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

    March wrestling news

SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (March 6-7) – Tsutomu Fujimura prevailed over a strong field at 66kg to win top honors at the Hungarian Golden Grand Prix greco-roman wrestling tournament.

Fujimura of the Japanese Self Defense Forces team edged European champion Ambako Vachadze (RUS) in the semifinals and then came from behind to defeat Olympic bronze medalist Mikhail Semenov (BLR) in three periods for the championship. The triumph was Fujimura's first in international competition since winning the NYAC Holiday Open title in 2007. The Hungarian GGP meet serves as one of two qualifying tourneys for the GGP final in Baku in July.

Meanwhile, last year's winner at 55kg in Szombathely, Kohei Hasegawa fell to 2006 Asia champion Lee Jung-Baik (KOR) in the third round, but rebounded for a bronze medal with a pair of wins.

Also of note, national team newcomer Ryutaro Matsumoto opened with a win over Euro No. 2 Edward Barsegjan (POL) in the opening round at 60kg, but fell to junior world champ Hasan Aliev (AZE) in his next bout and finished out of the top places.
Results of Japanese entries:

55kg – HASEGAWA, Kohei (3rd, 23 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Anders Ronningen (NOR), 2-0 (2-0, 8-2)
R3 – lost to Lee Jung-Baik (KOR), 1-2 (1-1x, 6-0, 0-1)
r1 – df. Peter Modos (HUN), 2-1 (1-0, 0-1, 5-0)
F3 – df. Marat Garipov (KAZ), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)

55kg – MINEMURA, Ryo (12th, 23 entries)
R1 – df. Elebek Tazhyev (BLR), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
R2 – lost to Lee Jung-Baik (KOR), 1-2 (0-2, 2-0, 0-2)
r1 – lost to Peter Modos (Hun), 0-2 (0-3, 0-1)

55kg – SHIMIZU, Hayanobu (21st, 23 entries)
R1 – lost to Virgil Monteanu (ROU), 0-2 (0-1, 0-5)

60kg – MATSUMOTO, Ryutaro (did not place, 25 entries)
R1 – df. Edward Barsegjan (POL), 2-1 (0-1, 2-0, 2-0)
R2 – lost to Hasan Aliyev (AZE), 0-2 (0-4, 0-1)
r1 – lost to Soner Sulu (TUR), 0-2 (0-1, 0-1)

60kg – KURAMOTO, Kazuma (dnp, 25 entries)
R1 – lost to Eusebiu Diaconu (ROU), 1-2 (1-0, 0-2, 0-1)

66kg – FUJIMURA, Tsutomu (1st, 32 entries)
R1 – df. Danijel Janecic (CRO), 2-0 (1-0, 8-0)
R2 – df. Marius Thommesen (NOR, 2-0 (2-0, 5-0)
R3 – df. Rustem Emir Amzaev (BLR), 2-0 (1-0, 3-0)
SF – df. Ambako Vachadze (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
F1 – df. Mikhail Semenov (BLR), 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 3-0)

66kg – OKAMOTO, Yuji (10th, 32 entries)
R1- df. Matt Holt (USA), 2-0 (1-0, 4-2)
R2 – lost to Mikhail Semenov (BLR), 0-2 (0-1, 0-5)
r1 – df. Kerry Regner (USA), 2-0 (4-0, 4-0)
r2 – lost to Sergiy Krasilnikov (UKR), 0-2 (0-1, 0-4)

74kg – KAKU, Kosuke (dnp, 32 entries)
R1 – lost to Jakub Tim (POL), 0-2 (0-1, 0-7)

84kg – SAIKAWA, Norikatsu (dnp, 36 entries)
R1 – lost to Artur Omarov (CZE), 0-2 (0-3, 0-5)


KLIPPAN, Sweden (March 5-7) – Chiho Hamada and Takako Saito took silver medals in the senior-junior division at the Klippan Ladies international wrestling tournament, while Yu Miyahara led a gold rush in the cadets division.

