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

The last block got some of the big guns! Some of them can possible take the hardest punches – and others can deliver them – will they meet!? Photo by Pi-photo.pl

The last block have some big guns in the line-up. Paulius Žimantas / Lithuania in one end, and Kembu Iriki / Japan in the other. That could be the Block- final however; the path up to that point have many “obstacles” one must overcome and pass.

Žimantas will face Thomas Ritter / Germany in the first fight. Ritter being a decent fighter in the European region, (usually in the -85 kg) haven’t reached the EC podium yet, and will get his biggest challenge up to now facing Žimantas. Photo:pufasfoto.lt  © – visit for more action pictures

The seeding set directions to see the fight between Kosei Ochiai / Japan and Paulius Žimantas / Lithuania in their assumed third fight of the day. Japanese top profile Ochiai will be one of the 132 fighters that can take the hardest hits. Luckily, Žimantas in one of the 132 who can deliver the hardest punch. Photo by Pi-photo.pl

When/ if these two gentlemen meets, damage will be a large factor. Not only in the fight it self, but what you receive of “souvenir” to take with you further on in the tournament. Žimantas can more than “only” hard punches, so it might happen that we will see more of the “toolbox” he got against Ochiai. 5th placeholder from 12th World Championship – Ochiai, have very good counter punch. Finding his openings in the exact moment that his opponent attacks makes his dangerous. He usually can focus little on defense – only attack, being able to take the hardest hits and keep on. Can Ochiai take Žimantas’s hardest punches and still keep his game going?

Brian Jacobsen / Denmark has been permanent inventory in the World Championships – at least that it what it looks like! The experienced Dane has been in six World Championships – first time 1999. Smart technical fighter. Participated in this year Diamond Cup. Became the champion in the heaviest weight-class. Picture by: Svein Olaf Bennæs 

What to expect? 1st round win, but second fight could easily be vs Yuto Eguchi / Japan. Both has returned after break from fighting at the highest level. Eguchi made his comeback this spring, 3rd place in The 8th JFKO All Japan Open. High knee from Denmark or high pace from Japan?

Next sequence European young blood dominates. Fekete Gergely / Hungary and Davit Mskhaladze / Georgia, both made a good impression fighting in several European Championships. Both did also qualify to the World Championship in weight categories last year. Not only does this describe their level, but it will add in on the experience as well. Fekete Gergely face Cristian Elas Paredes / Argentina. Photo by: SHINKYOKUSHIN MARTIAL ARTS FEDERATION HUNGARY  – visit for more.

Davit Mskhaladze takes on Cristobal David Vidal Gazquez / Spain. Fekete and Mskhaladze must win their first fights to meet in the next. Their record speaks for advancement – time will show, but if they face each other, it will be a great one to follow.

World Champion from 2017, Salahat Hasanov / Azerbaijan faces Yota Kaneoka / Japan in the first fight. Yota Kaneoka / Japan securing a win over heavily favorite Yuto Eguchi, in the 53rd All Japan Open. Continued to turn some heads in the 7th World Championships weight categories, winning first fight vs Khatip Ayupov / Kazakhstan – ok, but he kept up and pressured the multi EC winner Lasha Ozbetelashvili / Georgia – and secured the win.

Hasanov is incredible hard to crack, and his experience on the highest begin to reach many years. Fought his way into last 16 last time, eliminated several strong fighters as Atushi Kawase / Japan, Artem Lyalikov / Russia, Maxim Smolyakov / Russia. Hasanov vs Kaneko – is a sharp match up to be so early in the Championship. The winner will take on fighters from the European region, Mateusz Dyniewicz / Poland (runner up -65kg EC) or Simon Eriksson / Sweden. Picture by: Svein Olaf Bennæs 

Kazushi Watanabe / Japan have the upper hand in the group of Luis Carranza / Costa Rica – Ulugbek Khamdamov / Uzbekistan and (vs) Myroslav Omelchenko / Ukraine. Watanabe have heavier record, and being top four in JFKO All Japan Open.

The last section of block D, points in the direction of Kembu Iriki / Japan. Some familiar names appears as Domas Sutkus / Lithuania. Sutkus have a good record, but have not added notable victories to his record lately. Can he lift something more into this World Championship? Sutkus take on Héctor Mathias Villalba / Paraguay in the first fight – in the possible next, most likely be Kembu Iriki who takes on Hamilton Mncedisi Zwane / South Africa.

Kembu Iriki one of the absolute top names this Championship. Lost to Mazur in the semi-final last year, lost to Valeri Dimitrov back in 2019. Iriki got some of the best low-kicks in the business, the damage, timing and variety gives him a powerful weapon.

That said, going up against the best, what more could Iriki bring to the table – if the low-kicks are being neutralized? We like to speculate – and just for the fun: Kembu Iriki vs Paulius Žimantas? It might happen; a theoretic possibility can make it happen in their 5th fight. However, in this example, damage from previous fights is not included, and that lead us back to “the draw” and how hard your journey trough will be.