Takamasa Anai won his first career title at the national championship Wednesday, disposing of Athens Olympic champion Keiji Suzuki on the way to victory at the open-weight category meet.
Suzuki, appearing in his first competition since losing in the first round at 100 kilograms at the Beijing Olympics last summer, was sent to a shock defeat at the hands of the 24-year-old Anai in the quarterfinals.
Anai deployed a “seoinage” throwing technique against Suzuki after just 27 seconds of the match at Nippon Budokan in a meet which also doubled as the final qualifier in the men’s over-100 kilogram category for the world championships in Rotterdam this August.
“I trained harder than anyone else, so I had confidence I could win,” said Anai, who will compete in the 100-kg bracket in Rotterdam this summer. “I am just at the starting point and I want to keep the feeling of a challenger and show everyone that I am strong.”
Anai rallied late in the final against Yasuyuki Muneta to win by a unanimous decision.
Muneta, who advanced to the final for the first time in seven years, was selected for the over 100-kg spot for the worlds.
Beijing Olympic champion Masato Uchishiba, who won two consecutive Olympic titles at 66 kg, crashed out in his first match after a bye into the second round. Up-and-coming 19-year-old Daiki Kamikawa made a third-round exit.
Suzuki, who recently said he is eager to return to the international stage after once considering retirement, was seeking his fourth career title and first in two years.
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