This Saturday, 14th April, the Kyokushin Open Norway was held. The expectations was growing after strong nations as Lithuania, Sweden and Italy made their entry. The tournament made a significant lift from previous years, and during the day we could see strong international Full Contact fighting, which contains all that one wants a tournament to have! Lithuanian was expected to reach top possessions, but Sweden and Italy had some other plans..
Some sickness was unfortunately a slight slowdown on the number of athletes, but it will always be a factor. The case was that it was the Norwegian team that had to pull out some fighters, and the fighters took it hard… They wanted badly to test their skills up against the international level – at home soil! But of course – 2019..!
We will mainly ta ea look at the Full-Contact senior categories..
Bergen Karate Club – the oldest Kyokushin Dojo in Norway known fore sure their things. The event was smoothly going from start to stop with no “speed-bumps” at all. A choice to pull off the tournament on one Tatami – not two, seemed to be the right thing to do. Well the fighters had to wait a little longer, but for the spectators this was clearly the best way.
The final did also get an extra attention, the lights went off and the spotlight came on..
A slightly rough summary would be to say that everyone beat everyone in this tournament! We will get a little deeper in to it, but the impression goes in that direction. First of all, the tournament had styles from Ashihara (Sweden) and Makotokai.
Last year Norway was lucky to get to know Italy – Makotokai Karate. First of all, this team, alone, made a huge difference. Many fighters spread around in the divisions, and if they made a god impression last year (as they did) – they did an even stronger one this year! Technical good all-round fighters with the capacity to end fight before full time- and yes that did happen more than one time! We did also notice Makotokai junior fighters (Norway/Trondheim) – that also made a good impression. And if note mistaken three of of four was making their debut.
Lithuania – for the first time in Norway with fighters (hope for more of this quality!) Of course not with their absolute top fighters (the tournament do not aim for that either) but with a very competent good team. Strong, intense and very determined in their style to reach the victory. Also they with fighters in several categories, making at very interesting to follow.
Sweden – The Kyokushin Open Norway has always been supported from its neighboring country. -and Norway tries to give it back in Swedish Open. Note that Sweden also enriched tournament with very good junior athletes. This year Sweden was represented by Dojo`s team and organizations/styles! And to make it short: quality through the whole line. Juniors strongly represented by Ki and Py Pasanen.
looking in to the categories, first stop lightweight women. Lithuania, Norway and last but not least Italy was in the line up. Inn this category the best fighter of the tournament was pointed out. Dèsirèe Sircelj (Italy) coming i on third place last year, did not only win the category, but did it in very convincing way. Going three fights, harder for each time she really prove to be the champion. First fight against Kristin Häikiö (Norway), second fight raised the level against Lithuanian Goda Klapatauskaitė (Lithuania). Dèsirèe Sircelj advancing once again, and now the next fight is the final vs Julita Brazis (Lithuania).
Brazis on her side went straight through her first opponent form Norway, MarenJonassen, finished the fight with a kick to the liver. In her second fight, she was meant to face the reign champion Jeanette Johannessen (Norway), but Johannessen had to pull out during sickness, so Julita Brazis was ready for the final with an walk over.
The final was a really good final, and one could feel that the strength and drive belonged to Julita Brazis, but Dèsirèe Sircelj seemed to have some good technical answers. And exactly that became the case that lead to separate them. A perfectly timed back-kick to the body (liver?) from Dèsirèe Sircelj gave her the scoring and the victory – and the best fighter award!
The reign champion Mette-Marie Nielsen (Sweden), fresh of a third place in French Open, made once again a very strong tournament. But one need more than one to dance, and in the category four fighters was ready. This was after sickness had reduced the category. But fortunately, one did see a very good performance of the class, and there was also a nice increase in the level. The final was really good, and this was noticed by many!The final between Mette-Marie Nielsen and Alexandra Kostina (France) was as said very intense and hard.
Good explosive techniques – and especially without shin protection, the low-kicks became a factor. Nielsen are to strong Kostina making a good fight! On their way to the final both was a number to strong compared to their opponents. Nielsen turned the pressure on Norwegian Beathe Hegerland, Hegerland fought bravely, and considering that this time she went to a higher weight class than usual, the effort was respectable. The other previous round between Steffi Lee (debutante?)(Sweden) and Alexandra Kostina became a little of the same. Lee was being pressured very hard, but showing excellent spirit made her fight back and keep it alive the 3 minutes.
