The results are well known, the honor and glory are given to all that had something to do with the European Championship Shinkyokushin 2021. What we saw was an organization that was willing to sacrifice a lot. Much more could been written about this. We will also send a greeting to those who could not come, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
After back and forth, postponement and some uncertainty – the European Championships was organized in Georgia 2021. One must keep in mind that during this European Championship there were enormous differences from country to country, athlete to athlete when it comes to how one could do preparations, what extra financial costs this entailed and more. What we saw was an organization that was willing to sacrifice a lot. Much more could been written about this. We are sending a greeting to those who could not be there, due to Cocid-19 restrictions.
The sporting part was hold as planned, and the entire European Championship, from start to finish was exemplary. It was a bit thinner in the ranks as previously mentioned, but overall it was as normal – or what you can predict.
Looking at the champions in the men’s division, we can’t say that there are some big bombs. Andrei Zinchenko / Georgia, Valeri Dimitrov / Bulgaria, Edgard Sečinski / Lithuania, and Eventas Gužauskas. All EC Shin Champions from before, Lasha Ozbetelashvili / Georgia EFKO champion. The podium further on had some “newer” names, and that was of great interest.
In the men -65 kg category, only two nation was able to enter the podium: Georgia and Ukraine. Georgia as expected, but Ukraine is probably a little more surprising – at least with both their athletes on the podium. Bohdan Lemishko and Taras Havrylets showed very good fighting, and many raised their eyebrows when Havrylets worked his way and advancing on the cost of Azerbaijan’s top lightweight fighter and reign (2019) EC champion Emin Ismayilli. Havrylets showing great strength and stamina in that fight, and in the next vs Daniel Sternik / Poland, came the technical display, timing and strategy to show.
Could it be an idea with international commentary, when you got an international live stream?
The semi-finals Andrei Zinchenko / Georgia vs Bohdan Lemishko / Ukraine became a tough fight, with Zinchenko pushing forward aggressive, and earns the victory after one extension. Sergo Movsesyan / Georgia had two wins with scorings coming into the semi-final, Taras Havrylets / Ukraine seemed a little marked after a long day. As you know, this one went also to Georgia after an extension. Movsesyan stalking down his opponent, and keeping the pressure on – balancing on the edge with use of his arms, that could ended in warnings – if the referees had been a little more trigger-happy.
The final became a little anti-climax, which is a little understandable since both have same style, and since all the other nations are out of the tournament. After trading techniques for several rounds, Andrei Zinchenko was once again the European Champion! But all was impress by the Georgian team all ove delivered a very strong tournament.
In the under 75 kg category, one could add ten fighters (25) comparing to the -65 kg, 25 – but when the draw came, the number was down to 22. It seemed that the level in the category had a gap between the upper and lower level, and several fights in the first and second round ended with victories done by scoring, Waza-ari or ippons.
As the host nation, one can add one more fighter in each category, but does this also mean that one can have an extra coach during the fights – for an example on the same side as our opponent coach are placed?
A highly interesting fight was the fight between Mikheil Tsiklauri / Georgia and Domas Sutkus / Lithuania. Sutkus came from a win before full time against Mario Mahiques / Spain, as Tsiklauri had his first fight of the day. These two are highly skilled and very experienced fighters, so we could see this as a “key fight” They are even and both got their own style to solve what their opponent could bring to the fight. In the end, Tsiklauri manage to pull this off but it is fair to say that it could gone the other way – easily. Sutkus connects with a head-kick that brings Tsiklauri off his feet, taking a long sidestep to retain balance before he continues the fight.
This could been a waza-ari – and in many cases it is. Looking overall in the tournament, we do have similar situations that gives a scoring. Tsiklauri on his side shows great skills and spirit, and working his way to victory! That is amazing! In his next fight, he had to face the young promising Milán Móczó / Hungary. The young Hungarian fighter, been noticed for very good all round fighting. Very explosive, good drive and not least very nice variations when it comes to the technical display. Even when the pace is high, he keep the technical deliverance clean. With this win, he enter the podium, and that is a very strong achievement for a young fighter.
Farkas Mór Fekete, the second Hungarian fighter, did also show great skills. Lost in the quarterfinal against Swedish fighter Ali Hayder. In this fight, one could see the great display of setting up head-techniques. Both with nice attempts to the head, after working the body or legs. One do have do mention the kicking skills of Hayder, more than one time during the championship the kicks was flying over the head of his opponents – and just knowing that it could come makes the setting more intense. Hayder takes the fight, after being more active in the extension. Farkas Mór Fekete probably felt the previous fight vs Romeo Gablaia / Georgia – in his body/legs, because that was a war, and it did go the extensions.
