1:04 (7-0=1:41, F4-1)
SF – Yoshida df. Kanako Murata by TF, 2-0 (7-0=1:22, 6-0=1:46)
SF – Matsukawa df. Kei Yamana, 2-0 (2-0, 4-1)
(Yoshida wins 9th straight All-Japan title)

63kg (13 entries)
F1 – Kaori Icho df. Seiko Yamamoto, 2-0 (1-0=2:10, 1-0)
SF – Icho df. Rio Watari, 2-0 (6-0=1:55, 1-0)
SF – Yamamoto df. Kayoko Kudo, 2-0 (1-0, 2-1)
(Icho wins 2nd straight, 8th overall All-Japan title)

72kg (7 entries)
F1 – Kyoko Hamaguchi df. Hiroe Suzuki, 2-1 (1-0, 1-2, 1-0=2:05)
SF – Hamaguchi df. Mami Shinkai, 2-0 (3-1, 1x-1=last)
SF – Suzuki df. Shiori Tachihikari, 2-0 (3-0=2:08, 1-0)
(Hamaguchi wins 2nd straight, 14th overall All-Japan title)

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