Theodoros Tselidis (GRE) surprised one and all at the Humo Arena in Tashkent, emerging as the winner in the men’s -9o kg final, defeating Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL). Before we get to that final, there are more moments to thin about.
Final, Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL) vs Theodoros Tselidis (GRE)

It was a cake walk for top seed Davlat Bobonov (UZB) in his first fight. Against Anarbek Ishenbaev (KGZ), the world number five executed an uchi-mata to earn a waza-ari first. Soon after, a yoko-shiho-gatame followed that sealed the win. A young Marcelo Gomes (BRA) bowed out against the local hero next, thanks to a waza-ari. In the quarter-final, Robert Florentino (DOM) troubled Bobonov initially but eventually went down via ippon.

Final, Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL) vs Theodoros Tselidis (GRE)

Second seed Erlan Sherov’s (KGZ) seoi-otoshi came out of nowhere for Gergely Nerpel (HUN), and was enough for a waza-ari win. However, Alex Cret (ROU) stunned him with a golden score waza-ari of his own. The Romanian however could not keep up that momentum, falling to Tselidis. He bettered that performance by knocking out sixth seed Mikhail Igolnikov (AIN) via waza-ari in the semi-final. Igolnikov had a tough draw in pool D and although he defeated third seed Ivan Felipe Silva Morales (CUB) in the quarter-final by waza-ari, the loss against Tselidis left him frustrated. He still had the chance to win a bronze medal though.

Final, Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL) and Theodoros Tselidis (GRE)

In pool B, fifth seed Ivanov got rid of Aidar Arapov (KAZ) with a superb tate-shiho-gatame in golden score. The Bulgarian, who won bronze in Baku, was not afraid to go deep into golden score and did the same against Ikhvan Edilsultanov (AIN), beating him with an osae-komi too. Fourth seed Christian Parlati (ITA) also succumbed to the pressure from Ivanov in the quarter-final but his biggest scalp of the day came from local favourite and 2022 world champion Bobonov in the sem-final.

Meanwhile, Parlati did enough to register an ippon against Florentino in the repechage to set up a bronze medal contest against Igolnikov. The second fixture would see Bobanov battle it out with Morales, who got the better of Cret by ippon in the repechage.

Bronze medal contest, Ivan Felipe Silva Morales (CUB) vs Davlat Bobonov (UZB)

Parlati’s encounter with Igolnikov (AIN) was over sooner than expected. A review was undertaken following an attack by the individual neutral athlete. The replay showed a serious infringement. A special mention has to be given for the Italian, who was fast to console his opponent.

In the other bronze medal match, Bobonov rose like a phoenix from ashes, clearly upset about not making it to the final. Unfortunately for Morales, it was a tough pill to swallow. The Uzbek star finished how he had started his day, coming up with an impressive uchi-mata for ippon.

Bronze medallist, Christian Parlati (ITA)

It was Tselidis who started on the offensive in the final, scoring an early waza-ari against Ivanov. Ivanov then almost got the win when a kata-guruma attempt was overturned after a review. The momentum then shifted towards the Greek judoka, who won by two waza-ari scores.

Medals, cheques and flowers were presented by Mr Oybek Kasimov, General Secretary of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Mr Ilias Iliadis, head coach of the Uzbekistan national team, Olympic champion and triple world champion
See also