Motoki moves up to stun Ozaki; Otoguro, Fujinami, Fumita all prevail

By Ken Marantz

TOKYO (December 25) -- In a tournament that had its share of shocks, none was as stunning as the one pulled off in the finale by Sakura MOTOKI, who followed up her upset of the Olympic champion at women's 62kg by taking down the reigning world champion.

Motoki, moving up to the Olympic weight class from 59kg, handed world champion Nonoka OZAKI her first domestic loss in four years with a come-from-behind 4-2 victory in the final at the Emperor's Cup All-Japan Championships on Sunday at Tokyo.

"Since losing at the World Championships, I've thought for the last three months of winning here and I'm happy I was able to pull it off," said Motoki, who won a world bronze medal at 59kg in Belgrade in September a month after winning the world U20 gold.

The other featured finals went according to form, with Olympic champion Takuto OTOGURO and former world champions Akari FUJINAMI and Kenichiro FUMITA all emerging victorious on the last day of the four-day tournament that is also serving as the first domestic qualifier for next year's World Championships, to also be held in Belgrade.

Otoguro, appearing in his first competition since winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics at freestyle 65kg, finished up an unscored-upon run to his third national title and first since 2019 with a 4-0 victory over world U23 bronze medalist Ryoma ANRAKU.

Teen phenom Fujinami, returning from a spate of injuries that cause her to withdraw from both the senior and U20 worlds, captured her third straight title at women's 53kg with a 5-0 victory over a rejuvenated Haruna OKUNO that also extended her current winning streak to 106.

Okuno had pulled off one of the tournament's upsets by knocking off Olympic champion Mayu SHIDOCHI in the semifinals on Saturday.

Olympic silver medalist Fumita continued an unusual pattern of winning in even-numbered years, defeating Maito KAWANA in the Greco 60kg final to add to the titles he won in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

The victorious wrestlers moved halfway to securing spots on the world team to Belgrade, where, for those in the Olympic weight classes, the first qualifying berths for the 2024 Paris Olympics will be at stake.

The losers will get another chance at the second domestic qualifier, the Meiji Cup All-Japan Invitational Championships in June, where a victory will set up a playoff with the Emperor's Cup champions.

Sakura MOTOKI (JPN)Sakura MOTOKI became the first Japanese to beat Nonoka OZAKI in four years with a victory in the women's 62kg final. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

The Japan federation has sweetened the pot for making the team to the Belgrade worlds, as a medal there in an Olympic weight means an automatic ticket for that wrestler to Paris. For women, in particular, the sense of urgency for getting to Belgrade is high.

Motoki has her own incentive for getting to the Olympics. Since she started wrestling at age 3, the Ikuei University student has been aiming to follow in the footsteps of her father, Yasutoshi, who competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where he placed ninth at Greco 63kg.

"My father had a tough road leading up to the Olympics, with injuries and losses along the way," the 20-year-old Motoki said. "I expected to have the same hard road. So like my father, I will never give up until the end so I can get to the Olympics."

Such conviction was on full display against Ozaki when Motoki trailed 2-0 in the second period, having given up a pair of activity points. Motoki cut the lead with a stepout, then clinched the win with a duck-under takedown with :24 left.

Ozaki made a desperate attempt for the winning takedown when she tried to spin behind in the final seconds, but Motoki managed to hold on for the victory. An unsuccessful challenge added the final point.

"In the three months after the World Championships, I feel I've made progress technique-wise and mentally," Motoki said. "I wasn't confident of being the strongest at 62kg, but I was confident that I was stronger compared to where I was at the World Championships."

It was in Belgrade that Motoki suffered a disappointing loss that, upon reflection, indirectly laid the groundwork for her win over Ozaki.

In the semifinals, Motoki had taken the lead against Anastasia NICHITA (MDA), only to be reversed to her back late in the match and eventually lose 7-5. Motoki had tried desperately to score at the end, which she later realized was a losing strategy.

"In the last 30 seconds, I was haphazardly trying anything and I couldn't win, which I later regretted," Motoki said. "I practiced a lot looking at how much time was left and thinking about what to do, and I think that paid off today."

