NF Roundup: Nov. 16-20

By United World Wrestling Press

Nippon Sport Science University won the freestyle title at the All-Japan Collegiate Championships (Photo: Tateo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Yamaguchi Leads NSSU to Japan Collegiate Freestyle Title
World junior champion Kaiki YAMAGUCHI made a successful move up to 65kg, helping lead Nippon Sport Science University to the team title as one of the school's three gold medalists at the All-Japan Collegiate Championships.

Bakhdaulet ALMENTAY (KAZ) etched his name in Japan wrestling history when the Yamanashi Gakuin University senior captured the 125kg gold to become the ninth four-time champion in the history of the freestyle tournament, which was held Nov. 7-8 in Osaka. 

Yuto TAKESHITA, last year's Asian junior champion, won the 57kg gold and Kodai OGAWA triumphed at 61kg as NSSU swept the three lightest weight classes, and had three silver medalists in winning the team title for the 21st time with 71 points. 

Takushoku University, with two champions in Takuma TANIYAMA at 70kg and Kojiro SHIGA at 74kg, finished second with 46.

Yamanashi Gakuin picked up a second title as Takuma OTSU, the national senior champion and Asian silver medalist at 92kg, won the 97kg crown, while world U-23 bronze medalist Hayato ISHIGURO of Nihon University repeated as 86kg champion. 

Kaiki YAMAGUCHI led NSSU to the Japan collegiate freestyle title (Photo: Tateo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Yamaguchi, the 2018 champion and 2019 runner-up at 61kg -- the weight class in which he won the world junior gold last year in Thailand -- was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler. 

He chalked up three technical falls before knocking off defending champion Ryoma ANRAKU of Waseda 3-1 in the semifinals, then edged Shinnosuke SUWAMA of Kokushikan University 2-0 in the final. 

Takeshita, the Asian junior champion, pulled off the biggest win of the tournament in the quarterfinals, when he posted a 6-2 win over world junior champion Toshiya ABE of Kokushikan. He took the gold with a 7-0 victory over Senshu University's Daiki ARAKI.

Almantay, coming off winning a third straight Greco title in October, maintained his domination of the college heavyweights, winning three of his four matches by technical fall, including a 10-0 win in the final over NSSU's Haroon ABID of Pakistan. The former world junior bronze medalist did not surrender a point. 

By winning a fourth title in a row, Almentay joined a elite group that includes two-time Olympic medalist Kosei AKAISHI (Nihon, 1983-1986) and 2014 world silver medalist Sosuke TAKATANI (Takushoku, 2008-2011), who will be aiming to qualify for a third Olympics in March. Of the nine who have accomplished the feat, he is the fourth from Yamanashi Gakuin.

Kojiro SHIGA claimed the title at 74kg (Photo: Tateo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

In the 74kg final, Takushoku's Shiga overwhelming NSSU freshman Yudai TAKAHASHI by 10-0 technical fall for his third straight title in a clash between two of Japan's national team members at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan.

Shiga, the Asian silver medalist at 70kg, finished seventh in that weight class in Nur-Sultan, while Takahashi dropped down from 79kg, the weight in which he finished second at the All-Japan Championships last year as a high school senior. 

The national-level tournament was latest in recent months to be held employing strict restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That included prohibiting spectators and testing all competitors. 

So far, there have been no reports of infections in the weeks following any of the tournaments. 