Hamada, formerly an Asia cadet champion, posted three wins at 55kg, but fell in the final to Tatiana Padilla, a 2008 world bronze medalist. Saito advanced to the final at 59kg with a win over Yuki Kato in the semifinals, but lost to world bronze medalist Marianna Sastin (HUN) in the championship bout. Kato, meanwhile, lost to American Leigh Jaynes in a bronze medal match.

In the cadets division, Miyahara of the JOC Academy for elite athletes won at 46kg her third straight Klippan cadets crown while Mie junior high school student Sara Dosho defended the 65kg Klippan title she won last year. Other cadet winners for Japan were Kako Okamoto of Fukuoka at 43kg, Risako Kawai from Ishikawa at 49kg, Gunma's Nodoka Kaneko at 52kg and Yui Sakano of Osaka at 56kg.

The senior division of this year's Klippan Ladies also served as the second qualifying tourney for the Golden Grand Prix Final in Baku in July.

Results of Japanese entries:

Senior-junior division

48kg – SUZUKI, Miori (7th, 22 entries)
R1 – df. Isabel Sambov (SEN), 2-1 (3-0, 1-2, 3-2)
R2 – df. Julieta Omilusik (POL) by fall, 3P=1:39 (0-1, 1-1, F)
R3 – lost to Iwona Matkowsak (POL), 0-2 (0-2, 1-1)
r1 – lost to Carolina Castillo (COL), 0-2 (0-1, 0-2)

48kg – NAKAYA, Ai (dnp, 22 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 lost to Anna Lukasiak (POL), 0-2 (0-1, 0-4)

48kg – GAMA, Aiko (dnp, 22 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Margorzata Swierk (POL) by fall, 2P=1:50

51kg – TANAKA, Arisa (8th, 16 entries)
R1 – df. Maria Serrano (ESP), 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)
R2 – lost to Ekaterina Krasnova (RUS), 0-2 (1-4, 1-4)

55kg – HAMADA, Chiho (2nd, 20 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Ilona Omilusik (POL) by default
SF – df. Trinity Plessinger (USA), 2-0 (2-1, 6-0)
F1 – lost to Tatiana Padilla (USA), 1-2 (1-0, 0-1, 5-7)

59kg – SAITO, Takako (2nd, 15 entries)
R1 – df. Margarita Fatkulina (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 2-1)
R2 – df. Leigh Jaynes (USA), 2-0 (3-0, 3-0)
SF – df. Yuki Kato (JPN), 2-0 (2-0, 5-0)
F1 – lost to Marianna Sastin (HUN), 0-2 (2-2, 0-5)

59kg – KATO, Yuki (5th, 15 entries)
R1 – df. Sandra Nilsson (SWE), 2-1 (1-0, 1-1, 1-0)
R2 – df. Schuyler Brown (USA), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
SF – lost to Takako Saito (JPN), 0-2 (0-2, 0-5)
F3 – lost to Leigh Jaynes (USA), 0-2 (2-4, 2-5)

63kg – TAKAMURA, Ai (dnp, 19 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Stephanie Maierhofer (AUT), 1-2 (1-7, 3-1, 1-3)

67kg – HASHIMOTO, Chihiro (7th, 13 entries)
R1 – df. Sandra Mabrouk (SWE) by fall, 2P=1:46 (5-1, F)
R2 – lost to Sandra Makela (SWE) by fall, 1P=1:24

67kg – ARAI, Akie (9th, 13 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Sandra Bertilsson (SWE), 1-2 (2-0, 0-1, 1-1)

Cadet results
43kg – OKAMOTO, Kako (1st, 15 entries)
43kg – SAKAGAMI, Fubuki (2nd, 15)
43kg – OKUNO, Rina (3rd, 15)
46kg – MIYAHARA, Yu (1st, 8)
49kg – KAWAI, Risako (1st, 9)
52kg – KANEKO, Nodoka (1st, 16)
56kg – SAKANO, Yui (1st, 16)
56kg – HANADA, Ayaka (dnp, 16)
60kg – FURUICHI,Masako (3rd, 17)
60kg – SUZUKI, Koka (dnp, 17)
60kg – MURATA, Kanako (did not compete, injury)
65kg – DOSHO, Sara (1st, 8)
70kg – ICHIKAWA, Yurika (dnp, 7)


KLIPPAN, Sweden (March 4) – Japanese cadets defeated their Swedish counterparts 6-3 in an exhibition dual meet while a combined junior-senior squad fell 4-3 on the eve of the prestigious Klippan Ladies wrestling tournament.