The victory came in the wake of her 9-2 victory in the semifinals over Olympic champion Yukako KAWAI, who later revealed she had not fully recovered from a back injury that had forced her to withdraw from a domestic tournament in October.

"Looking just at results, Kawai and Ozaki are above me," Motoki said. "I finished third at the World Championships in a non-Olympic weight class. They have the gold medals from the Olympics and World Championships that I am aiming for. I saw myself as the challenger."

The 19-year-old Ozaki was left in tears, having come into the tournament on an amazing roll that included a win over Kawai at the Meiji Cup last May. In a three-month span this fall, she picked up in succession the world U20, senior and U23 golds.

"I always try to be aggressive in my wrestling, and when I try to think about what was lacking today, I don't know," said Ozaki, whose last loss to a fellow Japanese was in the semifinals of the inter-high school championships in August 2018 to Yuzuka INAGAKI.

Looking ahead to the Meiji Cup, Ozaki said, "There is nothing beyond that. I have to change gears and make next year mine."

Takuto OTOGURO (JPN)Takuto OTOGURO works to score a takedown against Ryoma ANRAKU in the freestyle 65kg final. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Otoguro, the 2018 world champion, showed no rust from the 14 months he had been away from competition, as he wrestled a solid match against a formidable opponent in Anraku.

After gaining an activity point, Otoguro showed one of his best traits of quickly transitioning to score a takedown off a single-leg attack that Anraku fiercely resisted. In a tense second period with few attacks, Otoguro added a stepout at the buzzer.

"Today and yesterday, I had three matches in my first tournament in a while," Otoguro said. "As it went on, it got more enjoyable. I was able to beat strong opponents, so I think it was a good performance."

Otoguro said that he considered his time away from the mat as a positive. "There were no real drawbacks," he said. "Instead, I was able to focus on this tournament. There were only good aspects."

In Otoguro's absence, a new young champion has emerged in Rahman AMOUZAD (IRI). Otoguro said he did not watch this year's World Championships, but is aware of the Iranian. As for a possible meeting at this year's Asian Championships, Otoguro, who won back-to-back Asian titles in 2020 and 2021, would not commit.

"I'll talk it over with my coach," he said. "If I have the chance, I want to get started on having international matches."

Akari FUJINAMI (JPN)Akari FUJINAMI shoots for a takedown in the women's 53kg final against Haruna OKUNO. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Fujinami's absence from the competition was not her choice, as a foot injury kept her from defending her senior world title in Belgrade and a knee injury forced her out of the world U20.

That meant she had not had a match since the national collegiate championships in August, where she won the 55kg title.

"Even though I was confident," Fujinami said. "I had had a series of injuries and there was a time I couldn't compete, so there was also uncertainty as well as pressure. I'm glad I could still come out with the win."

In the final, Fujinami used her low single attack to score takedowns in both periods and fend off all attacks to defeat Okuno for the fourth time in four career meetings, most recently a 4-0 win in the Meiji Cup final.

"I expected her to come up with a strategy, but I'm confident of my training and I put it all out on the mat," Fujinami said.

Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN)Kenichi FUMITA positions himself for a throw in the Greco 60kg final against Maito KAWANA. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

For Fumita, winning the Greco 60kg gold for his fourth career title and first since 2020 helped restore the good name of the Nippon Sports Science University (NSSU) alumni in Greco, which was dealt a number of setbacks earlier in the tournament.

Olympic bronze medalist Shohei YABIKU lost in the third-place match at 77kg, while Katsuaki ENDO failed to defend his title at 67kg with a loss in the final.

"Overall, it hadn't been a good tournament for the alumni from Nittaidai, for Shohei and Katsuaki," Fumita said, using the familiar term for NSSU. "In Greco, we have wrestled poorly."

Fumita, the 2017 and 2019 world champion who had to settle for a bronze this year, scored three points in each period for a 6-0 victory over Maito KAWANA to restore NSSU to good standing. He had a gut wrench from par terre in the first period and a takedown and stepout in the second.

It was far better than his opening match when he got thrown for 4 in a 7-4 victory over Kaito INABA, a current student at NSSU.

"In my first match yesterday, the bad side of me came out," Fumita said. "After that, I thought I had to turn it around and stop the bad flow so I aimed to get a good result. And I won and took a step closer to Paris."

