By William May
BELGRADE, Serbia (September 09-13) – National team newcomer Yu SHIOTANI and storied veteran Kenichiro FUMITA both won bronze medals for Japan in the early days of the Greco-Roman competition as the UWW Senior World Wrestling Championships got under way in the Serbian capital.
Shiotani snared his first world-level medal on the opening day of the competition with a pair of wins before falling by technical superiority, 0-9, to 2018 world champion Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) in the quarterfinals.
The plucky Takushoku University student, however, came back with a pair of wins on the second day, defeating Giovanni FRENI (ITA) by technical fall, 9-0, in a consolation round bout, and then stopping three-time Pan American champion Max NOWRY (USA), 7-0, for the bronze.
Shiotani’s world championship medal capped a banner year for the collegian that included an Asian championship title in April, a triumph at the Pytlasinski International in July along with another Asian crown in April 2021.
Shiotani was born on October 27, 2001 which would make him 20 years, 10 months, and 15 days old on September 11 – and the third youngest world medalist in Japanese Greco-Roman history.
Meanwhile, at 60kg, Tokyo 2020/2021 silver medalist and three-time world champion Fumita returned to competition in Belgrade where he rolled up a pair of wins before surrendering a 5-5 loss on criteria to Edmond Armen NAZARYAN (BUL).
Again, Fumita rebounded on his second day of competition with a 5-1 win in the bronze medal bout against European and world multi-medalist Murad MAMMADOV (AZE). The triumph gave Fumita his fourth straight medal-winning performance at a world-level event.
Among the other members of the Japanese Greco-Roman squad, Yuya OKAJIMA at 82kg placed highest at No.10.
Meanwhile, Tokyo 2020/2021 bronze medalist Shohei YABIKU won his second-round bout in a 4-3 squeaker over his Danish opponent, but fell to Rui LIU (CHN), 5-6, in the next round. Liu failed to advance to the championship final, removing any chance of Yabiku winning a medal this year.
In the final team rankings, Japan finished in 14th place with 32 points. Although the ranking slipped seven places from the year before, Japan has earned at least one medal since 2019 – making this the third straight year for Japan to take home some championship hardware.
55kg – SHIOTANI, Yu (Takushoku University) Bronze medalist, 18 entries
Round 1 – defeated Jiahao LIU (CHN) by Technical Fall, 8-0, 1:53
R2 – df. Koriun SAHRADIAN (UKR) by TF, 9-0, 3:17
R3 – lost to Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) by TF, 0-9, 3:47)
Consolation round – df. Giovanni FRENI (ITA) by TF, 9-0, 0:55
Bronze medal bout – df. Max NOWRY (USA), 7-0
60kg – FUMITA, Ken’ichiro (Miki House)Bronze, 29 entries
R1 – Bye
R2 – df. Etienne KINSINGER (GER), 9-5
R3 – df. Kerem KAMAL (TUR), 6-3
SF – lost to Edmond Armen NAZARYAN (BUL), 5-5B
Bronze – df. Murad MAMMADOV (AZE), 5-1
63kg – IKEDA, Ryuto (Nittai Club)20 th, 30 entries
R1 – lost to Hrachya POGHOSYAN (ARM), 2-5
67kg – ENDO, Katsuaki (Towa Engineering) 16 th, 30 entries
R1 – df. Donior ISLAMOV (MDA), 5-1
R2 – lost to Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) by TF, 0-9, 5:14
72kg – HORIE, Taishi (Japan Self Defense Forces) 20 th, 25 entries
R1 – lost to Ibragim MAGOMADOV (KAZ), 3-7
77kg – YABIKU, Shohei (ALSOK) 13 th, 33 entries
R1 – bye
R2 – df. Oliver KRUEGER (DEN), 4-3
R3 – lost to Rui LIU (CHN), 5-6
82kg – OKAJIMA, Yuya (Keishicho) 10 th, 25 entries
R1 – df. Sultan Ali Mohd Damen EID (JOR), 7-3
R2 – lost to Rafig HUSEYNOV (AZE), 1-7
87kg – SUMI, Masato (JSDF)20 th, 30 entries
R1 – lost to Alex KESSIDIS (SWE) by TF, 2-12, 4:06
97kg – TSURUDA, Takahiro (JSDF) 27 th, 29 entries
R1 – lost to Giorgi MELIA (GEO) by injury default, 1-7, 5:12
130kg – SONODA, Arata (ALSOK) 25 th, 25 entries
R1 – lost to Eduard SOGHOMONYAN (BRA) by Fall, 3:23 (0-9)