It wasn’t to be for Ashley McKenzie in the opening round of the -60kg competition at the Tokyo Olympics, as he fell to defeat at the hands of Azerbaijan’s Karamat Huseynov.
It was a fast paced opening to the contest with Huseynov looking to gain revenge for McKenzie’s Tel Aviv Grand Slam victory earlier this year. A Seio-Nage score in the opening minute was the difference in Tokyo as the Azerbaijan fighter secured the win.
This wasn’t a one-sided contest however, with McKenzie continually putting pressure on Huseynov throughout the contest and looking to dominate the grip.
He almost found a way back into the contest with his favoured Seio-Nage but Huseynov JUST found a way to rotate and avoid the score against him.
A brief injury delay midway through allowed both fighters to reset and reassess the fight but strong defence from Huseynov kept McKenzie at bay.
Both fighters picked up shidos as the contest wore on and Huseynov did enough to see the clock down and eliminate McKenzie in the opening round.
McKenzie was understandably distraught when he spoke to the media after his fight.
“At the moment, I’m mostly sad. I’ve put in a lot of work for this one tournament. I’ve put a lot of work in for this one tournament”
“My mum, a lot of the ones that love me – it just hurts to see that they’ve probably woken up to watch me, and I had one fight, and it didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I’m strongly sorry for the people that put so much energy into me.”