European Championship Open Weight 2018 – Women’s division

European Championship Open Weight – in 1 week!The European Championship Shinkyokushin will take place on 23-24 November 2018, Friday and Saturday, in the city of Budapest, Hungary. The great support of the tournament gives us the hardest line up up to now! Not only in numbers, but also looking at the profiles ho attend – if one manage to reach the podium, it would be a great achievement!

The Shinkyokushin European Championship Open Weight – women’s category really shows the width and the top of the European region. When we look through the line up, familiar faces from several tournaments comes up. The women category do have fighters that have taken many of the most wanted tittles across the world, and with that in mind – this EC will be a tournament that tops most of tournaments around. Why? first of all – if you take the top spot, you must fight 5 or 6 fights. Already here the tournament will stand out from most others. On top of that we can see some of the most merited fighters ready to go!

With 36 fighters, this will be a long day! And no doubt that it will demand a certain kind of skills to make it all the way to the top. It is also very possible that the champion to be, must be capable to play on “more than one string” facing fighters with different strengths and tactics – and also big variation in the weight – that again will often give a change of the pace.

But in the total, as we mention in the men’s preview, there is some factors that raises some speculations on how the day on the Tatemi will go. 1/3 of the fighters comes from one team, and many of the favorites represent exactly that team. With a so big team, how will the fights between the team-members be? It is known that (in the World of professional sports) there are occasions when one does not complete the matches 100%, but sends the team its supposed best performers further in the tournament with the least possible damage. But this is nothing but speculation on general basis, but the best tournament will be if one gets a mixed top 8, that will generate more interest than total domination.

Into the tournament we have so many excellent, competent fighters. In the upper weight of the division we have reign European Champions: Andreea Merca, Romania +65 kg, Monika Zielińska, Poland -65 kg and Inga Mikštaitė, Lithuania – 60 kg. And if we add the runners up from the same divisions: Brigita Gustaitytė, Lithuania + 65 kg, Ivanka Deleva, Bulgaria – 65 kg and Marta Lubos, Poland – 60 kg. This is six very competent fighters, and some of them have of course fought each others more than one time.

We always mentions the draw, and many are very interested in how, or who that will get the best seeded track. We listed up the last finalists from EC this spring, but we do also have several very good fighters that did not end on the Shinkyokushin EC podium. Many have their highest merits in other tournaments organized by other organizations. This shows two things: their very high level of fighting, and the high level of an Shinkyokushin EC.Agata Winiarska, Poland – double world champion Ifk/Kwu and Kwu European champion, fail to reach the SHIN EC podium this spring, lost to Brigita Gustaitytė, Lithuania – but after a dead even fight through extensions before Gustaitytė taking it, digging deep. Camille Haddouche, France, also many strong merits, but haven’t manage to reach the EC Shin podium at the time.

Haddouche have a very nice, movable and entertaining fight style, and it have been proven to follow the very best fighters in the heaviest categories through all extensions – but as said, at the time not reached the EC Shin podium. But we believe that it can come to that, and as many hope it will, because her style is a counterweight to many others.

Sara Hägge, Sweden, been the top three for some years, but trough this season some changes has made it a little more difficult to keep it up. Starting of this year very strong with a win tin the Diamond Cup, 3rd at the Shin EC. But moving from Sweden to England made it harder to keep the regular training up, into 3rd in the Swedish Open, doing a decent fight in British Open but being completely robbed for the victory, after damaging her opponent clearly more. But the routine will be with her, together with good technique and all know that you will be up for a hard fight – if you meet her.

Going into the lighter part of the division, the level are still at the highest. But of course, fighting in the open-weight as an lightweight fighter, the challenge will be that size matter. But we also know that several fighters have the capacity to get past a larger fighter – but to do it over and over again? Maybe, and that will be excitement of the day! Alona Veresniak, Ukraine,  Skaistė Venckutė, Lithuania and Violeta Litovska, Bulgaria are good examples of fighters at top level in the lighter divisions. And of course, home fighters as Seregely Gyongyi and Anett Kovacs-leiter will be at their best.

Pointing out the top fighters this time will be very hard. But the strongest team will be Lithuania who got 11 (!) fighters in the line up. As mention this is a little risky way to shape a EC tournament as “Lithuanian Open” are quite less attractive than a regular European tournament with two fighters limitations at a regular basis. But of course the number of fighters this time is 36, with a two fighters limit it had been 24, (minus 9 from Lithuania, 2 Poland and 1 Spain) A point in the middle of could be a solution..

But who would be the top fighters of the day? Inga Mikštaitė is the most merited fighter, and the veteran in the division. Is she still strong enough to defend her Open Weight tittle from 2016? Maybe, but we must say that it seems that it would be a lot harder this time. One of the strongest challengers will be Marta Lubos. Showed in EC 2018 that it could be just a matter of time before the top spot is a fact – “don’t rush it, it will come naturally” Andrea Merca and Brigita Gustaitytė fought the EC final, and that final was very hard physical. Gustaitytė’s size and power will be a challenge for anyone, Merca’s strong drive and insane spirit – the same! Strong enough to handle them:  Agata Winiarska, stylish enough challenge them Camille Haddouche. But the draw will be a main factor, big teams could play an role.

One thing for sure, it will be one of the strongest tournament that we have seen in Europe in a long time!

The huge support, the quality of the fighters and the mix of many nations makes this of huge interest!

Thinking of the last Open weight  in 2016, where we had 15 fighters (and that with 2 fighters from Russia a a test) Now it is 36 fighters, and the champion will be…


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