Building on his victory in Tokyo last December and his rank as top seed, Matvey Kanikovskiy, with his voluntary style, wanted to once again demonstrate that he is one of the strong men in the category. A very high level competition like this grand prix is no walk in the park for anyone but it must be said that the style and attitude of this slender judoka work wonders. After perfectly mastered first rounds, he pounced on the young Japanese judoka, Kaito Green, in the semi-final, to offer himself a new final at a World Judo Tour event. Kanikovskiy should be watched closely because in the months to come, he will undoubtedly be talked about again.
Final, Matvey Kanikovskiy (AIN) vs Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (ESP)

Earlier in the day, we could have imagine a semi-final for Kanikovskiy against Aaron Fara (AUT), one of the regular leaders in the -100kg category. The latter was saved by the rules in the first round. After being thrown on his back with force, speed and control for ippon, it appeared that his opponent Adilet Sapargaliyev (KAZ) had clearly taken support on his head, which is totally prohibited; hansoku make for Sapargaliyev. Fara was not far from defeat though. In the next round he faced former world champion Asley Gonzales (ROU) and this time he could do nothing and quickly found himself flat on his back and this time for an indisputable ippon.

Final, Matvey Kanikovskiy (AIN) vs Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (ESP)

Once the question of the first semi-final was settled between Kanikovskiy and Green, it remained to be seen who would face Kanikovskiy. Gonchigsuren Batkhuyag (MGL) seemed one of the best placed, without counting on the reigning world champion, Arman Adamian (AIN) who began his tournament against Georgios Kroussaniotakis (CYP). This contest should have been a formality for Adamian but once again in our judo always full of surprises, he was countered onto his back by Kroussaniotakis for ippon. Before this thunderclap, the Cypriot had already eliminated the Japanese, Kotaro Ueoka; it was a sign. After Adamian, Kroussaniotakis won again to face Brazilian Rafael Buzacarini in the quarter-final. It was too much though and he lost and then bowed out again in the repechage. The day was nevertheless very positive for Georgios Kroussaniotakis, a judoka who never gives up.

The question of who to face therefore remained unresolved. Ultimately it was an old acquaintance, the double -90kg world champion Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (ESP) who emerged above the fray. This return is nice to see. After months of struggling to find the best possible level in this new weight category for him, Sherazadishvili seemed to find interesting benchmarks today.

In the final, Sherazadishvili under the pressure of Kanikovskiy, was quickly penalised with a first shido. Both men were then penalised adding clear extra pressure for Sherazadishvili. Taking the measure of his opponent, the Spaniard pushed him to get a second shido as well; two shido apiece. The contest was a chess game played by two excellent players. As the end of the contest approached, Kanikovskiy managed to get his arm under Sherazadishvili's defence for an aerial sumi-otoshi for waza-ari. Today's best judo chess player was Kanikovskiy.

The first match for a bronze medal was between Bojan Dosen (SRB) and Rafael Buzacarini (BRA). The two men already met once in the past and the victory went to the Brazilian judoka. With golden score approaching, both competitors were penalised twice. Everything would be decided during extra time and it was a shido that once again made the difference as Bojan Dosen made a false attack. The bronze medal was for Rafael Buzacarini.

Bronze medal contest, Gonchigsuren Batkhuyag (MGL) vs Kaito Green (JPN)

Gonchigsuren Batkhuyag (MGL) and Kaito Green (JPN) were featured in the second bronze medal contest. Green seemed to be a little underpowered compared to his opponent, who applied a perfect ko-soto-gari for ippon sending the bronze medal to Batkhuyag.

Medals, cheques and flowers were presented by Mr Mohammed Meridja, Education & Coaching Director of the International Judo Federation, and Mr Sergiu Pina, President of the Portuguese Judo Federation

Bronze Medal Fights (-100 kg)

See also