In just one week, the European Championship Shinkyokushin will be held in Poland! As mention before, adding new categories has not only increased the number of athletes in the tournament – but we are looking forward to some new match up between fighters that has been in separate categories previous years. Some of the strong profiles are retired, but we are also very happy to see the next generation really steps up! And of course some “immortal” are still going strong!
I the lightest category for men, the -65 kg category, the “chaos” are complete. The mix of established practitioners and young upcoming challengers are rally a interesting set up. European Champions and runners up and U-22 EC Champions will battle for the top spots, and from other tournaments several of them have all ready tested their skills against each other. From last years top spots, the champion and vice champion are ready to defend their tittles..
Emin Ismayilli, Azerbaijan wrote history when he became the champion. Azerbaijan together with Georgia have got a good grip on top positions recently. Ismayilli impressed many, but many did also expect him to be in the top. Winning the U-22 EC in 2014, and 3rd 2015, 2nd 2016 gives us a picture of a fighter that grows into the senior division, and that the U-22 system works perfect preparing young fighters, and makes the transition from junior to senior. Ismayilli with his very powerful driving forward style will be a challenge for everyone in the category, to beat him one must have very good technical skills and/ or the same strength – at least!
The runner up from last year, Konrad Kozubowski, Poland, possesses that kind of technical skills, and if they meet (again) we believe that it would be a little “battle of the styles” Kozubowski showed last year that his good technique turned things around, a good example of that would be the fight against Bulgarian top fighter Georgi Lotarov.
Besides Azerbaijan we mentioned Georgia. Two times European Champion and World Weight Category Championship runner up Andrei Zinchenko. Since he first entered the EC podium in 2012, he has manage to be top three in 2013,14,15 and 2016. He is known for his quick and energetic style and ability to push forward no matter how much resistance he meets. Last year he failed to reach the podium, but we believe that he will be back on track this time. Even that his size are moderate in this category, we have seen him several times in Ope weight categories – not backing down an inch.
But this category have more than top three at the “top three level” A real wolf-pack will challenge the titleholders, and we will see some top fights early on. Daniel Sternik, Poland – reign U-22 Champion, Samizada Ziyafatalla Milad, Sweden – former U-22 Champion, runner up last year. Anthny Sènèchal, France ⇒ – not cracked the EC code yet, but winner of several Open tournaments, and been with the best proven “up there” ⇓ Lemishko Bogdan, Ukraine – 3rd U-22 last year in this category, made a very good impression taking the tittle in the Europe Open Szolnok Cup in Hungary 2017.
The solid category have 24 fighters from all over Europe, and many hard fights will come in an early stage. We think that many fight will be (or tried) to end quick. Is`t that the way it always is? And maybe at this level that could be to gamble, it could burn out your energy that you must have through a long day.
This category is also a nice picture of how a new generation of fighters making they way up and into a bigger setting.