An Baul is a diesel machine. It takes him a little time to find his bearings and lay down his judo which then becomes explosive. That's why sometimes it doesn't seem like he dominates the category outrageously. And yet he was a bronze medallist at Tokyo 2020, was a finalist in Rio in 2016, three times a world medallist, including one gold, twice a winner of the World Judo Masters, he is an exceptional champion.
Final: AN Baul (KOR) vs TILOVOV Mukhriddin (UZB)

As of this morning, An Baul followed his plan. Match after match, he seemed to gain confidence, to offer himself a new final on the international circuit. This regularity is exemplary at this level of competition and even before knowing the result of his final against Mukhriddin Tilovov (UZB), we could already give him a big thumbs up.

Gold medallist: TILOVOV Mukhriddin (UZB)

We witnessed a very tactical match between the two finalists. On one side, the frontrunner An Baul, who wanted to use his strong left arm to launch his seoi-nage techniques, and on the other side, Mukhriddin Tilovov, who made An Baul's life difficult, by blocking his arm systematically but also positively. In golden score the Korean champion had two shido to his name, while Tilovov had only one. It was actually impressive to see how the Uzbek competitor kept putting pressure on An's left arm, to push him to the third penalty. It takes a lot of energy to produce such a tactical match, but Tilovov did it and this gold medal is worth many.

Bronze medal contest: IZVOREANU Radu (MDA) vs RAHIMOV Serdar (TKM)

The first match for bronze saw Serdar Rahimov (TKM) and Radu Izvoreanu (MDA) face off. After a mistake, Radu Izvoreanu got scored against with a waza-ari but there was still more than a minute on the clock, which could be an eternity and it was, for Serdar Rahimov, who during the following sequence on the floor was pinned down. It was a bronze medal, the first of this kind at this level, for Radu Izvoreanu.

AN Jaehong (KOR) vs BOUBA Daikii (FRA)

In the second match for a bronze medal, Jaehong An (KOR) and Daikii Bouba (BRA) were opposed. The Frenchman scored the first waza-ari with an opportunist counterattack and caught An again a few seconds later for a second waza-ari. A little bit out of the blue, Bouba was a finalist at the World Judo Masters in Jerusalem in December. Today he confirmed that it was not an accident but rather the beginning of a series of medals at the international level.

Medals and prize money were presented by Mr Armen BAGDASAROV, Head Referee Director of the International Judo Federation and Mr Carlos ANDRADE, President of the General Assembly of the Portuguese Judo Federation

Final (-66 kg)

Bronze Medal Fights (-66 kg)

More images of the Grand Prix Portugal 2023 - CLICK HERE

See also