In this category it was only two fighters, but bringing up the third one, Ellen Holtebu (Norway) from the novice class, and using the pool system, made this a max result. To even it out from the fighter from the novice category, the shin protection was used in all fights. Italy and Norway (with two) was represented in this category. All fights in this category was very physically demanding, and all fights went into extensions. After a long day, home-fighter Therese Netland Østebrød made it to the top, taking a victory against Ellen Holtebu winning on weight, and in the second fight some real hard stamina work secured her second victory against Giorgia Fabbri (Italy) All three fighters had style that was quite similar to each others, so the physical part became a natural result.
Men lightweight had an very interesting line up. Lithuania, Sweden, Italy and Norway. But Norwegian dropped out, and with three fighters the organizer switched from cup to pool system. Winner in blue:
- Fight: Francesco Schiavo (Italy) vs Alén Kifah (Sweden)
- Fight: Francesco Schiavo (Italy) vs Herkus Matiukas (Lithuania)
- Alèn Kifah (Sweden) vs Herkus Matiukas (Lithuania)
The fighters was very different in their style, and this made it very interesting as it become a little “battle of the styles” Herkus Matiukas (Lithuania) had a very strong drive, and did also have a reach advantage – especially in the fight against Francesco Schiavo was this very visible. The Italian fighter, fought very good in defense, moving and changing the angle made him hard to catch. He did also pull off some very good counter attacks and was always dangerous. The final was between Alèn Kifah (Sweden) vs Herkus Matiukas (Lithuania), and this was a good final. The Lithuanian Matiukas,very strong powering forward, Kifah very good to aim in his shoots, with nice variations. But this time the Lithuanian pulled it of, after av very good final.
Four fighters, four nations. This category had a very good line up. Laurynas Auglys (Lithuania) was the runner up in the U-22 EC 2016, Amando Morino (Sweden) very active international top Ashihara fighter, fought lately in the Diamond Cup. Alessandro Pancaldi (Italy) fought also last year, international fighter. two Norwegian fighters Håvard Borge Norway. Young talented fighter, with only a handful of fights, and Rorion Veggeland about the same category of experience.
First fight out becomes the one where the fastest K.O. was executed. Laurynas Auglys did not waste any time vs Veggeland, took him out with two Waza-aris in under 30 seconds.
Borge advanced after 3 minutes vs Pancaldi. The Italian fighter made technical failures that resulted in counting warning, looking away from that the fight had very good pace and had a good nerve.
The second fight between Amando Morino (Sweden) vs Laurynas Auglys (Lithuania) was a very hard battle. These two guys did really challenge each others, and was all over the opponent when the chance was there. High pace, very powerful fighting gives results, and after some heavy exchanges, manage Morino to catch Auglys with a body punch.
Amando Morino vs Håvard Borge in the finals. Morino, the favorite keeps his strong performance going, and brings in the title after a short intense fight that ends with a head kick scoring. Borge at his side continues to grow and will be a name for the future.
Men light heavy weight
In this category, we witnessed one of the most spectacular knock out of the tournament. Alex Mandaglio (Italy) clips downs Benjamin Morino (Sweden) with a superb ax-kick! Morino was down for some time, but after a while all could see him the way we want, back at his feet. This was fore sure a very interesting line up, and besides the Benjamin Morino (Sweden) vs Alex Mandaglio (Italy) fight, we had also Orestas Abazorius (Lituania) vs Pål Andreas Berg (Norway) For those who has seen Berg before, this was a little below what as expected. Berg use to show solid, clean and strong fighting, but this time it became somewhat more hesitant over all – and against a fighter like Orestas Abazorius one can not hesitate. The distance was of course a fact, Berg had to move from log to short distance without being caught by kicks from The Lithuanian fighter. After several times where they both was caught in clinch – Abazorius changed from kicks to striking combined with strong knees to the body. And this became the recipe to victory!
Alex Mandaglio second fight was against home fighter Stian Jakobsen (Norway), who was back on the track after a year break. This fight became a tough fight, and both gave their best to lock the other one down. Jakobsen does a very good job,but Mandingo slightly better!
With Mandaglio ready for the final, the last fight of the day, it was ready for another Lithuania vs Italy final. This final was probably the best one. Both fighters showed great all-round skills, high pace technical fighting. The fight waved back and forth with very good exchanges, before Abazorius executes a good spinning back kick to the head of Mandaglio. Waza-ara was given, but the Italian fighter did not seemed notably shaken. The fight kept the same high standard, no warnings or points was given. Winner Orestas Abazorius, Lituania!
In total The Kyokushin Open Norway 2018 was a really lift from previous years, and with no doubt the total package the tournament (and crew) provides the athletes it should be a choice for many next year also!