LUIGI BUSA CAUSES SENSATION
In one of the most dazzling moments of the championships so far, Luigi Busa became the man of the day after qualifying for the final of Male Kumite -75kg. The Italian fan favourite earned the ticket to the title-deciding bout in spectacular fashion, as the 30-year-old karateka eliminated five-time World champion and current title-holder Rafael Aghayev.
It was one of the highlights of the day. The Italian Karate Star, who is the current World Championships bronze medallist, had prevailed in the pool with 9-1 in four bouts. In semi-finals, two of the best competitors in the category of all times faced each other for a spot for the gold medal bout. Busa overpowered legend Aghayev with a slim 2-1 victory, and made history for the sport.
“I am extremely happy for being in the final. These World Championships are extremely important, and I am pleased for being able to reach this far,” said Luigi Busa.
“I knew that my bout with Rafael Aghayev would be extremely difficult, but I had all the courage to face him. He is a great champion, but when you reach this level, one has to win and one has to lose, and today it was me winning,” added the Italian fan favourite.
The other spot in the final went to Iran’s Bahman Asgari Ghoncheh. The 26-year-old karateka surprised with his qualification to the deciding bout after dominating the pool (16-2 in five bouts) including a victory by ‘Hantei’ or decision over Japanese sensation Ken Nishimura. In semi-finals, the Iranian karateka beat Russia’s Beslan Mizov. It is Asgari Ghoncheh’s first medal in World Championships in three appearances.
FAVOURITES SHOW STRENGHTH IN FEMALE KUMITE -61KG
Two of the competitors on best form this season will clash for gold in Female Kumite -61kg. Jovana Prekovic of Serbia and Xiaoyan Yin of China demonstrated their outstanding level and confirmed their status as front-runners of the category.
Serbia’s Jovana Prekovic, who is the current European Champion, took the pool with 13-1 in four bouts, including a sensational 5-0 victory over current World title-holder Giana Lotfy of Egypt. In semi-finals, the 22-year-old karateka produced an outstanding victory. Her rival, Turkey’s Merve Coban dominated the bout and had a 3-1 lead with only a few seconds to the conclusion. Showing great confidence, Prekovic connected an ‘Ippon’ by ‘Mawashi-geri’ kick to take the victory and the qualification to the final 4-3.
The other finalist of the category is China’s Xiaoyan Yin. The World ranking leader of the category confirmed her top level this year, and after claiming four medals this season including the Asian title, the 25-year-old athlete will compete for the World crown.
The Chinese kumite ace prevailed in the pool with 8-4 in four bouts and won the semi-final over Italy’s Laura Pasqua to be in her first World Championships final.
UP-COMING KARATEKAS TAKE A STAND IN MALE KUMITE -67KG
The new World champion in Male Kumite -67kg will be either Brazil’s Vinicius Figueira and France’s Steven Dacosta. The two competitors who have never reached the finals of World Championships will try to become the new king of the category.
Brazil’s Vinicius Figueira qualified for his first final of World Championships after topping the pool with 10-1 in five bouts and a tight 3-1 victory over Chile’s Camilo Velozo in semi-finals.
“I feel great for this qualification! I just have one more bout to go but at least I know that I am in the final. I think I improved throughout the competition because I had so many difficult fights today so I feel very satisfied with my participation in the tournament so far,” said Vinicius Figueira.
One of the most promising karatekas, France’s Steven Dacosta confirmed his stratospheric progression with his qualification to the final. The 21-year-old up-coming star prevailed in the pool with 7-2 in four bouts and then went to defeat Hamoon Derafshipour of Iran in semi-finals (2-0). The young Dacosta brothers will compete in his first World Championships final and will try to extend the victorious tradition of French competitors at the event.
The Karate action continues in WiZink Center with the afternoon session with the rest of the categories at stake. You can follow the competition LIVE and FREE on karateworld.tv.