13th World Championship B-block – Men’s Division

Prediction or introduction? A little of both on might say, as we dive into the B block of the 13th World Championship. Photo by Pi-photo.pl

One of the main goals of this, is to present some of the participant in the championship. Tell everyone (who might be interested) a little about the line up, fighters previous achievements and so on. Please do remember that predictions are based on record and previous results and fights, all fights have to be fought. Photo by Pi-photo.pl

Men’s category block B

A category where we can see a “new” generation established, and ready to enter the World championship with a better start-track than last time. Photo by Pi-photo.pl

Marek Wolny / Poland has had a break through last couple of years. First with the Open-Weight EC title in 2022, then prove to be the best in Europe in 2023 as well, this time in the weight category EC. It is a point to mention that Wolny was the only fighter that manage to earn an extra round versus Eventas Gužauskas in the World Championship in weight categories. Photo by Pi-photo.pl

One must assume that Wolny will advance, based on his fight history compared to others in his way, and the question will of course how far Marek Wolny go this time. First fight for Wolny is vs Ezequiel Rodríguez / Uruguay who won the The South American Championship (Bolivia) 2023. Represented also in 2022 Poland, Weight category World Championship, lost in the first round, although did a good figure.

Nikita Bauer / Germany or Alexis Warth / France will be the next in line. Both been national representatives several times, both with decent experience and with all round skills. None of them has been able to break through the hard line up in for an example EC podium spot, but as mention the experience of many years of the tatami follow. This one can be quite even, so to pull it off, who will have the best tactics and the skills? Photo: Svein Olaf Bennæs / Shin Norway

Tenshin Sawai / Japan weighs in under 65 kg – that is quite remarkable. Not the only one at that weigh in this championship, but one do have to notice that. Nevertheless, his record has been strengthen the last years, and he became the JFKO All Japan Open Champion this spring. (In -60kg)!

Runner up in 2022, and did manage to reach the 3rd place in the 7th World Championship in weight categories. The size difference is not so big in the first fight, but increase in the next. Hit and run, or glue to the opponent? First alternative would be more interesting to watch, the second alternative will probably end in warnings, little technic, frustration and the chance for pushing / grabbing is imminent.

If we blindly follow the records of the fighter, possible Wolny vs Sawai could happened in the third fight. It is a way to go, and not everything can fall on the fighter’s record either. If a Wolny vs Sawai fight happen, the same situation with size difference is a fact. 30 kilos in difference and about 26 centimeters in height. Again, how will the different teams build up their strategy in this case?

Further down the line: what about the comeback of Lukas Kubilius / Lithuania. Kubilius a fighter been at the highest level, and comes out from one of the absolute strongest nations. Have not seen him fight since the last World Championship, losing his third fight vs Evgeny Otopkov. It is a little hard to know how much you can expect from an athlete who is not active, even if he has a brilliant career from earlier years.

The advantage is one of the world’s best teams around him, as well as previous experience. The flip side will be precisely this with participating in a larger international context – where you have to make “fresh made” If Kubilius take his first vs Zhora Paljan /Armenia, Anton Zimarev / Kazakhstan could be next. Zimarev (80 kg) got a decent youth record. Only 20 years, I the opposite end of Kubilius (107 g) – will the respect be a factor, or a motivation?

Another interesting fighter to follow, Samuel Hallas / Denmark. Hallas been stationed in Japan for training. This kind of sacrifice and dedication are unique. Attention came when Hallas took the U-21 EC title, and that very convincing. Fights in Japan and in the EC this year confirm that Hallas “reaps what he sows” the arrow point upwards.

Hallas will fight Chonglee Makki /Lebanon – will as usual represent the Middle East. We put it that way, because Makki have been in the game for a long time. Fought Norichika Tsukamoto in Osaka back in 2005 – at the 3rd World Cup (World Championship in weight categories), fought Tsutomi Muruyama in 2013 in Lithuania and last time in Kazakhstan, he fought Kembu Iriki, and in Poland he lost first fight vs Jonas Rosin. Winner will most likely face Shin Kameyama / Japan.