Final Results
57kg: Yuto TAKESHITA (NSSU) df. Daiki ARAKI (Senshu), 7-0
61kg: Kodai OGAWA (NSSU) df. Keita SHIMIZU (Takushoku), 7-5
65kg: Kaiki YAMAGUCHI (NSSU) df. Shinnosuke SUWAMA (Kokushikan), 2-0
70kg: Takuma TANIYAMA (Takushoku) df. Kazuki SAITO (Meiji) by TF, 10-0, 1:31
74kg: Kojiro SHIGA (Takushoku) df. Yudai TAKAHASHI (NSSU) by TF, 10-0, 3:45
86kg: Hayato ISHIGURO (Nihon) df. Tatsuya SHIRAI (NSSU), 4-1 
97kg: Takuma OTSU (Yamanashi Gakuin) df. Keiwan YOSHIDA (Nihon), 8-6
125kg: Bakhdaulet ALMENTAY (Yamanashi Gakuin) df. Haroon ABID (NSSU) by TF, 10-0, 4:19

Coronavirus Crashes Olympic Party for Wrestler-Coach Couple
LINK: https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/11/cb0540320eda-coronavirus-crashes-olympic-party-for-wrestler-coach-couple.html

Despite these most uncertain of times, when the Tokyo Olympics might not even take place, Japanese wrestler Mayu Mukaida has seized control of her situation, preparing step by step for whatever comes next.

Had the global health crisis not disrupted her life and the sports calendar, the 23-year-old would have made her Olympic debut at the games this past summer and then married her coach Shota Shidochi.

"I want no regrets later, whether the Olympics go ahead or not. I will prepare the best I can," Mukaida told Kyodo News in a recent interview.

In February, Mukaida and Shidochi moved their training base to Tokyo from Aichi Prefecture in central Japan to get used to the host city environment, but in March the Olympics were postponed until 2021.

After the initial disappointment of having to wait another year for her shot at Olympic glory as well as her wedding day, Mukaida finally came to terms with the reality of having to re-plan everything in August.

Vinesh Phogat Gets Surprise Help in Solving Mukaida Problem

"But the tenacious Indian champion and her coach has now got a helping hand from Japan to solve the puzzle named Mayu Mukaida. During their training trip in Norway, Vinesh who has already qualified for Tokyo Olympics with the help of her Hungarian coach Woller Akos trained with multiple time world champion Haruna Okuno of Japan. Okuno who fights in the same category as Mukaida in 53kg recently won the Under 23 world championship and also has two senior world championship titles to her name. Training sessions with Okuno has given Vinesh insight into the wrestling style of her nemesis Mukaida. According to Vinesh’s coach Akos practicing in the Japanese style, wrestling has really helped the Indian champion."


FULL STORY: https://wrestlingtv.in/vinesh-phogat-gets-helping-hand-from-japan-itself-to-solve-the-mayu-mukaida-puzzle/

UWW Launches Legends v. Stars Freestyle Bracket on Instagram

Click HERE to visit the UWW Instagram feed and vote for your favorite wrestlers.

Free Download Available for Bundesliga Magazine:
HERE: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1j8ivQ5bTSgK69oVXVeK5XmQpbeXCQy0u/view 




NF Roundup: Nov. 23-27 (Updated)

By United World Wrestling Press

The Uzbekistan women's national team doing joint training at the Yangiabad Sports Base in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from Nov. 21 - Dec. 11.

The Uzbekistan's freestyle national team doing joint training at the Dinamo Sports Base in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from Nov. 25 - Dec. 9.

Iranian wrestling great Mohammad KHADEM passed away at the age of 85. Khadem served as Iran's national team coach for several years and was a 1962 world silver medalist as a competitor. 

Khadem was the father of Iranian champions Rasul and Amir Reza. He helped his sons achieve Olympic and world medals in freestyle wrestling. Mohammad Khadem coached his son Rasul in the final match of the 1996 Olympics against legendry Makharbek KHADARTSEV (USSR).

Rasul was an Olympic champion in 1996 and claimed a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics. He also won two gold medals and one silver medal at the world championships.

Amir Reza was a two-time Olympic medalist, winning bronze medals in 1992 and 1996. He was also a 1991 world champion and 1990 world bronze medalist. 

United World Wrestling and the wrestling community offer its condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Khadem and the Iranian Wrestling Federation.

The Romanian Wrestling Federation this week is celebrating their 90th year on the mats.  The official founding papers were signed in the city of Oradea in 1930.