Yu Miyahara and Masako Furuichi of the JOC Academy led the way for the Japanese cadets. Miyahara recorded a technical fall and Furuichi edged a bronze medalist from last year's European cadet championships. “The wrestlers scored with their double-leg and single-leg attacks, and it was a dual in which we got to see the strengths of the team,” coach Shoko Yoshimura said. “Still, we have to work on scoring from the par terre position.”

In the seniors dual, the Abe Gakuin high school trio of Chihiro Hashimoto, Miori Suzuki and Yuki Kato gave Japan a 3-1 lead midway through the matches, but Sweden answered with three of their up-and-coming seniors – Hanna Johansson, Emma Weberg and Jenny Fransson – to secure the win for the hosts.

“The juniors (on the senior team) fought hard. We got the front headlock a number of times, but didn't score. This is something we will have to work on,” said Yoshimura.

Along with the exhibition duals, Japanese wrestlers won one and lost two in matches with American wrestlers.


MINSK, Belarus (March 12-13) – Olympic bronze medal winner Kenichi Yumoto defeated reigning Japanese champion Hiroyuki Oda and three Russian opponents to claim the 60kg title at the Alexandre Medved International freestyle wrestling tournament.

Yumoto avenged a loss in the national championships to Oda with a 3-2, 1-0 triumph in the second round and then forged solid wins over three Russian wrestlers for his first international victory since the Olympic qualifying tourney in May 2008.

Oda, Yasuhiro Inaba (55kg), Takafumi Kojima (66kg) and Shinya Matsumoto (84kg) all wrestled in the bronze medal matches, but had to settle for fifth place. Notably, Kojima defeated Olympic bronze medalist Sushil Kumar (IND) in the second round, but fell short of winning a medal.

Results of Japanese entries:
Men's freestyle

55kg – INABA, Yasuhiro (5th)
R1 – df. Hamaza Fatah (FRA), 2-0 (2-0, 7-1)
R2 – df. Adama Diatta (SEN), 2-1 (0-4, 3-1, 1-1)
SF – lost to Ghenadie Tulbea (MON) by fall, 2P
F3 – lost to Dzhamal Otarsultanov (RUS), 0-2 (0-1, 0-7)

55kg – YUMOTO, Shinichi (did not place)
R1 – df. Andrei Komar (BLR), 2-0 (1-0, 6-0)
R2 – lost to Dzhamal Otarsultanov (RUS), 1-2 (0-1, 1-0, 0-1)

60kg – ODA, Hiroyuki (5th)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Kenichi Yumoto (JPN), 0-2 (2-3, 0-1)
r1 – df. Ildar Ganiatulin (RUS), 2-1 (0-1, 7-0, 4-0)
F3 – lost to Ratmir Kerefov (RUS), 0-2 (0-2, 0-1)

60kg – YUMOTO, Kenichi (1st)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Hiroyuki Oda, 2-0 (3-2, 1-0)
R3 – df. Ildar Ganiatulin (RUS), 2-0 (2-1, 4-0)
SF – df. Ratmir Kerefov (RUS), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
F1 – df. Alimkhan Manuev (RUS), 2-0 (4-1, 1-0)

60kg – TAKATSUKA, Noriyuki (dnp)
(Did not compete due to injury)

66kg – SATO, Tsukasa (dnp)
R1 – lost to Zalimkhan Yusupov (RUS) by fall, 2P

66kg – KOJIMA, Takafumi (5th)
R1 – df. Soslan Ramonov (RUS), 2-0 (1-0, 1-1)
R2 – df. Kumar Sushil (IND), 2-0 (1-0, 1-1)
R3 – lost to Yuriy Syemakin (UKR), 0-1 (1-1, 0-1)
r1 – df. Vladimir Gotisan (MDA), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
F3 – lost to Ali Maltsagov (RUS), 0-2 (0-1, 0-6)