ShotaTANOKURA (JPN)In-laws Shota TANOKURA and Mayu SHIDOCHI indicate the place each took in the tournament. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Tanokura takes bronze in return pushed by in-law

One of the more interesting stories of the tournament culminated with former Asian champion Shota TANOKURA taking third place at Greco 55kg in his return from a four-year absence.

The 32-year-old Tanokura, currently the coach at Tokyo's Jiyugaoka Gakuen High School, was urged to give it another whirl by a family member, who just happens to be Shidochi. Tanokura's wife is the younger sister of Shidochi's husband and coach, Shota SHIDOCHI -- a classmate of Tanokura's at NSSU.

"'Let's go to [the] Paris [Olympics] together,'" Tanokura said was the line that Mayu used to pester him into returning to competition. "'Do it one more time.'"

Tanokura agreed, not so much over his own desire to make the Olympics but to assuage Mayu. "I wasn't thinking of Paris, but Mayu wanted to us to go together," he said. "If I went, she said it would give her mental strength."

He qualified for the Emperor's Cup by winning the title at the All-Japan Non-Student Championships in October. That was his first competition since placing eighth at 55kg at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest.

Tanokura won the Asian gold earlier that year in Bishkek, beating local favorite Zholoman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) in the final. He also came away with the gold in his most recent Emperor's Cup appearance in 2017, adding to the titles he won in 2012 and 2013.

In Sunday's bronze-medal match, Tanokura showed some of his old magic with a majestic five-point throw in a 7-4 victory over collegian Yuto GOMI.

"I'm really happy," Tanokura said of coming away with a bronze, which qualifies him for the Meiji Cup. He is still undecided whether he will enter that tournament. "If I enter, I'll give it my all. Right now I'm torn. If my family pushes it, I might do it."

In the quarterfinals, Tanokura executed a nifty duck-under-and-lift that sent Kawana sailing head over heels and onto his back for 4 points, but he still came out on the short end of a 7-4 decision.

"That's the level I am at now," Tanokura said. "I didn't practice and you can't take matches lightly."

Tanokura's lone regret was that he didn't get to face either Fumita or Yu SHIOTANI, his former team member at Jiyugaoka Gakuen and a world 55kg bronze medalist, who had moved up to the Olympic weight class but lost to Gomi in his opening match.

Mayu SHIDOCHI (JPN)Mayu SHIDOCHI records a fall over Yumi SHIMONO in a women's 53kg bronze-medal match. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

As it turned out, bronze became the family color of the day as Shidochi bounced back from her stunning loss to Okuno to finish third at women's 53kg with a victory by fall over collegiate champion Yumi SHIMONO.

"Finishing up with a win is good leading up to the Meiji Cup," Shidochi said. "I'm glad I was able to turn it around. In the past, I wasn't able to do that."

Shidochi led 2-0 after receiving activity points in both the first and second periods, then fought off a Shimono takedown attempt that would have put her behind. When Shimono shot again, Shidochi straightened her up and pancaked her to her back, notching the fall at 4:59.

"The new generation of wrestlers are getting stronger," the 25-year-old Shidochi said. "They are providing the motivation for me to train hard to beat them. The Tokyo Olympics are in the past."

Shidochi knows that to have any chance of defending her Olympic gold, she will first have to face and defeat Fujinami.

"She's a really strong athlete, with a long reach and good speed," Shidochi said. "She's at the top of the world. To get to Paris, I have to beat her. Even for Fujinami, the 53kg class is deep."

Day 4 Results


61kg (14 entries)
Gold - Kodai OGAWA df. Hayato FUJITA, 7-0

Bronze - Kaito MORITA df. Kazuya KOYANAGI by TF, 11-0, 2:21
Bronze - Taichi YAMAGUCHI df. Kosei KANEKO, 10-8

Semifinal - Kodai OGAWA df. Kazuya KOYANAGI, 10-4
Semifinal - Hayato FUJITA df. Kosei KANEKO by TF, 14-4, 4:25

65kg (14 entries)
Gold - Takuto OTOGURO df. Ryoma ANRAKU, 4-0

Bronze - Kaiji OGINO df. Kenho UTO by TF, 11-0, 6:00
Bronze - Kotaro KIYOOKA df. Yujiro UENO, 14-6


