Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A preview of the All-Japan Open Weight Competition

The All-Japan Weight Class competition might be the trials for the World Championships (and thus a very important competition) but the blue ribbon event in Japan is the All-Japan Open Weight competition.

It's a competition that's usually dominated by the really big boys although some smallish players have competed in it, most notably Koga, who actually made it to the final (but lost to Ogawa). Shohei Ono made a splash in the news for his intention to skip the Weight Class competition but taking part in the Open Weight competition.

Marshall Higa of the excellent Judofan blog has done a very detailed, inside baseball-type of entry about the upcoming Open Weight competition. Most international judo fans (your truly included) would only know the big names from Japan and would not be familiar with the domestic players who seldom compete internationally. He also included a very useful draw chart that lists all the competitors and he has helpfully translated the names of the more popular players. 

I'm really no expert on Japanese judo and am not that familiar with many of the names there. A name that caught my eye is Mashu Baker. It looks like he will have to beat Takeshi Ojitani if he wants to top his pool. That's a very tall order considering how big and strong Ojitani is. Ryu Shichinohe will not have it easy in his pool either but he is the most famous name there.

The prospect of seeing Shohei Ono fight Aaron Wolf is tantalizing. And if Ono somehow prevails, he could face Daiki Kamikawa. Can Ono do it? This is judo... anything's possible! Harasawa is the biggest name in his pool.

For me the dream final would be Ono vs Baker. Ok, that's a super long shot but wouldn't that be a great match up?

Ok so that's my very naive and superficial analysis based on the very little that I know of Japanese judo. For a more expert view, read Judofan's analysis.

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