74kg – NAGASHIMA, Kazuyuki (dnp)
R1 – lost to Seifadoin Osmanov (KAZ), 0-2 (1-1, 0-4)

84kg – MATSUMOTO, Shinya (5th)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Omargadzi Ramazanov (RUS), 2-0 (3-0, 5-3)
R3 – lost to Akhmed Magomedov (RUS), 0-2 (0-1, 0-3)
r1 – df. Janis Leishavnieks (LAT), 2-0 (3-3, 5-0)
F3 – lost to Omargadzhi Mogomedov (RUS), 0-2 (0-4, 0-6)


TOKYO (March 11) – Yu Horiuchi returned to the Japanese national team training camp after sitting out nearly a year following an injury to her right shoulder.

Horiuchi, who won the 51kg titles at the 2008 All-Japan meet and the 2009 women's national tourney, underwent surgery last July but missed three major championships in which she had been slated as the Japanese representative.

Horiuchi plans to wrestle in the Japanese national team trials May 1-3 and challenge world bronze medalist Yuri Kai, who has become a formidable opponent over the past year with a pair of wins over world champion Sofia Mattsson of Sweden. Kai won her second major international title at the prestigious Yarygin International tourney in Krasnoyarsk, Russia in January.

“Frankly speaking, I'm a little nervous. But, if I'm nervous I will injure myself again, so I want to recover thoroughly,” Horiuchi said. “I will continue getting ready right up to the team trials and then force and win a playoff (with Kai). This year I will go to the world championships and I will take the gold medal.”


TOKYO (March 17) – Olympic silver medalist Tomohiro Matsunaga has entered next month's Meiji Nyugyo Cup invitational wrestling tournament which also serve as Japan's national team trials for this year's world championships.

Matsunaga, who spent last fall competing in the German Bundesliga, will return to the mats in Japan in individual competition for the first time since the 2007 All-Japan national championships. (During his absence from major domestic competition, Matsunaga has wrestled at a senior-level team competition.)

Meanwhile, six-time world champion Hitomi Sakamoto is entered at 48kg as women make their debut at the MNC event. Younger sister and reigning national champ at 48kg Makiko Sakamoto, however, has not entered and has given indications she may retire.

The MNC invitational will be held May 1-3 at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2. Winners at the All-Japan national championships in December can punch their ticket to the world championships by winning the MNC title. If the All-Japan champion and MNC winner are different, a one-match wrestle-off will be held for the national team berth.


TOKYO (March 20) – Two-time world bronze medalist Makiko Sakamoto has recently married and will not compete in the Meiji Nyugyo Cup invitational and national team trials, according to officials of the Japan Self-Defense Forces wrestling team.

Sakamoto said she planned to leave wrestling for a while but left the door open to a return to the mats at a later date.

Sakamoto won her first senior national championship title in 2002, at the age of 17, and finished in fifth place at the 2003 world championships. She later claimed her first bronze world bronze in 2005 and added a second in 2008.

Her dreams of wrestling in the Olympics, however, were thwarted in 2004 and 2008 by Chiharu Icho, who won silver medals at both Games.

Sakamoto won her fourth national title last December.


NIIGATA, Niigata (March 27-29) – Kasumigaura high school crowned three individual champions and won its 18th team title at the national high school wrestling invitational tourney at Niigata municipal gymnasium. Kasumigaura's individual champions were Yuta Sakamoto (74kg) and Katsutoshi Maekawa (120kg), who won national sports festival titles last fall, and Yuya Matsuno (84kg). In all, wrestlers from Kanto area (eastern Japan) schools won six of the eight titles up for grabs.

Of the five individual championships not won by Kasumigaura, three went to first-year wrestlers Tatsuya Yamazaki (50kg), Yuki Takahashi (55kg) and Koki Yamamoto (96kg). The first-year winners become second-year students when the new Japanese school year begins April 1.