60kg (11 entries)
Gold - Kenichiro FUMITA df. Maito KAWANA, 6-0

Bronze - Kaito INABA df. Kosei TAKESHITA by TF, 11-1, 4:22
Bronze - Shota TANOKURA df. Yuto GOMI, 7-4

72kg (11 entries)
Gold - Taishi HORIE df. Shoki NAKADA by TF, 9-0, 3:32

Bronze - Daigo KOBAYASHI df. Seiya TERADA by Fall, 4:03 (7-3)
Bronze - Tetsuto KANUKA df. Yuga KASUGAI, 9-5

Semifinal - Taishi HORIE df. Daigo KOBAYASHI, 3-1
Semifinal - Shoki NAKADA df. Tetsuto KANUKA, 7-1


53kg (9 entries)
Gold - Akari FUJINAMI df. Haruna OKUNO, 5-0

Bronze - Mako ONO df. Nagisa HARADA, 6-0
Bronze - Mayu SHIDOCHI df. Yumi SHIMONO by Fall, 4:59 (6-0)

62kg (11 entries)
Gold - Sakura MOTOKI df. Nonoka OZAKI, 4-2

Bronze - Naomi RUIKE df. Nayu UCHIDA by Fall, 5:58 (10-0)
Bronze - Kiwa IWASAWA df. Yukako KAWAI by Def.


Higuchi, Susaki reign supreme as two Olympic champs tumble

By Ken Marantz

TOKYO (December 24) -- On a day that saw two of her fellow Tokyo Olympic champions tumble to defeat, Yui SUSAKI remained as rock steady as always, while Rei HIGUCHI gave his ambitions for an elusive Olympic gold a further boost.

Susaki continued her dominance of Remina YOSHIMOTO, who held the national and world titles in her absence, cruising to an 8-0 victory in the women's 50kg final at the Emperor's Cup All-Japan Championships on Saturday in Tokyo for her first title since 2019.

Higuchi, coming off winning his first world title at freestyle 61kg, defeated Asian bronze medalist Rikuto ARAI 8-4 to regain the national title at 57kg, the weight class in which he won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics that he is looking to better in Paris in two years.

Meanwhile, a highly anticipated clash between Olympic champion Mayu SHIDOCHI and 2021 world champion Akari FUJINAMI at women's 53kg was put on hold after world 55kg champion Haruna OKUNO crashed the party by beating Shidochi for the first time in 10 career meetings.

Yukako KAWAI became the second Olympic casualty when the gold medalist at women's 62kg was overwhelmed in the semifinals by world 59kg bronze medalist Sakura MOTOKI, who earned a meeting in the final with reigning world champion Nonoka OZAKI.

Takuto OTOGURO, ending a long hiatus with his first competition since winning the Olympic gold at freestyle 65kg, avoided the upset bug by storming into the final with a pair of 10-0 technical falls. Like Susaki and Higuchi, his last national title came in 2019.

For the top wrestlers, the tournament at Tokyo's Komazawa Gym is serving as the first of two domestic qualifying tournaments for next year's World Championships in Belgrade, where the first spots in the 2024 Paris Olympics will be up for grabs.

A medal in an Olympic weight won by a Japanese in Belgrade means an automatic ticket to Paris, thus adding urgency to making the team. Those who lose at the Emperor's Cup will get another shot in June at the Meiji Cup All-Japan Invitational Championships.

Yui SUSAKI (JPN)Yui SUSAKI scores with a counter lift in the women's 50kg final against Remina YOSHIMOTO. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Susaki, whose close call with nearly missing out on the Tokyo Olympics has been well documented, is determined to be in Paris to defend her title and is leaving nothing to chance. As she has done throughout this history-making year, on Saturday she wrestled calmly and decisively, taking advantage of every opportunity and not giving her opponent any openings.

"This is the first step in the qualifying process for the Paris Olympics, and I was able to achieve what I set out to do," Susaki said.

Unlike her typical matches in which she gets a takedown and then rips off four straight lace-lock rolls for a quick victory, Susaki scored all of her points in different ways against Yoshimoto, who had ascended to the national throne in 2020 and 2021 that Susaki had abdicated.