Shin Kameyama has been adding precious metal to his collection in recent years. He has been a stable top four in the JFKO All Japan Open, and won in 2021. If we (as always) speculate into a fight between Hallas vs Kameyama, already now we are looking forward to that. The challenge lays at the young Dane – but the pressure belongs to home fighter Kameyama. Kameyama is use to go toe to toe against the big guns in the heaviest category. That will probably not be the case in this fight, since the young Dane have superb technical skills, movable on his feet, and a high pace (if he choose to use it)

In the lower part of block B, have fighters as Yusaku Watanabe / Japan, Ali Hayder / Sweden, Kaede Hiraki / Japan, Patrik Lajtos / Hungary the best seeding, based on their achievements. Short story: some best of Japan and some of best from the European region. Yusaku Watanabe consider by many to be one of the favorites – into top 8. Photo: Svein Olaf Bennæs / Shin Norway

Ali Hayder has been stabile on the podium last three years in the European Championship. The pace is always high, and the techniques come hard, fast and, not least, with variety. Hayder can fight at any distance, but it peaks when he uses his capacity for kicks, and especially to the head.

Hayder “Need for speed”? Massimiliano Tilli / Canada will be his opponent. Fought in the 7th World Weight category, full forward leaning in from the start, deals damage with his 98 kg behind every punch. With twenty kilos in difference, some tactics must come into the game. Can Hayder deal with the twenty kg in disfavor?

The winner will probably face Yuki Otsubo / Japan (73 kilos) – third placeholder from 7th World Weight Championship with more. Reached the final in his years JFKO All Japan Open. The man who beat him, Kaede Hiraki is another Japanese fighter waiting “down the road” He will take on Jeyhun Yusifov / Azerbaijan, the winner will face the winner of Deni Andrianto / Indonesia vs Sergii Chekhovych / Ukraine. Sergii Chekhovych did a personal breakthrough this spring, reaching the podium in the European Championship for the first time. Photo: Okiem Sportowca 

The last section of B block have a good mix from Japan, Asia, South America and Europe. Patrik Lajtos / Hungary has been a notable name in the EC context last couple of years. It will be very interesting to follow him in the World Championship. He will face South America representative for the last World Championships, Pablo Miranda / Bolivia. Patrik Lajtos being the favourite should take the fight, and get ready for the winner of Artem Akimenkov / Poland vs Artur Kovalenko / Kazakhstan.

Both quite young and have started to collect medals ad trophies. Artem Akimenkov, being the U-21 European Champion in 2021 and again in 2022  shows class, and prove to keep the level up this year, entering the 3rd place in the senior European Championship in Sweden this Spring. Either way, the winner vs Lajtos can be a demanding one. Akimenkov use to fight in the heaviest category, Lajtos being successful in the open-weight as well

 Justinas Kvietka / Lithuania will face David Fabek / Croatia. Kvietka is the favourite in this one, 6th in the World Championship last year. However, Fabek have experience from many tournaments as well. Been on the podium fought the best in tournaments like European Open Szolnok Cup, Swedish Open and of course the legendary Branko Bošnjak Memorial. Kvietka is unpredictable and higher merited, so he will naturally be expected as the winner, this leaves Fabek in a nothing to lose situation – all in, no tomorrow.

The winner will face one of the top favourites in total, Yusaku Watanabe / Japan. First fight for Watanabe will be vs winner of Kin Tai Leung / Hong Kong vs Normunds Pumpa / Latvia – none of them with notable record or wins, Watanabe will be in another league.

Being top 4 in Japan the last years, and third place holder from the 7th World Championship in weight categories – it is clearly that Watanabe is set to move on in the tournament, and that quite far. A possible lane could be vs Kvietka in the second fight – and maybe Watanabe vs Patrik Lajtos after that – realistic, or it is a “want to see fight”?

Maybe a mix of both to be honest!