With over 300 entries, (adults and Juniors 1998-1999) the European Championship in Georgia will be almost as big as it was last year in Poland. -and that was a remarkably high number of contenders. This will also for many of the profiles be the first international tournament since the World Championship 2015. New weight categories do we also have, and that bring some new set ups among the fighters..
-85 kg category, 26 fighters
In the -85 kg category we have some very interesting possibilities. Host of the EC, Georgia have three fighters ready, and all three will be tough to pass. Erekle Pirveli and Lasha Ozbetelashvili, both U22 champions, Giorgi Gulisashvili also with a good record. And fighting on home soil will also be a factor.
Poland with ⇐ Marek Odzeniak and Marek Wolny, will be interesting to follow. Both very strong and skilled fighters, always a very hard challenge to meet. Wolny with 3rd place last year (-90 kg) as he also did in 2012/13. 3rd place at this years Diamond Cup. Wolny also manage to reach 5th place in 45th All Japan Open Tournament. Marek Odzeniak has been fighting in the -80 middleweight. Not reach the EC podium in this very strong category, but has met the best and given them tough battle.
Sweden with two fighters,⇐ Jimmie Collin – top European fighter for many years, proven to be at a highly skilled level to even out weight differences as he has done in the EC Open Weight. Been on the EC podium several times, and countless vicories in different Open tournaments.
Teammate Rasmus Bergström, up and coming young fighter with many victories in Open tournaments, and runner up in the U22 EC. Physically strong paired with good technique will make it interesting to follow him in the tournament.
Sacha Décosterd fighting out of Switzerland. Reach the 3rd place last year as his first Shinkyokushin EC. Décosterd has World and EC tittles in other organizations, together with other good results. Good technique brings him up in the tournament, but will it be enough to reach the podium this year? We think the challenges will be even harder this year..
Azerbaijan – two fighters Mubariz Agamaliyev and Yasir Mammadov. Mammadov with an 3rd place in 2014, fighting on home soil, and 3rd place in 2013 EC. Azerbaijan has strong fighters, and it will always be very hard to fight them. Very physical strong har punching style to face.
Marius Ilas, Romaina. Ilas has been the superior middleweight champion for many years, and on top of that he has also proven to face larger fighters – winning the EC Open Weight in 2013. Ilas with his unique style of fighting will be one of the top favorites, but this year new fighters has entered as the categories has changes. And we could have a set up between two of the last year EC champions – Marius Ilas (-80) vs Valdemaras Gudauskas (-90) since they now are in the same category..
Valdemaras Gudauskas ⇒ and Kęstutis Radvila, Lithuania. Both top fighters, as you will be when you represent the strongest nation in Europe. Both with very impressive records and experience. Both made a strong profile in the World Tournament last year, and we think both will be in the top of the category – that said we give Gudauskas the heaviest mark of a favorite, reign Champion that he is.