Susaki started with a takedown off a single-leg for a 2-0 lead, then added four points with a counter lift and a gut wrench to go into the break up 6-0. In the second period, Susaki forced a stalemate from a Yoshimoto shot, then spun behind after countering another in the final seconds for her final takedown. She had now beaten Yoshimoto in all five of their career matches.

Yui SUSAKI (JPN)Yui SUSAKI celebrates her victory in the women's 50kg final. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

It was a much cleaner and well-executed victory than her 4-2 win over Yoshimoto in the final of the Meiji Cup last June, which remains the only time Susaki has been scored upon in her last 23 matches dating back to early 2021.

"At the Meiji Cup, I watched for the opponent to make a move and didn't stay on the attack to the end, which I regretted," Susaki said. "This time, I kept attacking, so I feel I've cleared that issue."

Susaki, who this year regained the world title she had previously won in 2017 and 2018 in September in Belgrade, also picked up the only major title missing from her collection a month later by capturing the world U23 gold. That completed an unprecedented "Grand Slam" of Olympic gold and all four age-group titles.

Asked about the pressure of Olympic qualifying, she replied, "I don't feel tension. Like before the Tokyo Olympics, I feel more excited that the qualifying for the Olympics has started."

Susaki said she watched the other Olympic champions fall on a monitor in the warmup room, and that it makes her more determined to maintain her focus on the journey ahead.

"The younger wrestlers and others all have their own goals and have been making progress in trying to achieve them," Susaki said. "It makes me feel I have to keep trying even harder and aim higher."

Rei HIGUCHI (JPN)Rei HIGUCHI won his first world title in September in Belgrade at 61kg. (Photo: UWW/Kadir Caliskan)

Higuchi's victory in the 57kg final, which gave him his fourth career title, was noteworthy in that his opponent spent about half of the match on his back, a credit perhaps to him that he could avoid the fall. The two often practice together at Nippon Sport Science University, where they are both alumni.

Early in the match, Higuchi caught Arai in a cradle to his back, then switched it to a Turk ride with a cross-face. For more than two minutes, Arai managed to keep a shoulder off the mat until he was saved by the buzzer ending the period.

Higuchi added a takedown off a counter to go up 6-0. But Arai, who had knocked off 2021 world 61kg bronze medalist Toshihiro HASEGAWA in the quarterfinals, came back to life with a counter lift and gut wrench to cut the lead to two.

Higuchi then put the match away with a single-leg attack to exposure, from which he again went to the Turk ride and cross-face and held Arai on his back for the final 1:10 of the match.

"This is the first of the tournaments that I have to win out at, but I went in with the feeling of being the challenger and stayed relaxed and stayed aggressive," Higuchi said. "In the final, after I gave up points I immediately came back and scored myself. I give myself a passing grade for the effort."

For Higuchi, the effort involves a battle with the scale. He famously failed to make weight for the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament, which indirectly led to him missing out on the Tokyo Games.

When it comes to strength and skill, he said he feels he showed he could more than hold his own by winning the world title in the heavier weight class.

"Losing weight is tough," he said. "I was able to win the world title at 61kg. I showed I had the power and technique to be No. 1 in the world. I think I brought that to 57kg."

In other finals, 2021 world bronze medalist Sae NANJO followed up her semifinal victory over world champion Tsugumi SAKURAI by regaining the women's 57kg title with a victory over Asian 59kg champion Sara NATAMI.

Leading 1-0 in the second period, Nanjo countered a single-leg shot by Natami by slapping a cradle on her, then twisted her onto her back for a fall in 4:01. The victory gave Nanjo her fourth career title and first since 2020.

Kyotaro SOGABE (JPN)Kyotaro SOGABE celebrates his victory in the Greco 67kg final over Katsuaki ENDO.  (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Collegian Kyotaro SOGABE finally reached the pinnacle that has been expected of him since his days as a high school star, beating defending champion and senior training partner Katsuaki ENDO 9-3 for the gold in Greco 67kg.

Sogabe led 3-1 when he came up on top in a late second-period scramble, then added a pair of gut wrenches to avenge a loss in the Meiji Cup final last June to Endo, an Asian bronze medalist this year and 2018 world U23 champion.