Lasha Ozbetelashvili / Georgia did as expected end up on the podium, and as you know, he went all the way. Showing class and strength in the preliminary rounds, not being push to the limit in that case. In the semi-final, he faced Milán Móczó / Hungary – these two did fight the final in the EFKO EC 1,5 year back, which Ozbetelashvili won. In that case, the result came in the ordinary round. This time an extension came because of a closer fight – although it looks that Ozbetelashvili was in control. In the extension, we could see the difference as we saw in the EFKO final, and alter 2 minutes Ozbetelashvili was ready for the final.
Hayder vs Igor Lamot / Poland in the other semi-final was a really tough and demanding fight. In the early fights, Lamot showed accuracy and strength, and these two factors seems to challenge Hayder. Especially in the end of ordinary round. The fight went on into extensions, and a great fight it was. The only thing that was a concern was now warnings were starting to appear. In front of the extension, both where told by the main referee to lower their punches, beware of the height. This round goes also to an end, Lamot with constant drive – Hayder with explosions of chosen technics. Into the 3rd extension and now there is really hard to make a difference, Hayder starts of best with an 5-6 good low-kicks, before Lamot manage to put the pressure on. Further, on the round looks similar to the previous – but both has pushed hard – and it begins to show. Ali Hayder gets the decision after last round.
The final Lasha Ozbetelashvili vs Ali Hayder. It’s easy to see that the very long semi-final has drained Ali Hayder of energy, and when Ozbetelashvili tactical lifts the pace towards the end – then Hayder can’t follow.
Men under 85 kg category, 17 fighters (one less than the line-up) in this category we saw several great fights, some minor surprises as well. Although the favorites moved on in the tournament, we noticed that one of the profiles and 3rd placeholder from 2019, Kęstutis Radvila / Lithuania – went out of the tournament on warnings in his first fight. Besides that, Salahat / Azerbaijan, Sokolovas / Lithuania Dimitrov / Bulgaria and Illia Serhiienko / Ukraine moved on to the semi-finals.
Valeri Dimitrov vs Illia Serhiienko was in the first semi. Dimitrov coming out with a knock out win against home fighter Erekle Pirveli.
Illia Serhiienko defeated Thomas Ritter / Germany after a very long hard fight. The fight went through extensions, and many noticed the amount of low-kicks finding the way. The first 30 seconds, Serhiienko moves good, releases one or two techniques before he chance direction. Dimitrov stalk him down and with the second heel to the thigh, he earns a knock down – waza-ari. Fight goes on, stick and move from Serhiienko – Dimitrov catches him with a back-kick, nicely set up as well! After that, one more to the leg – and Dimitrov is ready for the final.
The second semi-final between Salahat Hasanov vs Juras Sokolovas was another story. Sokolovas seemed very strong in the earlier rounds, and the size (advantage) was significant. Hasanov pushes forward, strong punching from close distance – Sokolovas moving backwards but still delivers very strong techniques – and when the opportunity is there, he delivers some nasty calf-kicks that one can hear in the Arena! Exchanges with punches and kicks are very hard, and it goes both ways. The pattern is the same, Sokolovas moved backward by Hasanov pressure and punches – Hasanov on his side takes a lot keeping the pressure on.
Extension round and here we go again! Hasanov comes up with a good spinning back-kick to the head Sokolovas shakes his head and “say” nope! Sokolovas with a couple of roll-kicks attempts – nicely done, but Hasanov got control. The pace raises, Sokolovas mixes it up with knees to the body, and downwards elbows strikes – Hasanov keep the pressure and earn a 3 flag victory into the final!
Valeri Dimitrov vs Salahat Hasanov. In this fight, Hasanov have changed his style, now he is far more movable. Adding more kicks, especially the low-kicks. Dimitrov working with punches, mixing it with heels and explosive knees. Extension and the fight continues. The pace raises, and it seems that it is Dimitrov who are in the lead, doing the moves so Hasanov have to follow and adapt. 2 minutes goes fast, decision on flags: Valeri Dimitrov European Champion!
So.. It could be that someone have been counting EC tittles taken by Valeri Dimitrov, we will get back to that later..
