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Takuto Otoguro advances to final at worlds

Kyodo

Takuto Otoguro advanced to the World Wrestling Championships finals on Sunday, setting up the chance to become Japan’s youngest male world champion.

Otoguro defeated Russia’s Akhmed Chakaev 15-10 in the men’s 65-kg weight class on the second day of action at Budapest Sports Arena.

The 19-year-old will attempt to rewrite the current Japanese record held by Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion Yuji Takada, who won the 52-kg world title at age 20 in 1974.

“I’m glad to win four matches (en route to the final),” Otoguro said. “I was able to attack, and saw I have improved because I was able to wrestle my way. I’ll focus on the final and hope to end well.”

On Monday, Otoguro will face India’s Bajrang Punia, who beat Daichi Takatani in the men’s 65-kg final at the recent Asian Games in Indonesia.

Elsewhere for Japan, 57-kg defending champion Yuki Takahashi lost 7-2 to Russia’s Zaur Uguev in their semifinal bout.

“It’s up to me how I can use this loss,” Takahashi said. “I’ll accept it as an utter defeat, and use it as an incentive to practice. I want to win next year’s world championships and book a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.”

Atsushi Matsumoto was also defeated in the semifinals of the 92-kg division, suffering a technical fall loss to Belarusian Ivan Yankouski.

Both Japanese wrestlers will fight for bronze on Monday.