Closing in to the 52nd edition of the All Japan Open, the DRAW are ready and the excitement raises. The men’s category are supported by 65 fighters, and the women’s category have 37 fighters. Strong names – as usually, and once again: this is the All Japan Open – open weight, supported by many different organisations and top fighters. We will take a closer look at the women’s division.
Five or six fights, or victories would be the challenge to win the tournament. With number 1 on hers back, Yui Kikukawa will be one to follow. Kikukawa have an amazing record during the last years, always top 4 and that include also the the 11th AND 12th World Championship, and the 48th,50th All Japan Open – both open-weight tournaments. JFKO champion 1st, 2nd 3rd 4th, and top 4 in the The 1st International Fullcontact Karate Championship – also 4th place in the 6th World Karate Championship in weight categories. – in short: this is a potential winner.
First challenge pointed out: Misaki Teshima or Takayo Kimura. Teshima, up and coming, member of the national Japanese Shinkyokushin team, represented Japan in the 12th World Championship. These two, Kikukawa and Teshima, have met before, and it is a really high pace intensive drive from start to stop. Up to this point, it has been Kikukawa who has pulled trough.
This fight – if it happen (in block A), will be a key fight into the battle of the podium. But Kikukawa have to face – and win against among others Hikaru Shiwa – The 1st Asia Full Contact Karate Champion. If Shiwa can neutralize the lighting kicks from Maruyama Rena in their first fight of the day. But that is not all, there are an obstacle that must be overcome for Teshima to reach the possible fight vs Kikukawa, and that will be against a very strong and merited heavyweight fighter: Takayo Kimura. Been on the podium in the JFKO, and the question will be can speed match the power? We think Kikukawa will fight Teshima or Kimura in the end.
Further down,B-block, a really interesting fighter: Ren Mizutani. She did surprise many in 2018, when she stopped Yui Kikukawa in the lightweight final – 1st WFKO International Tournament – 2018. Kikukawa came, as mentioned – in as 4 times winner of the category in JFKO. And from the bottom av the line up, also a very strong merited fighter in Momo Fujihara. Fujihara have a strong record – but fights in the heaviest category. Besides being on the JFKO podium, Fujihara has been representing Shinkyokushin Japan national team in the 12th World Championship.
But this block do also have strong fighters form the middleweight category: Maasa Tomino. Tomino holds top 4 in the 1st WFKO International Tournament – 2018, and reign 2020 KWF World Grand Prix champion in the -60 kg category. On collision course with Mizutani – the winner will most likely face Fujihara.
C-block, Sayaka Kato – World Weight Champion from 2013 (LW), runner up in 2017, All Japan Open JFKO champion, 46th All Japan Open champion (Open-weight) ++ – it’s all there. Last year, at the 12th World Championship, Kato reached the quarterfinal where she lost to Irina Valieva / Russia. That after advancing trough two European Champions. Kato will be one of the top favorites, but will be challenge by top fighters as Reimi Asako. Asako made it to the quarter final in The 12th World Karate Championship,loosing for non other than Juri Minamihara – 3-2 after two extensions.
But before Kato vs Asako can be a fight, Kato must beat Yuri Kamiya in the possible second fight. Kamiya – top 4 at the 1st WFKO tournament. From the lower section of the C-block – a key fight can be between Rika Hasegawa and Reimi Asako. Both with great experience from top level fighting and tittles to back it up. Asako runner up in the The 1st International Fullcontact Karate Championship – as Hasegawa was runner up in the 2nd KWU world championship. A very tough block: Kato, Asako, Kamiya, Hasegawa to follow.
The last block, D-block brings us the reign champion from the 1st WFKO championship: Chihiro Kubota. This was in 2018, and in that year Kubota in matter of fact became the champion of the 50th All Japan Open weight as well. A very strong year, and a powerful statement. Top contender in the 2nd fight: Nahoko Tanioka. These two fighters has been on the same podium before – now, that can’t happen this time – but who will make it trough? We have a feeling that Kubota got the little extra – but this will be a close one. And the one who advances further on in the tournament – will possible face Kokona Nomura.
Nomura vs Kubota – potential, will in that case be a re-match from last year, when they met in the 5th JFKO All Japan Open Championship. In that semifinal, was it Kubota who pulled it trough. If we had tried to predict even further on in the tournament, it would be really hard to tell. When the A-B block winner meets, and the C-D winner go at each other – it will for sure be at the highest level!