BAKU (May 13) – Japan rebounded from a 3-4 loss to Turkey in its final preliminary round dual and defeated Bulgaria 6-1 for ninth place in the World Cup of freestyle wrestling.
Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu, meanwhile, was named the individual winner at 66kg despite a forfeit in the dual meet with Turkey due to a neck injury on the first day of competition.
Yonemitsu, the silver medalist in last fall’s world championships, racked up 14 points from four wins for the World Cup title followed by three wrestlers with 13 points in second place, including world champion Mehdi Taghavi Kermani (IRI).
Yonemitsu became the first Japanese to win an individual weight category at the men’s freestyle World Cup since 1985 when Mitsuru Sato, the current Japanese men’s national team director, won the 52kg category.
In addition to Yonemitsu’s win, Yasuhiro Inaba (55kg) and Kenichi Yumoto (60kg) each earned silver medals in their respective weight categories.
Meanwhile, in the championship final, Iran edged host Azerbaijan 4-3 for its first World Cup crown since 2006. The United States took third place with a 5-2 win over defending champion Russia.
Results of dual meets involving Japan:
Group B, Round 5
Japan 3, Turkey 4
55kg – Yasuhiro Inaba won by forfeit
60kg – Kenichi Yumoto df. Mustafa Yusuf Kartal, 2-1 (0-1, 2-0, 6-0)
66kg – Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu lost to Mustafa Kuyucu by forfeit, 0:00
74kg – Sosuke Takatani df. Demirsin Batuhan, 2-1 (3-0, 0-1, 5-3)
84kg – Atsushi Matsumoto lost to Ibrahim Bolukbasi, 0-2 (0-2, 2-4)
96kg – Takeshi Yamaguchi lost to Gor Kenan, 0-2 (1-2, 0-1)
120kg – Japan forfeit to Yildrim Riza
Final, 9th-10th place
Japan 6, Bulgaria 1
55kg – Yasuhiro Inaba df. Feraim Mahmed by TF, 2-0 (6-0, 6-0)
60kg – Kenichi Yumoto df. Vladimir Dubov, 2-1 (1-0, 0-4, 2-0)
66kg – Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu df. Leonid Bazan by forfeit, 0:00
74kg – Sosuke Takatani df. Ivan Deliverski, 2-0 (2-1, 3-0)
84kg – Atsushi Matsumoto df. Mihail Ganev by forfeit, 0:00
96kg – Takeshi Yamaguchi df. Georgi Stredkov, 2-1 (3-1, 0-2, 7-0)
120kg – Japan forfeit to Dimitar Kumchev