12th World Karate Championship

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.. Men A block. Remember: it is only speculation – based on previous records and fight.. We appreciate and warmly welcome when fighters disprove our speculation 🙂

With 161 fighters in the line up,the best fighters from all regions, this is the strongest World Championship. To be the World Champion one must go through 7 or 8 fights in Open Weight category. This is the true legacy from Full-contact Karate, and without doubt the most demanding way to get a World Championship tittle.4 blocks with (40) fighters in each, before all 4 blocks clash together to see who is the best fighter in the World. There has never been an easy path in Kyokushin karate, which is why we should strive to keep this. Also when it comes to handing out World titles.

First fighter we comes to, number one on his back: Maciej Mazur / Poland. The European region can challenge the best in the World with their top fighters – and Mazur have proven to be one of them for some years now. Stable at the top in the European region, and also top 5 in 1st WFKO International Tournament 2018, and in the All Japan Open 2017. Only beaten by the absolute top fighters from Japan. First challenge for Mazur could be in the in the 3rd fight vs Shoki Shimizu / Japan

Antanas Klibavičius / Lithuania. As mention many times, is a challenge to face, and of course in the early rounds of such a big tournament – one can easily be in for a lot of damage – if one manage to defeat the strong Lithuanian. Maybe one could expect an even stronger record looking at Klibavičius, but he is “right up there” He will for sure move on in the tournament. Last time in 2015 ,Kembu Iriki defeated him. Klibavicius on his side totally overran and neutralized Polish Gerard Will, double EC Champion KWF and World Champion KWF – Will also a very good fighter indeed.

Shoki Shimizu is a very solid fighter, physically he is equal in weight and height with Mazur. Good lowkicks and stamina. But he will have a very tough fight before they meet, because he will face Lithuanian power-house Antanas Klibavičius. We can not count out Klibavičius in the fight vs Shimizu, but we think than the home fighter can sneak past the Lithuanian with higher pace an intensity. But of course Klibavičius would be very eager win, and to pay back Mazur in the next fight, after they meeting in EC this spring. Winner of Shimizu / Klibavičius must prepare for Mazur – that can be a hard task.

Artem Semenov / Russia. Been the Russian champion several times, and ended 3rd in the Russian Open Weight in 2018. Have record from several organizations and tournaments, and did impress last time in 2015 – taking a challenge from a country man Igor Ryadnov . Artem Semenov, who made a statement first day as he knock out Ryadnov, reign World Champion KWU 2015., with a textbook axe-kick. Loosing later on in the 4th round against Mazur. Semenov’s kicking skills, and laid back fighting style has been really interesting to watch – he will bring action, an facing Orestas Abazorius / Lithuania in the 2nd round will be action! -before the winner can face Shota Maeda / Japan.

Number 20, working his way towards Mazur and the upper section – is Shota Maeda. / Japan. The World Champion in weight cat, and 4th place holder from last World Championship. In this line up we have to say that he will be a very heavy favorite. But it will be action-fights, all ready from the start. Ali Haider /Sweden, Yerkebulan Beysembayev / Kazakhstan will sand in his way – good fighters – clearly. And later on Maeda could face Artem Semenov / Russia – rematch from World Championship in weight categories 2017, where Maeda took the fight after a scoring to the head.

There is another Shota in the line up as well, Shota Yamaguchi / Japan. A really strong fighter that normally fights in the heavyweight category. Has really been working up a all ready good record, across several tournaments. Champion of the 5th JFKO this spring – and for many he surprised with a win over Kembu Iriki in the semi and Kosei Ochiai in the final. If Yamaguchi can deliver at the same level this time, he will make way in the line up. We hold his possible third fight as point – where he can face the EC Open Weight champion from 2016 Eventas Gužauskas / Lithuania.

Eventas Gužauskas / Lithuania. Very strong fighter, and have a incredible brutal “last 30 sec” Came in 5th EC Open-weight 2018, and been “off” since then. For sure been working extremely hard to enter the World Tournament. Eventas Gužauskas came in on the European Championship podium in 2015 – and not only kept the level, but moved into the absolute top level. Also build his merits across organizations, always improving. So many are really curious what he will bring this time. pufasfoto.lt 🡺

In the bottom av the A block, Russia have one of their profiles, Khasai Magomedov. We see a possible very good 2nd fight vs Tsuyoshi Midori / Japan. They are quite equal at the weight and height, very good technical fighters – and this would be a high pace fight from to of the best. This fights winner will have a good chance to face Kazuya Yamamoto – another of Japan’s top fighters and favorites. But as mention Midori vs Khasai could be a very even fight.

Yamamoto usually fights in heavy division, but are not the biggest in his class. But and many a fighter has been taken out by his technique and his supreme timing. If he moves on like we think, and faces either Midori or Magomedov – he will have the speed to follow them and the technic to match them. But he will have a Russian challenge as well, an “outside entry” from David Bitkash / (KWU/Royama) Further the winner can face more power – in the shape of Eventas Gužauskas or Shota Yamaguchi.