Two masters of the fight game, and as we know (now) both world champions. This fight from 1996, is probably less known than the fight the year after, when the met in the final of the 1st World Cup (World Championship in weight categories) The fight we got now is the semifinal of the 28th All Japan Open..
It can be a little tricky to follow the years and the numbers due to the period we are looking into. So, The World Championship held in 1996, which Norichika Tsukamoto won – was held in January 27th and 28th, 1996. The 28th All Japan Open weight was held later the same year, October 12th and 13th,1996. In our days we are used to have the World Championship in the Autumn (every 4th year) and no All Japan Open weight the same year.
The semifinal Tsukamoto vs Okamoto at the 28th All Japan Open, had of course high expectations. Okamoto had all ready many strong achievements, and had been placed higher than Tsukamoto in 3 previous All Japan Open’s. Okamoto being top 4 three times a row in the All Japan Open. The flip side, Tsukamoto won The 6th World Open Championship earlier this year, Okamoto placed 7th.