Closing in to the greatest event, keeping the full contact Karate tradition alive: A World Tournament in Open Weight – the excitement raises and we are looking forward to see great fighters go up against each other. It would be hard to tell how many of the fights will turn out – but we will at least take a little closer look at the fighters, the draw and maybe also get to “know” some new fighters as well.. as one say: ladies first.. A/B block.. Remember: it is only speculation – based on previous records and fight.. We appreciate and warmly welcome when fighters disprove our speculation 🙂
Looking at the women division, and splitting it up into four blocks, it is easy to see that the level of competition is high. The “A block” have several profiles, also including what we call “outside entries” – fighters coming into the tournament from other organisations. Heavily merited athletes from numerous tournaments and championships. True to the traditions, the fighter Number 1 would be one of the top fighters – based on previous results, and in this case we have last World Championship’s finalist.
Juri Minamihara, Japan was the runner up in 2015, and have since then only grew stronger. But that will be the fact for many fighters of course. Minamihara was 16 years last World Championship, and in these four years she has two major tittles that we like to point out: 1st WFKO International Tournament – 2018 and the The 6th World karate Championship in weight categories. Both international tournaments, but also both regarding to weight categories. In the A block we find fighters that outweighs Minamihara with over 20 kg – time will show.
In the bottom in the same block we have another merited Japanese fighter, Reimi Asako. Became the runner up in the 1st WFKO, and do also have previous results from JFKO All Japan open. Seems that Asako always manage to reach the podium in big tournaments. But what about a World Tournament? Well, the experience is there, for back in 2017 she reached the final in The 4th Kyokushin Union World Championship – became the runner up in a hard good final. Did qualify by winning the 5th JFKO this spring also.
Both above strong merited Japanese fighters with great merits. These two can potentially face each other in their third fight. But before that can happen they have to face top fighters from KWU. Reimi Asako can be ready for Aleksandra Karpuk from Poland. Karpuk are highly merited from KWU/KWF, physically challenging with 15 kg more in her favor as well as 20 cm in height advantage. Being the KWU vice world champion and the KWU EC vice champion as well should be factors count in heavily.
For Minamihara it could be a rerun from the 6th World Championship in weight categories, with a possible fight against IFK star Emma Markwell UK. Last meeting went Minamihara’s way, as Markwell struggled with the high-pace aggressive fighting from the Japanese fighter. But maybe also the different dialect between the organizations in the way of fighting. Both these fighters, Markwell and Karpuk are frequently to see at the podium of KWU/IFK/KWF tournaments, and should be able to challenge their opponents to the end – and it could also be that Karpuk will face Markwell. Or what about Karpuk vs Minamihara? 20 kg in between, and a real open-weight setting.
In the next, block B, Europe and Russia got some of their strongest profiles. European champions – three of them in order, Alona Veresniak / Ukraine, Andreea Merca / Romania and reign EC champion Agata Winiarska / Poland. Besides some of the top European fighters, Russia with Irina Valieva and Antonina Ismailova – top Russian fighters. Something we have forgot? -and of course Japanese top fighters: Sayaka Kato and Kokona Nomura. Kato, world champion from 2013 lightweight – 2nd place in 2017
World Champion Sayaka Kato / Japan. World Champion Sayaka Kato / Japan faces Veresniak in the first fight. Both very good fighters, and size/reach vise they are equal more or less. But it will be Kato who is the favorite.
The winner will meet the winner of Merca vs Antonina Ismailova vs Brazdzionyte. And these three are dynamite. A opening fight with Andreea Merca vs Ismailova will be very exciting – an the winner will face a fresh Ruta Brazdzionyte / Lithuania, who got walk over in her first round. All three here are quite close weight/high – And we remember the intense final between Brazdzionyte vs Merca in the EC 2017 – this could be a rematch – but Merca will have as pointed out, a tough fight all ready, Brazdzionyte will come in fresh. The one who power trough this, will so face Kato.
Hard to tell who of the three Brazdzionyte, Ismailova or Merca that will face Kato. Merca will be the one who has been most recently active, qualifying in Prague in June, and that count for “keeping alive” tournament vise. Kato do have the merits to be a favorite, but we do remember last World Tournament in 2015, where Brazdzionyte advanced, leaving Kato behind and out of the tournament all ready in the 2nd round. Very skilled, very even, and as the history shows when they have a victory against each other – it does not comes easy. Looking at the draw, we do think that Kato will possible advance with minor use of energy than t.ex Merca with one fight more before they potential shoot out
The lower part of the B block keeps the high level that we described above. Agata Winiarska / Poland ill face the winner of Azhar Zhaxybayeva / Kazakhstan and Rebecca Weller / Australia. We believe that Zhaxybayeva would have the upper hand, coming out from Kazakhstan – a very strong nation with many fighters. If so, Zhaxybayeva will be up for a big test – reign EC Champion Winiarska will be a solid challenge. Yes, Zhaxybayeva can take and deliver strong hard techniques – but one do also know that Winiarska have a wider specter, not only by techniques, but also in speed and movement.
The further challenge we think will by Japan or Russia – Kokona Nomura / Japan will face Djefini Carvalho /Brazil – who have good experience and style. Nomura has not been among the absolute top fighters from Japan, third places in the JFKO All Japan Open 1st,4th and 5th edition.Thar said, being 19 years, it is solid merits. Russia with Irina Valieva, a veteran in the game with tons of experience. Been fighting in the top division for many years. We do believe that Valieva could pull trough agaiinst the winner of Nomura vs Carvalho – and then likely be up against Agata Winiarska in the next fight. If so, it will be really interesting to see Valieva vs Winiarska – because we can not recall seeing they fight each other. At least not recently.
All this speculation leave us with a possible match up between these two top fighters, size vise they are quite equal, some weight difference between that could be an issue. Mention that Valieva was a veteran in the game – Winiarska could easily be called the same. For some reason we see this fight – if it happen – to be a longer, demanding type of fight, where tactics, stamina and endurance will come more into play. We count in that earlier fights in the tournament will (at regular basis) get a quicker decision than deeper into the tournament. The winner of this can be the one who faces Sayaka Kato from the upper half of the B block. And fight to be the one who face the one who advances from A block. At this point we have reached about 4-5 fights for the fighters.