News

The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com

No end in sight to Japan’s male heavyweight drought

2 Oct 2018 13:00

 IJF media Department    Robert Danis
20070916_Rio_Muneta_Yasuyuki74

Japan last held the men’s heavyweight world crown in 2013. Their 15-year wait for a champion is their one weakness at the elite level. Muneta Yasuyuki was the last man to hold the title and did so at home in Osaka in 2003. Japan has won all 13 other titles since then and have had a stranglehold of many categories such as U73kg.

The heavyweight category has a special status in Japan with many of their most celebrated champions coming from this category such as IJF Hall of Famers Yamashita Yasuhiro and Saito Hitoshi.   

The All Japan Openweight Championships is the pride and joy of the Japanese competition scene and its iconic one mat setup in the Nippon Budokan.   

All the winners of this event in recent years have been awarded with the opportunity to compete at the highest level on the IJF World Judo Tour but all have fallen at the World Championships and Olympics.   

Baku 2018 was supposed to be different. With Teddy Riner absent from the heavyweight competition in Azerbaijan the onus was on Japan’s two heavyweight picks to prove their worth and go out and rule the category.  

Tokyo Grand Slam winner Ogawa Yusei was eliminated in round three while Olympic silver medallist Harasawa Hisayoshi was shocked by Ulziibayar Duurenbayar (MGL) in the quarter-finals. All Japan Openweight Championships gold medallist Harasawa came back to win bronze but did little to stake his claim for Tokyo 2020.  

Harasawa won world bronze

Japan has an alternative. It's a race against time but they have a young man with judo in his genes and who is blessed with the size, frame and agility that has seen him earmarked by high-ranking officials in Japan as their great heavyweight hope.    

Kokushikan University member Saito Tatsuru, 16, the son of the late Saito Hitoshi, double Olympic gold medallist and world champion, has been picked for the Junior World Championships later this month in the Bahamas.   

Tatsuru stands at 6ft 2in and weighs 155kg and has years of growth ahead of him. The golden rookie will be making his IJF debut after an introduction to the international stage in April when he won a Junior European Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia, with four ippons from four contests.   

The teenager will fight at the Kodokan Cup, a qualification event for the Osaka Grand Slam 2018, in early November and a strong performance there would secure a berth for the fifth and final Grand Slam of the season. 

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Hisayoshi Harasawa (JPN) - Grand Slam Paris (2015, FRA) - © Klaus Müller, Watch: https://km-pics.de/
  • Yasuhiro Yamashita (JPN) - Grand Prix Düsseldorf (2015, GER) - © Andre de Heus
  • Hitoshi Saito (JPN) - World U20 Championships Paris (2009, FRA) - © Andre de Heus

Related Judo News

20070916_Rio_Muneta

Report of the Asian Judo Championships 2000 in Osaka

28 May 2000 00:00

The 2000 Asian Judo Championships acted as the only source of qualification to the Olympic Games for Asian fighters not already qualified through last year's World Championships. Naturally some of the top Japanese, Korean and Chinese fighters were rested as they had finished in the top eight at the Worlds. Four Japanese fighters, however, had failed to qualify last year and a couple of Korean former World Champions did not even compete in Birmingham so there was plenty of talent on display. Read more

20180927_mixed_team_baku_gold_japan

Japan close the 2018 World Championships with more gold

27 Sep 2018 15:50

The World Mixed team title was captured by the team of Japan and they prolonged last year’s title from Budapest here in Baku. Witnessed by Russia Federation President Vladimir Putin Russia and a united team of North and South Korea took bronze. France lost the final to Japan by 4-1. Read more

20180926_jh_wch_baku_semifinals_101_tushishvili_ulziibayar

Guram Tushishvili can almost touch the gold medal

26 Sep 2018 10:10

Georgia get a second chance on a gold medal as in the heavyweight tournaments most of the favourites are ruled out for the title while Guram Tushishvili had to do everything to reach the semi final, but he achieved where others failed. Read more

20180920_baku_weight_jh_m101

Preview +100kg: Without Riner the heavyweight title is at stake

25 Sep 2018 22:30

Will Georgia then take a gold medal at the last day of the World Championships of the individual tournament? At least the Georgians have Guram Tushishvili as number one seed. But he is not the favourite, but he does have the trendy size and shape of the new generation heavyweights. Slim, fit, brave and hungry for the medals. Read more

20180225_dusseldorf_ijf_101_harasawa_hisayoshi_ojitani_takeshi_1

Hisayoshi Harasawa beats Takeshi Ojitani for Japanese title

29 Apr 2018 18:50

Hisayoshi Harasawa earned his second career national championship on Sunday, winning his final against two-time defending champion Takeshi Ojitani in extra time. Read more

Judo birthday

Result City Date
1Baku26 Sep
1Zagreb29 Jul
5Tel Aviv28 Apr
1Tbilisi1 Apr
5Paris11 Feb
Result City Date
2Baku26 Sep
7Zagreb29 Jul
1Saarbrucken15 Jul
3Sofia4 Feb
2Baku2017

Partners

First description Second description Third description Four description