A junior at Endo's alma mater of Nippon Sports Science University, Sogabe finished second at this year's Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup in Warsaw, which he followed with a world U20 bronze medal.

Not bad for a wrestler who won three national high school titles despite the fact that his high school in rural Ehime Prefecture did not have a team, forcing him to practice at another school.

Takuto OTOGURO (JPN)Takuto OTOGURO puts the pressure on Kaiji OGINO during their semifinal match at freestyle 65kg. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Otoguro, Fujinami cruise

Following the Tokyo Olympics, Japan's medalists all took some time off before gradually returning to the mat. Otoguro was the last one to end his hiatus, and his performance Saturday made it look like he had never been away.

And technically speaking, he wasn't. He may not have been competing, but he was still practicing hard as a member of the Self-Defense Forces Physical Training School team.

"In the past, I've gone a year or two without a competitive match, and then suddenly came back," said Otoguro, who has endured his share of injuries. "Because of that experience, it wasn't like there was anything different than usual this time. Instead of matches, I'm practicing every day. So I've got a solid foundation."

In the semifinals, Otoguro easily defeated Kaiji OGINO -- a student at Otoguro's alma mater of Yamanashi Gakuin University -- by 10-0 technical fall in 1:49 to advance to the final against world U23 bronze medalist Ryoma ANRAKU.

Fujinami is also returning from a layoff, although hers was unforced as injuries forced her to skip both the senior worlds and the world U23. She said she has completely recovered, and showed it with back-to-back technical falls to advance to the women's 53kg final against Okuno.

"It was my first match in four months, and I feel I've got my mat sense back leading into tomorrow," said Fujinami, whose victories extended her current winning streak to 105 matches that includes those in the run to the 2021 senior world title.

The 19-year-old Fujinami has beaten Okuno in all three of their previous encounters, most recently a 4-0 victory in the final at last June's Meiji Cup.

Haruna OKUNO (JPN)Haruna OKUNO, left, notched her first victory over Mayu SHIDOCHI in 10 career meetings to advance to the women's 53kg final. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

But Okuno, a two-time senior world champion who added a third world U23 gold this year, showed she might be a different wrestler than before with her stunning win over Shidochi.

In a match that saw only a few shots, all defended well by both wrestlers, Okuno defeated Shidochi 3-1 with all but one point scored on the activity clock. Okuno was on the receiving end of two of them, then clinched the match when Shidochi stepped out while having Okuno in a front headlock with :32 left.

Neither wrestler made themselves available to the media after the match.

Sakura MOTOKI (JPN)Sakura MOTOKI gains control of Yukako KAWAI during their women's 62kg semifinal match. (Photo: Takeo Yabuki/Japan Wrestling Federation)

Kawai also wouldn't offer any comments on her one-sided loss to Motoki, who stormed to a 9-2 victory in which all of the points were scored in the first period.

Motoki opened with a pair of takedowns, then added two two-point exposures from a chicken wing hold. Kawai had a chance to snatch a victory when she put Motoki on her back during a scramble, but Motoki squirmed free and scored a reversal.

When the final buzzer sounded, Kawai dropped to her knees, having apparently suffered a left leg injury sometime during the bout. She had to be helped off the mat.

The victory earns Motoki a clash with one of Japan's hottest wrestlers, Nonoka OZAKI, who has put together a string of titles this year that include the world U20, senior and U23 titles in succession over a three-month span. She also beat Kawai in the Meiji Cup final in June.

The 19-year-old Ozaki's lone loss dating back to August 2017 came in the second round of the 2021 World Championships to eventual champion Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ), a defeat she has since avenged. She advanced to the final on Sunday with a pair of technical falls.

"This is one tournament related to qualifying for the Paris Olympics, so I prepared myself more than I had ever done before and am confident of winning the title," Ozaki said. "My spirit is in sync with my body and I'm moving very well."

As for the unexpected change in her final opponent, she said, "I never concern myself with who the opponent is, only that I do what I need to do. I'm always nervous in a match and have various emotions, but this tournament I'm really enjoying myself, so I have good vibes going."

At Greco 60kg, Olympic silver medalist Kenichiro FUMITA advanced to the final with a 9-0 technical fall over Kosei TAKESHITA as he aims for his fourth career title and first in two years.

