August 26, 2023, only a month has passed since the previous edition of East vs West, but the wait has seemed interminable.
Thomas Manghi, an Italian athlete belonging to the armed forces collides with the young Dustin Hyatt, winner of the qualifications held in America. The match includes a weight cap of 75kg, and ends with a crushing victory for Thomas, in total control in each round.
The second fight pits another winner of the American Qualifiers, Brad Grundy against Kyle Hutchinson, from Ireland, in the -115kg category.
Despite a much more impressive physicality, Kyle suffers from the greater experience and technical ability of the American, who takes himself up 2-0 in a few minutes, the third round will be forfeited due to possible injury.
David Dadikyan and Evgeny Prudnik on stage for the 105kg left arm world title.
The two athletes leave their soul and body at the table, in what will be the best match of the evening. David Dadikyan takes the lead in the first two rounds, conquered hard by a very small margin.
Prudnik began his comeback shortly after, miraculously managing to snatch a tightrope 3-2 final victory.
Let’s go up in category, Derek Smith ( USA ) vs Medhi Abdovaland ( Iran ), total weight of the athletes, 315kg!
1-0 Mehdi, due to a double fault by Smith.
But Mehdi’s dream of victory is short-lived, Derek acquires inertia and is increasingly dominant.
3-1 Derek Smith.
The fifth match sees two athletes of different categories face off at an agreed intermediate weight of 85kg.
Arthur Makarov ( Russia ) 75kg vs Adam Wawrzynski ( USA ) 91kg.
Despite an initial flash pin for Arthur the difference in weight is soon felt, and Adam takes the reins, dictating the pace of the match and winning the following 3 rounds.
3-1 Adam Wawrzynski.
Again on the left arm, for the east vs west debut of the legend Ivan Matyushenko, who easily imposes himself on the Georgian Davit Arabuli.
Although the challenge was on Ivan’s strong arm and Ivan’s non-dominant arm, the athlete from Georgia is totally outclassed.
3-0 Ivan Matyushenko.
The seventh challenge of the evening is the fifth defense of the title by Davit Samushia, current reigning 85kg champion.
His challenger, Valiko Ichqiti, represents the first case of two athletes of the same nationality (Georgia) facing off east vs west. As a script already seen in previous matches, despite a good start for Valiko Samushia manages to recover, winning the match 3-1. An extra 5 rounds will be played for show reasons, making the score 3-2.
3-2 Davit Samushia.
Georgi Dzeranov ( kazakhstan ) recently increased in weight to 128kg clashes with Ferit Osmanli ( turkey ), 140kg. Unfortunately for local spectators Ferit looked out of form, and lost the match in disastrous fashion to an increasingly impressive Dzeranov.
3-0 Georgi Dzeranov.
David Dadikyan returns, this time on his right arm, his opponent Irakli Zirakashvili, both at 105kg.
Irakli (georgia) manages to escape the attack of David (armenia) and goes to the straps every round. But there the problems begin for Zirakashvili, who doesn’t find the key for this match, and suffers a clear defeat.
3-0 David Dadikyan.
The tenth match, organized to allow Ruslam Babayev (Ukraine) to avenge his brother’s defeat at the hands of Paul Linn (America), turns out to be a fatal mistake, and “the american assasin” strikes again, amazing even the on the opponent for his incredible form.
3-0 Paul Linn
We remain at 95kg for Ibrahim Sagov (Russia) vs “Toddzilla” Todd Hutchins (USA).
The Russian athlete secures the first round due to a double fault by Toddzilla, who however recovers, and in turn takes the lead. Sagov equalized again thanks to a double fault, but Todd won. Hutchins cements his legendary status by continuing to win despite being 57 years of age.
3-2 Todd Hutchins.
Twelfth and penultimate meeting of the evening, co-main event.
Revaz Lutdize, 195cm, 150kg, Georgia.
Vitaly Laletin, 200cm, 138kg, Russia.
The two athletes slip and go to the straps.
The first round lasts about 30 seconds, Vitaly on the defensive and Revaz attacking relentlessly. It seems impossible for Revaz to lose until it does. 1-0 Vitaly.
The second round is even more surprising, Vitaly wins in a flash, and Revaz retires, forfeiting the third round. Vitaly’s steel grip broke his fingers.
3-0 Vitaly Laletin.
We have reached the main event.
Ermes Gasparini, 130kg, Italy. Current East vs. West super heavyweight champion, and by most, current world No. 1.
Devon Larrat, 120kg, Canada. Current East vs. West Heavyweight Champion.
Ermes is given as a favorite, and there is a reason. If we compare the last opponents between the two athletes, Hermes had considerably more impressive performances than Devon.
Not everyone is convinced though, Devon is often called the miracle man, hope is not dead.
The athletes take the stage, Hermes seems dull compared to his usual aggressiveness, Devon is teasing as usual.
Ermes is nervous, he’s not satisfied with the grip. He doesn’t listen to the referees’ commands, he loses the first round for fouls.
The second round sees a slip in which Ermes manages to show his strength, but Larrat increases the pressure, the hands don’t hold, he goes to the straps.
Domination. This is the word that was expected to be used for the performance of Hermes. Flash pins. Rounds won with speed and ferocity. We can still use that word, referring to Devon Larrat.
At 48 years of age, Devon wins the match 3-0, confirming himself as world champion in heavyweight ( -115kg ) and super heavyweight ( without weight limits).
Thus ends East vs West 9, for the first time we see a victory for the team representing the West, and one of the biggest upsets in the history of this sport. Particular mention to Ermes Gasparini who accepted this match with less than 1 month’s notice, to Todd Hutchins and Devon Larrat for the victories at 57 and 48 respectively.
Devon in particular thanks to this victory acquires the title of oldest absolute world champion.