In the -95kg category, some key fights came up rather early in the tournament. Pointed out to be the favorite, Edgard Sečinski / Lithuania. The draw-system made this category less exciting. Edgard Sečinski faced Marek Wolny / Poland in the first round, Wolny could be one of the few to challenge Edgard Sečinski in this category. Style wise they fought quite similar, Sečinski a little more movable – Wolny finding his way to his opponents leg with low-kick. More or less in close distance. Extra round became a fact, and a little interesting situation appear.
In the end of an exchange, Wolny execute a back-kick to the body – connecting to the right side of Sečinski. Then Wolny turns up the heat, and attacks with a series of blows to the body. Sečinski does a roll-kick but it is little “on it”. Getting back on his feet seems a little “slow” and when the referee (for some reason) wont to interfere with his Gi – Sečinski bend forward and rest his hands on his knees. Wolny very eager to continue the fight – smelling that “something is going on”
The fights starts and Wolny are all over his opponent, drives him of the tatami two times a row. Third restart, Wolny connect with a knee to the body, and it seems that Sečinski are receiving a hit in the face. Wonly’s reaction says no I did not. Anyway, Sečinski laying on the tatami and the medical team right by. The judges come together, all the rest are waiting to see. After a while, the result became second warning for Wolny and with 26 second left, this goes in Sečinski favour. Why there are no reply, (or slow motion) of the different highlights and incidents we do not know. Maybe we could learned something from that – because we feel that this fight was closer to go another way then it did. Only speculations that is.
On the opposite side of the draw, teammate of Sečinski, Orestas Abazorius makes his way through the brackets. Showing good all round skills and good physique to back it up. Are in control the first two fights, and when we awaits a challenge in the semi-final vs young Bulgarian fighter Borislav Baychev, it becomes a fight with many warnings instead. That was sad, because one could see the potential of the young Bulgarian.
Orestas Abazorius ready for the final vs Edgard Sečinski. Sečinski had moved on after the fight with Wolny, and got a win in the second fight with a scoring right at the end of the fight (knee to the head). Levente Magyar / Hungary delivered as usually very good techniques and kept a good base in his fighting. Sečinski with his height advantage mixed up good body punches and knee to the head. The same recipe used in the next match vs Ihor Kotliarevskyi / Ukraine. Ukrainian fighter, tough as it gets, holds a strong pressure forward, but Sečinski keeps his game going.
The final between Orestas Abazorius and Edgard Sečinski becomes a formality, a rerun from the Lithuanian national in February. Edgard Sečinski being to strong and earn his European tittle with two waza-aris. This was number two for Edgard Sečinski,
Men +95 kg category, In the heaviest category did Eventas Gužauskas / Lithuania do what the most of us believed he would do, win. An already slim category was further reduced, so the number of fighters in total was 8. And since Maciej Mazur did not compete (Rumoured that he has retired from fighting) Gužauskas was not challenged this time, and one reason for that he could thanks his teammate for.
First round fight between Antanas Klibavičius / Lithuania vs Kostiantyn Inozemtsev / Ukraine was one of the better fights in this category. Both very strong and physically well prepared. The difference between them was that Inozemtsev delivered very god explosive combinations – also god variations. Klibavičius seems more systematic, and lands many heavy lowkicks trough the fight on the front leg of Inozemtsev. So for many, the higher ranked Klibavičius went out in the first round.
Máté Dávid / Hungary was ready for the first semi-final vs Kostiantyn Inozemtsev. Once again, Inozemtsev with very good combos gets the best out of it. Máté Dávid coming forward in the end of the fight, but stopped by a higher pace punching and good knees to the body.
The other semi-final with Eventas Gužauskas vs Lasha Kamarauli / Georgia. Kamarauli is “all in” and he is a very strong man, heavy punches and good spirit. Gužauskas with his experience got more tools to solve different tasks. Keeping a high pace together with movement gives him the 3 flag victory after the ordinary round.
The final goes to Gužauskas after about a minute. Both trading punches from the start. However, once the low-kicks comes in to play, Inozemtsev got some serious trouble. A couple of hits to the leg and the final is over. Even so that the final was over pretty fast, no doubt that Inozemtsev had proven to be a worthy contender and did deliver best EC result – up to now.
As for Gužauskas who already have proven to be a top fighter, will aim for higher goals, maybe in Poland next year!