He will face Maito KAWANA, who defeated defending champion Ayata SUZUKI in the quarterfinals.

Day 3 Results


57kg (11 entries)
Gold - Rei HIGUCHI df. Rikuto ARAI, 8-4

Bronze - Ryuto SAKAKI df. Toshihiro HASEGAWA, 4-1
Bronze - Yuto NISHIUCHI df. Yuki TAKAHASHI by Def.

65kg (14 entries)
Semifinal - Takuto OTOGURO df. Kaiji OGINO by TF, 10-0, 1:29
Semifinal - Ryoma ANRAKU df. Yujiro UENO, 8-1

70kg (14 entries)
Gold - Yoshinosuke AOYAGI df. Daiju SUZUKI, 8-1

Bronze - Toki OGAWA df. Keitaro ONO, 10-4
Bronze - Taishin YAMAJI df. Ryota UCHIYAMA by Fall, 1:55 (5-0)

Semifinal - Yoshinosuke AOYAGI df. Toki OGAWA, 3-0
Semifinal - Daiju SUZUKI df. Ryota UCHIYAMA, 5-3

79kg (14 entries)
Gold - Yajuro YAMAZAKI df. Kosuke YAMAKURA, 6-0

Bronze - Takahiro MURAYAMA df. Kohei KITAMURA by TF, 10-0, :51
Bronze - Kota ABE df. Kenshin YAMAJI by Def.

Semifinal - Yajuro YAMAZAKI df. Takahiro MURAYAMA, 4-0
Semifinal - Kosuke YAMAKURA df. Kenshin YAMAJI by TF, 12-0, 1:19

86kg (14 entries)
Gold - Hayato ISHIGURO df. Yudai TAKAHASHI, 4-2

Bronze - Taisei MATSUYUKI df. Shota SHIRAI by Def.
Bronze - Fumiya IGARASHI df. Ryuki YOSHIDA by Def.


60kg (11 entries)
Semifinal - Kenichiro FUMITA df. Kosei TAKESHITA by TF, 9-0, 1:59
Semifinal - Maito KAWANA df. Yuto GOMI, 7-0

67kg (13 entries)
Gold - Kyotaro SOGABE df. Katsuaki ENDO, 9-3

Bronze - Haruto YABE df. Yuji UEGAKI, 3-1
Bronze - Eito NISHIDA df. Shigeki TSUTSUMI, 5-2

77kg (13 entries)
Gold - Kodai SAKURABA df. Nao KUSAKA by TF, 10-1, 5:43

Bronze - Tatsuya FUJII df. Shohei YABIKU, 3-3
Bronze - Minto MAEDA df. Naoki KADODE by TF, 9-0, 1:56

82kg (12 entries)
Gold - Yuya MAEDA df. Masao TANAKA, 7-5

Bronze - Daizo TANIZAKI df. Muuto SAWADA by TF, 8-0, 4:10
Bronze - Desshin HIGUCHI df. Kiriru SHIMABUKURO, 9-5

Semifinal - Masao TANAKA df. Muuto SAWADA, 9-4
Semifinal - Yuya MAEDA df. Kiriru SHIMABUKURO by TF, 9-0, 3:33


50kg (16 entries)
Gold - Yui SUSAKI df. Remina YOSHIMOTO, 8-0

Bronze - Umi ITO df. Nanami IRIE by TF, 10-0, :48
Bronze - Hanano SAKURAI df. Haruna MORIKAWA by TF, 10-0, 2:21

53kg (9 entries)
Semifinal - Akari FUJINAMI df. Mako ONO by TF, 10-0, :28
Semifinal - Haruna OKUNO df. Mayu SHIDOCHI, 3-1

57kg (10 entries)
Gold - Sae NANJO df. Sara NATAMI by Fall, 4:01 (5-0)

Bronze - Tsugumi SAKURAI df. Ibuki TAMURA by Def.
Bronze - Yumeka TANABE df. Umi IMAI, 6-4

62kg (11 entries)
Semifinal - Nonoka OZAKI df. Nayu UCHIDA by TF, 10-0, 3:57
Semifinal - Sakura MOTOKI df. Yukako KAWAI, 9-2