BUDAPEST (September 16) – Takeshi YAMAGUCHI put together a pair of wins at 96kg on the opening day of the senior wrestling world championships and gave Japan a top 10 wrestler in the upper weights for a second year in a row.
YAMAGUCHI’s eighth-place finish equaled the finish of Takao ISOKAWA at the London 2012 Olympic Games and is the highest of any Japanese wrestler at 96kg (97kg, 1997-2002) in men’s freestyle at a world championships. In greco-roman, Kenzo KATO took a fifth place at the 2007 world championships.
In his opening bout, YAMAGUCHI was not a gracious guest as he rolled to a technical fall over the host country’s Attila SZMIK (HUN). He scored another technical against Michael TSIKOVANI (GRE), who was eighth in this year’s European championships.
YAMAGUCHI’s run ended in the quarterfinals with a technical loss to Anzor BOLTUKAEV (RUS). YAMAGUCHI was eliminated from medal contention when BOLTUKAEV lost in the semifinals.
At 66kg, Takahiro INOUE claimed a ninth place with a pair of wins and a pair of losses, including a hard-fought loss to world and Olympic bronze medalist Livan LOPEZ AZCUY (CUB).
Former world bronze medalist Yasuhiro INABA lost by technical fall to Asia champion Amit KUMAR (IND) at 55kg, and then was injured in his first consolation bout and was forced out of the competition.
Results of bouts involving Japanese entries:
55kg – INABA, Yasuhiro (20th, 34 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – lost to Amit KUMAR (IND) byt TF, 2-10=5:28
INABA, a bronze medalist at the 2010 world meet, traded takedowns in the first period with the reigning Asia champion. In the second, however, KUMAR could do no wrong with takedowns and counters for the technical fall.
c1 – lot to Zoheir EL OUARRAGE (FRA) by fall, 1:04
INABA opened quickly with a takedown and gut wrench for a 4-0 lead. But, when he attempted a drop that could have been a technical fall, his opponent countered, injuring INABA’s shoulder and pressing for the fall.
66kg – INOUE, Takahiro (9th, 40 entries)
R1 – df. Borislav NOVACHKOV (BUL), 5-5=big point
The high school teacher from Tokyo opened with an arm throw for three points. With the scored tied 3-3 in the second period, INOUE gave up an arm bar and was turned for two just before time, but managed to stop NOVACHKOV on his back for two, for a 5-5 decision on big-point criteria.
R2 – lost to Livan LOPEZ AZCUY (CUB), 6-11
In an opening flurry with the Olympic bronze medalist, INOUE gives up a takedown and a pair of gut wrenches, but gets on top of one for his own two points, 2-6. In the second period, INOUE battled back to 5-8 and was in reach of a win, but was caught on his back in a front headlock and turn to end his rally.
c1 – df. BUI Tuan Anh (VIE) by TF, 9-2=2:21
After a slow start, INOUE scored with a force-out and takedown, and then ended the match with the Southeast Asian Games champion with a series of gut wrenches.
c2 – lost to KANG Jin Hyok (PRK) by TF, 0-7=2:22
INOUE gives up an early takedown and gut wrench for an 0-4 deficit. At the 2-minute mark, KANG scores with a duck-under takedown to nearfall to end the match.
96kg – YAMAGUCHI, Takeshi (8th, 33 entries)
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Attila SZMIK (HUN) by TF, 9-1=4:47
YAMAGUCHI opened with an arm throw for three points and closed the deal with a takedown and takedown counter.
R3 – df. Michael TSIKOVANI (GRE) by TF, 6-0=1:12
YAMAGUCHI scores with a headlock and adds another throw of a takedown for three and the quick technical fall (two 3-point techniques).
QF – lost to Anzor BOLTUKAEV (RUS) by TF, 6-14=4:06
YAMAGUCHI battled gamely against the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix runner-up and midway through the first period stood even at 6-6. A pair of takedowns, however, left former Waseda student in a hole, 6-10, as the first period ended. Two more takedowns in the second brought the curtain down on YAMAGUCHI.