Currently the Romanian Wrestling Federation is one of the top federations in the nation placing 5th in the all-time medal count for Olympic Games and World Championships.

The Wrestling Federation of Uzbekistan has completed its national tournament for Greco-Roman, women's wrestling and freestyle. The six day event will help determine who can compete in the 2021 tournaments on the UWW calendar.

Highlights from matches in the Greco-Roman tournament are below.

by Ikuo Higuchi, JWF // Photo Courtesy of RIZIN

Rio Olympic silver medalist and reigning world champion Shinobu OTA (JPN) will put his Greco-Roman skills to the test in mixed martial arts (MMA) by taking to the ring in a RIZIN Fighting Federation extravaganza on New Year's Eve. 

Ota, who won the 63kg world title last year in Kazakhstan, used the occasion of an MMA event in Osaka on Nov. 21 to announce his entry in the Dec. 31 event to be held at Saitama Super Arena, north of Tokyo. 

Ota appeared in the ring along with his opponent, veteran MMA fighter Hideo TOKORO. The 43-year-old Tokoro has been competing for nearly two decades.

"I am Shinobu Ota from the wrestling world," Ota said by way of introduction to the crowd at Osaka Castle Hall. "I was surprised at first to learn I would be fighting Tokoro at the RIZIN event on New Year's Eve. 

"He is a fighter I have been watching since I was little, so I am apprehensive [about facing] a fighter who I really like. But when the fight starts, it's a different story. I will prepare so that I can score a decisive victory."

The 26-year-old Ota had joined in workouts with MMA groups in the past. "I have a little trepidation, but I have no intention of losing," he said. "I want this to lead to bigger things."

Ota started wrestling at the Hachinohe Kids in Aomori Prefecture, one of the top kids clubs in the country. He went on to great success at Yanai Gakuin High School in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Yokohama-based Nippon Sports Science University, winning a string of titles. 

In 2015, he won his first All-Japan championship, and the following year he became Japan's first Olympic medalist in Greco-Roman in 16 years, beating the 2012 London gold medalist en route to the 59kg silver in Rio.

After failing to make Japan's team in the Olympic weight class of 60kg for last year's world championships, Ota moved up to 63kg and won out in the qualifying process to earn a ticket to the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan in that division. He defeated the defending champion to secure his first world gold medal.

After that, he made an attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in the next weight class of 67kg, but came up short at the All-Japan Championships in December last year, closing off his path to the Tokyo Games. In September, he resigned from his company ALSOK in preparation for his new challenge.

There are currently many fighters in MMA with wrestling backgrounds. Henry CEJUDO (USA), a freestyle gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, achieved titles in two weight classes in Ultimate Fighting Championsip (UFC), which is regarded as the highest level of MMA. 

Amir ALIAKBARI (IRI), a 2010 Greco world champion, also found success on the RIZIN circuit. Daniel CORMIER (USA), who finished fourth in freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics, went on to shine in UFC, winning both the light heavyweight and heavyweight belts.

When it comes to reigning world or Olympic champions getting involved in MMA, there are several examples. 

In February 1999, superstar Alexandre KARELIN (RUS), with a combined 11 consecutive global Greco titles at the worlds and Olympics to his name, fought in a Fighting Network RINGS event in Japan, defeating Akira MAEDA by decision. At the time, MMA bouts were fought with bare hands. 

In December 2004, Athens Olympic Greco-Roman champion Karam IBRAGIM (EGY) fought at a K-1 Premium Dynamite event in Japan, but lost by KO to Tomoyuki FUJITA, a former freestyle wrestler who went on to a successful career in pro wrestling and MMA.

In both cases, the wrestlers were aiming for the next Olympics and their forays into MMA were seen as one-off outings. Neither fought in MMA again. 

Thus it can be said that Ota will be the first reigning world champion to switch to MMA.