East Vs West 10 – November 2023

If we were to choose a phrase to describe this tenth edition of East vs West, it would be: title defenses.

The murmur in the hall has just calmed down as the first athletes step onto the stage. Fia Reisek, a multiple world champion in the 65kg category, originally scheduled to face Irina Galdkaya for the title, finds her opponent changed with little notice. Rosa Maria Acosta will now take the stage with her. Due to the weight difference between them, no title will be contested in this match, with Fia Reisek increasingly in control in each round.

Now, two opposites face off: Canadian Matt Mask and Italian Frank Lamparelli. One is known for his fierceness on the table, the other for never losing his smile. In this 115kg clash, the Canadian athlete is willing to risk injury to increase his chances of victory, but ultimately, his efforts prove futile, and Frank Lamparelli concludes with a 3-1 win.

The third match of the evening is a title match between Sasho Andreev (Bulgaria) and Artem Tainov (Russia) for the left arm belt at 95kg. Thanks to a remarkable combination of toproll and press, Tainov manages to win the first 3 rounds, becoming the new champion in this category. Sasho will win the last 2 rounds, but it’s not enough to overturn the score.

Ivan Matyushenko (Russia) and Kamil Jablonski (Poland), both making their first appearance for the right arm, face each other in the +115kg category. Ivan demonstrates incredible speed, setting a new record for the fastest round won, concluding the match 3-0.

Moving down to 85kg, we witness the sixth title defense by Davit Samushia (Georgia) against Abdulmanaf Tuzuyev (Kazakhstan), stepping in for Engin Terzi, the original contender for this match. Despite an initial success by Abdulmanaf, Davit proves why he is the champion, recovering and ultimately winning 4-1.

Rustam Babayev (Ukraine), returning from a chest injury, clashes with Irakli Zirakashvili (Georgia), who is coming off a loss. It’s a razor-thin match; the Georgian athlete wins the first round, but Rustam immediately evens the score. This pattern continues for the third and fourth rounds, leading to a 2-2 tie going into the fifth and final round. In the end, Irakli secures a 3-2 victory at 95kg.

The next match unfolds in the opposite direction, with Egle Vaitkute (Lithuania) dominating the Swedish transplant Sarah Backman 5-0, securing the world belt in the 80kg right arm category in a performance that leaves no room for doubt.

Now, we raise the stakes from 80kg to a match where both athletes exceed 160kg. Zaur Paizulaev (Russia), making his first appearance on the world stage, faces Bulgarian Georgi Tsvetkov. Georgi surprises many, achieving an easy 3-0 victory and shattering the hype around the Russian athlete. With this win, Georgi positions himself as the next opponent for Devon Larrat.

Sasho Andreev takes the stage again, this time to defend the 95kg right arm title already in his hands. His opponent is the GOAT, the greatest of all time, John Brzenk. Sasho manages to retain the title, facing no real difficulty in any of the five rounds. Time catches up with everyone, and after 59 years, it seems to have caught up with John too.

The match between the athlete with the best technique and the one with the worst technique is how this 105kg title match is defined. Kydrigali Ongarbaev defends his belt against Todd “toddzilla” Hutchings. Despite favorable predictions for the Kazakh athlete, the “king of side pressure” Todd Hutchings demonstrates almost overwhelming superiority, staying consistently on the offensive and winning 5-0, including 3 pins and the last two rounds forfeited by the former champion Kydrigali.

We now reach the main event, where Devon Larrat (Canada), the current holder of the world titles at 115kg and +115kg, defends the latter against Denis Cyplenkov (Russia). These are the two most famous athletes in this sport, both considered unbeatable by their fans, and both heavily favored by their respective factions. Despite being 10kg lighter and 10 years older, Devon Larrat dictates the pace of the match, winning every round and demonstrating versatility, explosiveness and superior endurance compared to Denis Cyplenkov. Many people may be disappointed by this 5-0 result, but regardless of preferences for one athlete over another, a well-deserved victory must be acknowledged. Devon Larrat once again confirms himself as the double champion of East vs West, successfully defending the super heavyweight belt, which will be put on the line again against Georgi Tsvetkov four weeks after the event.

Martino Doni

Martino Doni

SBFI Athlete; Medical Student; Personal trainer; Training Methodologist

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