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Field with daredevils U73kg will showcase top judo in Baku

23 Jun 2015 12:45

   IJF Media Team / IJF
20150523_Rabat_ORUJOV, Rustam (AZE)6 (2)

The top four of the World Ranking U73kg consists of European fighters and they are all in Baku for the Inaugural European Games. What an outlook with fighters such as Rustam Orujov (1), Denis Iartcev (2), Dex Elmont (3) and Nugzar Tatalashvili (4).

Not a huge suprise that homeplayer Rustam Orujov is the favourite, he grew to the top position in the IJF World Ranking this year. In February he wasn't even in the top 10 but after victories at the Grand Prix in Tbilisi, Grand Prix Samsun and Grand Slam in Baku he gained enough points to take the first position in a weight category where the competition is tough and the Japanese challangers Nakaya (5) and Ono (11) don't show themselves a lot in Europe. Ono won the Grand Prix Dusseldorf and Nakaya took bronze in Rabat.

Orujov beat the best athletes, not always with a glance or 100% convincing, but enough to impress. It was Denis Iartcev of Russia who beat Orujov for the last time. At the IJF Masters they met in the semi final and Iartcev showed that he is a great replacement of Olympic Champion Mansur Isaev when it comes to that decision. Likely that decision will fall in December, just like in December 2011 when Russian Manager Ezio Gamba announced his team in advance. With a good position it's not easy to get around Iartcev. Isaev is ranked 89, Mogushkov 20.

Number three ranked Dex Elmont is the current European Champion. Last year he defeated Ugo Legrand in a great final. Legrand who isn't qualified for Baku is now replaced by Pierre Duprat and Florent Urani, both not seeded but able to stunt. Elmont wasn't happy with the change from Glasgow to Baku. His season was messed up towards Astana as he had a trainingcamp in Asia by now under normal circumstances. The 31-year old technician won bronze in Samsun and was also not satisfied with that result where he got beaten by Vanlioglu and in Zagreb by Khashbaatar and Muki. In Rabat Duprat defeated the Dutchman so he has had the best warnings of all. Knowing him he will grow to world level in time for the World Championships. 

With Sagi Muki we have the number six seed but he may be the best of all in this moment. Let's hope he doesn't draw against Duprat as he got beaten twice by the Frenchman this year. In Rabat he lost to Nugzar Tatalashvili, the number four of the world ranking. With four medals this preseason Tatalashvili cannot complain and he grew to exceptional form compared to Shavdatuashvili who is now fighting U73kg as well and ranked 18th. Tatalashvili is definitely a player to bet for. Shavdatuashvili is non seeded but let's not forget he is the Olympic champion U66 and European Champion of Budapest U66kg but getting there soon in this higher category depending on this week.

Conclusion: a strong top 4 and some outsiders of which we didn't name Rok Draksic who was in the Budapest Grand prix final two weeks ago, 34-year young Miki Ungvari who won in Budapest and ran a half marathon a cooling down the next day and Dirk van Tichelt, the former number one U73kg who won bronze in Budapest. They all got in shape, but the fireworks may come from the non-seeded outsiders who can beat the best but not 4 matches in a row. They will take care of the surprises and make it spectacular in this category where the number one of the world doesn't reach more than 2000 points, less than any category.

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Denis Iartcev (RUS) - World Team Championships Chelyabinsk (2014, RUS) - © IJF Media Team, IJF
  • Dex Elmont (NED), Sagi Muki (ISR) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2015, CRO) - © IJF Media Team, IJF
  • Nugzari Tatalashvili (GEO) - Grand Prix Samsun (2015, TUR) - © IJF Media Team, IJF

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