Mission accomplished: Japan trio sweeps triple gold at Oceania Open

Pictured above: Japan’s athletes at the 2018 Oceania Open, Kato (left), Maeda (center), Yamaguci (right).

Japan came out on top of the inaugural Oceania Open in Australia, winning gold in each bracket that the nation contested.

Taking place at the Arnold Sport Festival in Melbourne, the Japanese trio of Reo Yamaguci (Men’s bantamweight), Kohei Maeda (Men’s featherweight) and Teruhiko Kato (Men’s lightweight) were accompanied by Japanese MMA Federation (JMMAF) national team coaches Yoshinori UmekiHisao Ikeda and Yoichi Suzuki.

The Kyokusin Karate kid, Yamaguci, battled his way to victory as one of two 18-year-old challengers registered to compete. The second youngest man to feature in the Oceania Open clinched a Unanimous Decision triumph over 23-year-old Australian Jean Alexander Romano in the Men’s bantamweight division to pick up a first medal in his debut appearance on the international amateur platform.

The nation’s elder representative, 29-year-old Kato, also traveled to Melbourne for his first outing under the IMMAF banner, competing in the Men’s lightweight bracket. Kato clinched a second decision win for Japan in the finals, besting Australian Jordan Thomas who eliminated New Zealand’s Flynn Booth with a Triangle Choke submission in the semi-finals. Kato takes the gold medal back home to Ageo-Shi, Saitama, where he serves the community as a fireman in addition to his life as a martial artist.

Completing the golden trio, Kohei Maeda, 22, begins 2018 with a history of going the distance with leading championships caliber talent is his previous two IMMAF campaigns, at the 2016 World Championships and 2017 Asian Open. Hoping this to be his breakthrough year, Maeda went all three rounds to clinch a Split-Decision nod over never-say-die Aussie Abzzy Mahdawi.

In his post-event message, IMMAF President Kerrith Brown stated: “Together we have placed another stake in the ground for the global community of MMA as the first IMMAF Oceania Open Championships made its debut at the Arnold Sports Festival 2018.

“This first installment of the region’s new continental legacy served as a small and intimate event which proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable success and has created sound foundations to build upon and develop.” Read the full statement HERE.

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