77kg, most stacked division of the entire tournament.
Without question, this had the biggest names in the event and it was taken out by none other than B-Team athlete Jozef Chen.
Of course, we can’t claim too much credit for him. He’s, like, a self-made athlete; he’s trained all over the world.
He spent some time with Jason Rau so we’ve gotta credit Jason Rau’s contribution to his camp as well and he’s not been training an awfully long time.
He’s only 19 years old and he’s only a brown belt.
Jones emphasized the challenging path Chen had to navigate through to the finals – one which saw the bracketing system facing criticism for seemingly concentrating many top competitors on one side and leaving the other side a tad too “weak”:
Thankfully, Jozef persevered and still won.
But Oliver Taza, his side of the bracket basically had no names on that side.
And on the other side was: Mateusz Szczecinski, probably one of the scariest grapplers in the world with the amount of people’s legs he breaks.
Tommy Langaker, world-renowned in both the gi and no gi, and it also had Davis Asare who was actually Oliver Taza’s teammate…
Craig praised Oliver Taza’s skills but noted that Chen’s road to victory was significantly more difficult:
So, for Jozef to win this he had to beat, in a row: Mateusz Szczecinski, who at the previous European Trials broke his foot pretty badly, then he had to immediately face Tommy Langaker, and then in the final face off against Oliver Taza.
Oliver Taza is a standout grappler, he’s been around forever.
He’s competed in just about every event, he’s been dominating the Opens. He’s had so much practice in this ruleset and he had…
I’m not gonna say it was an easy run to the finals, none of these guys are gonna be easy to beat athletes…
But if you contrast Jozef’s run and Taza’s run – Taza’s run was significantly easier so I was worried about Jozef going in.
He had competed in Quintet the week before, and he had a crazy run to be able to win this.