Majdov (SRB) and Van T’End (NED), former world champions in 2017 and 2019 respectively, both left early, one at the hands of Mathieu (FRA) who was in turn beaten by Bobonov and the other by Ustopiriyon (TJK) who was beaten by Fatiyev (AZE). Fatiyev then lost to Bekauri. In a filed as strong as this we saw world and Olympic medallists bowled it one after the other, not just at -90kg, but all over the draw. It has been an incredible tournament that even when following seedings produces shocks and awesome moments of genius from highly ranked underdogs.
The semi-finals were two completely different fights. The first between Maisuradze and Parlati was long and aggressive with both men digging deep inside themselves to find their last watts of power. Eventually the Georgian threw for his place in the final but it was far from easy and Parlati hung his head knowing how well he had prepared and fought for it.
The second semi-final, between Olympic champion Bekauri and world champion Bobonov was completely different. Bobonov had looked super-strong from the beginning of the day but Bekauri wasn’t willing to entertain him for even a second and threw him fast and decisively for ippon. It was unequivocal leaving the Uzbek camp in disbelief.
Bobonov dropped into a bronze medal contest against Sherov (KGZ), one of the surprises of the category. Everyone expected a walk to the medal for the Uzbek but judo is judo and we would have to wait for hajime to see. Sherov had a brilliant day really stepping up to the occasion but a medal contest against a world champion is no joke and was perhaps a step too far. The Kyrgyz fighter showed real class today and perhaps he has shown that his future in judo holds much more.
Bobonov simply couldn’t let his comeback after injury finish without a medal. He threw with a controlled change of timing and rhythm inside the last minute and a half to gain a waza-ari and then had to deal with a barrange of attacks and aggressive grips. The fight became even more exciting with each having a clear target, one to hold the score and one to equal it but the Uzbek did his job better and leaves Budapest with a medal around his neck.
The second bronze was awarded in to Alexis Mathieu of France as Christian Oarlati was unable to compete.
In the final, a repeat of the 2023 world final which went Maisuradze’s way, had the potential to be caught in slow motion, a stalemate, but actually they engaged fully from the outset with particularly positive gripping from the Olympic champion, Bekauri. However, the fight quickly slowed and became sorry totally different from their meeting in Doha. With 40 seconds to go the scoreboard was even with two penalties each. A little more action came in golden score, just enough for Bekauri to edge the lead with the third shido going to Maisuradze. Gold and silver leave Hungary Georgia-bound.