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New Karate heroes reach Karate 1-Premier League Moscow finals after thrilling second day


The second day of competition of the Karate 1-Premier League Moscow crowned rising stars of the sport. Ryo Kiyuna, Irina Zaretska, Ryutaro Araga, Ayumi Uekusa and Ivanna Zaytseva were among the top karatekas reaching the title-deciding bouts of the thrilling event. 


Local Karate fans had plenty of reasons to celebrate today since Ivanna Zaytseva took the organising country to the final of Female Kumite +68kg. In front of family and friends, the representative of the host country produced a much-celebrated performance to make it to her first final in major international events since her victory at the 2017 Karate 1-Series A Toledo. The promising Russian karateka reached the title-deciding bout of the category after an outstanding semi-final clash against Sofya Berultseva of Kazakhstan. In a showcase of offensive Karate, Zaytseva won the ticket to the final by 12-5. 

The final of Female Kumite +68kg will be one of the highlights of the final day of competition since Ivanna Zaytseva will fight for gold against Grand Winner Ayumi Uekusa of Japan. Right after her title at home at the Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo, the current World Championships runner-up from Japan qualified for her second consecutive final after edging Hamideh Abbasali of Iran by a slim 1-0. 


Just as it happened in Female Kata, the final bout of the Male Kata category will see Japan and Spain clashing for gold. Ryo Kiyuna of Japan and Damian Quintero of Spain became the finalists of the tournament in Moscow after dominating the pools. Grand Winner Ryo Kiyuna top the pool with “Anan Dai” kata and a score of 27.38 while World Championships silver medallist Quintero prevailed in his pool also with “Anan Dai” kata and a score of 26.2. It will be the fifth time that the two front-runners of the category meet in a final of the Karate 1-Premier League this year, with all the gold medals going to Kiyuna thus far. 


Zabiholla Poorshab of Iran and Ryutaro Araga of Japan demonstrated their excellent form as they qualified for the final of Male Kumite -84kg. The bout will be a repetition of the title-deciding match of the last Karate 1-Premier League event in Tokyo where Araga used the home-ground factor to defeat Poorshab. Now in Moscow, the Iranian karateka will try to avenge his defeat in Tokyo while Araga hopes to extend his winning streak. After a hard-fought competition, former Grand Winner Ryutaro Araga qualified for the final after beating team-mate Rikito Shimada 4-3. Poorshab who is placed in the second position of WKF World ranking upset France’s Jessie Da Costa in semi-finals 5-1. 

Ryutaro Araga was not the only former Grand Winner prevailing today in Moscow. Sajad Ganjzadeh of Iran who was the “Best of the best” last year qualified for the final of Male Kumite +84kg after beating France’s Mehdi Filali in semi-finals. The Iranian former World champion won gold for the last time at the 2019 Karate 1-Premier League Shanghai. He will try to reach the top of the podium again against Gogita Arkania of Georgia. Also a former World champion, Arkania defeated Grand Winner Jonathan Horne in semi-finals by “Hantei” or decision (0-0). It is the second final for Arkania this season after his title at the Karate 1-Premier League Paris. 


For the third time this season, Irina Zaretska of Azerbaijan qualified for the final of a Karate 1-Premier League. The current Grand Winner of Female Kumite -68kg who won gold in Tokyo barely one month ago made it to the final of the category after beating Marina Rakovic of Montenegro 3-0. Her rival in the final is Li Gong of China. The Chinese karateka just arrived from her gold medal victory in Karate 1-Series A Santiago two weeks ago and qualified for her second consecutive title-deciding bout after a tight victory over Italy’s Silvia Semeraro (5-5). 

The final of Female Kumite -61kg between Canada’s Haya Jumaa and Iran’s Rozita Alipourkeshka completed the list of finalists today at the Karate 1-Premier League Moscow. 

All the medal bouts of the Karate 1-Premier League Moscow on Sunday will be streamed LIVE on from 09:30 (local time).

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