Meanwhile, Masakazu Kamoi (60kg) became the first wrestler from Kagawa Chuo high school to win an national invitational championship.

In the team competition, defending champion Kasumigaura overpowered the competition for its 18th triumph, defeating Akita Shogyo 5-2 in the semifinals and Hiryu of Shizuoka in the championship dual.

Individual champions:
50kg – Tatsuya Yamazaki, Jiyugaoka (Tokyo)
55kg – Yuki Takahashi, Inabe Sogo (Mie)
60kg – Masakazu Kamoi, Kagawa Chuo)
66kg – Ken Hosaka, Saitama Sakae
74kg – Yuta Sakamoto, Kasumigaura (Ibaraki)
84kg – Yuya Matsuno, Kasumigaura (Ibaraki)
96kg – Koki Yamamoto, Hanabuki Tokuei (Saitama)
120kg – Katsutoshi Maekawa, Kasumigaura (Ibaraki)


KRAKOW, Poland (March 27-28) – Takanori Kuno won Japan's first world title in the gi event and Sotaro Yamada prevailed in the pankration at the world grappling and pankration championships in Poland. Kuno also earned a silver medal in the no-gi competition.

Kuno defeated Lamberto Raffi (ITA) in the final of the 90kg gi competition. Kuno also won over Raffi in the competition without a gi, but lost to Mats Nilsson (SWE) in the final and had to settle for the silver medal.

In the pankration competition, Yamada notched four wins in the 89kg division for the championship.

Kuno, Yamada and Masayoshi Shirai, who finished seventh in the pankration 90kg category, qualified for the inaugural Sports Accord Combat Games in Beijing in September.


BURGAS, Bulgaria (Feb. 27-28) – A pair of greco-roman wrestlers from Takushoku University won bronze medals at the Nikola Petrov international greco-roman wrestling tournament.

Yuji Okamoto, a former Asia junior No. 3, defeated Bulgarian junior national team member Ilhan Myumyunov for a bronze medal at 66kg. And, Kenji Fujimoto edged one-time European junior bronze medal winner Anatolie Moldovan (MDA) for a medal at 96kg.

Meanwhile, in the Dan Kolov freestyle meet, Tomotsugu Ishida had to settle for a fifth place after a pair of controversial calls against him in the semifinals and third-place final at 66kg. The first call involved a fleeing the hold penalty after time expired in the third period of the semifinal and a protest in the third-place match after defending against the clinch.

“Even under these tough rules, the wrestlers who can score a lot of points will advance. I hope these wrestlers will develop some techniques they can count on to score points,” freestyle coach Takahiro Wada said. “This was the first international experience for most of the wrestlers on this tour, so I think the training camps and the matches were good for them.”

Results of Japanese entries:

55kg – OTANI, Kota (Senshu), 5th place (9 entries)
60kg – MAKISE, Yuki (Toyo), 5th (9)
66kg – OKAMOTO, Yuji (Takushoku), 3rd (12)
74kg – NAKAI, Shinichi (Chuo), 10th (11)
84kg – OKAMOTO, Hirokazu (Takushoku), 8th (9)
96kg – FUJIMOTO, Kenji (Takushoku), 3rd (8)
120kg – KONO, Takahiro (Aoyama Gakuin), 4th (4)

55kg – SUDO, Manabu (Nihon), 8th (14)
60kg – UCHIMURA, Yuta (Takushoku), 8th (14)
66kg – ISHIDA, Tomotsugu (Waseda), 5th (16)
74kg – TAKATANI, Sosuke (Takushoku), 11th (13)
84kg – YAMAGUCHI, Takeshi (Waseda), 15th (16)
96kg - KANAZAWA, Katsutoshi (Yamanashi Gakuin), 5th (7)
96kg – IRIE, Yasuhisa (Kanagawa), 5th (7)
120kg – ARAKIDA, Nobuyoshi (Senshu), 5th (13)

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