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【SHINKYOKUSHINKAI】Valeri, runner-up in the World Championships: “The final should be a highly technical match like Kenji Midori vs. Akira Masuda.”

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Valeri (right) won the semi-finals with his high skill, but in the final, he was stopped through a close fight

 Valeri Dimitrov (41=Bulgaria) was the world runner-up at the 13th World Karate Championships hosted by Shinkyokushinkai at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on October 15th.

【photo & footage】Valeri’s matches in this championship, the legendary match Kenji Midori vs. Akira Masuda

 Valeri had won with high skill up to the semifinal. But in the final, his opponent, Kenbu Iriki, a Japanese power fighter, started to get very close in the early rounds and landed a series of punches and low kicks. Valeri struggled to create his own space & distance and began to fight back, but Iriki gained a little more momentum. Finally Valeri lost the match by decision 4-0. After the match, Valerie was not satisfied with the final match, in which his techniques were blocked, saying, “The finals should have been brilliant kumite. It should have been a fight that made the viewers want to do karate.”

Final: Iriki goes for the close range and attacks Valerie with a low kick.

 Iriki lost a decision to Valeri in the 5th round at the last World Championships in 2007. At that match, Iriki had been on the attack, but he was well deflected by Valeri’s skill. But Iriki won for this time and emphasized that he kept attacking every chance he got in the post-fight interview, “when I threw a low kick early in the fight, I felt that Valeri disliked it . So I decided to attack him first without looking too closely at him. I didn’t just go for it, but I was aware of feints while watching his reactions, so I think that was good.”

 Although Valeri lost, he said, “Although I lost, I was not depressed. I felt that my fight left a lasting impression on the audience, and that is what made me most happy.” After the decision, the audience kept calling for Valeri.

Quarterfinals: Valeri unleashes Kakatootoshi(axe kick)

 When asked about the content of the finals, Valeri said, “The more technically clean it is, the more people want to try karate. For example, one 5th event, Midori (representative) vs. Akira Masuda was a historic and very technical match that makes me want to learn karate. The final match should be technically clean and brilliant Kumite. Brilliant technique is important. I would like to introduce  the kumite footage of Tsukamoto, Midori, and many other great Karteka so that more and more people will think, “Okay, I want to learn karate.”

Valeri talked about his ideal final in a post-match interview.

 Finally, Valeri talked about his future prospects and retirement. ”There is a possibility of retirement. I will go back and rest, talk to my family and the people involved, and think about what I will do in the future. I will be 42 years old next week. I think competing in tournaments is for young people,” he said.

 He was instrumental in making the “Valeri Kick,” a low kick with the heel, famous, and in the 20 years since the 8th World Championships in 2003, the year the name was changed to Shinkyokushinkai, he has made a total of six appearances in the World Championships, the most in any one year. He has also won the World Karate Championships in weight Categories  three times in the heavyweight division.

 When the next World Championships comes, he will be 45-46 years old for the seventh time. There is a strong possibility that this time will be his last, but who knows?

▶︎【photo & footage】Valeri’s matches in this championship, the legendary match Kenji Midori vs. Akira Masuda

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・(Japanese version)【新極真会】世界大会で準優勝のヴァレリー「決勝戦は緑健児vs増田章のような技術が高い試合であるべき」

・【Tournament bracket】Men Open Weight

・【Tournament bracket】Women Open Weight






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