Muhammad Mokaev (UK) will face Reo Yamaguchi (Japan) for the second time when they do battle in the men’s junior bantamweight final of the 2019 European Open Championships.
The duo first met last November, in the finals of the 2018 IMMAF – WMMAA World Championships, where Mokaev secured the unanimous decision triumph.
Both athletes were back for this week’s European Open, taking place from 18-23 June in Rome, Italy. The undefeated Mokaev, now 14-0, known for his prolific wrestling displays on the UK circuit, has now tested himself for a second time against opposition from the Russian national team, known worldwide for the sambo and wrestling prominence of its dominant amateur exports.
Mokaev stormed to a TKO victory over Ireland’s Abanoub Fares in yesterday’s European Open junior quarter-final, before walking in for an intense contest with Russia’s Batir Sharuhanov, once again showcasing a fast, evolved striking game, but most significantly, further proved that his trademark wrestling can hold up against the best.
Meanwhile, former Asian Open senior champion and 2018 junior world silver medalist, Yamaguchi (9-2), enters the European Open as Japan’s lone warrior, supported by Japan head coach Yoichi Suzuki, who led the nation to breakthrough performances at last year’s World Championships with encouraging signs for the future.
On Day 2 in Rome, Yamaguchi edged a closely contested yet unanimous decision against opposition from the prolific Kazakhstan national team before securing a second unanimous decision over 2018 European silver medalist and World bronze medalist, Bahrain’s Ali Yaqoob.
The 2019 European Open junior finals take place tomorrow, June 22.
By IMMAF.org lead writer, photographer: Jorden Curran
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