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Back in time: Worlds 1989 Koga vs Chang Su Li

Back in time: Worlds 1989 Koga vs Chang Su Li

6 Aug 2022 01:00
By Oon Yeoh of JudoCrazy
David Finch /

Most people would have heard about, or might have watched, the famous 1989 World semifinal battle between Toshihiko Koga and Chang Su Li of North Korea. It was in that match that Koga did his famous one-handed morote-seoi-nage.

Few people realize that Koga actually fought Li two years earlier in the bronze medal match of the 1987 World Championships. In fact, Neil Adams, when commentating for the 1989 World's remarked that Koga had beaten a Korean in 1987 but that this one (Li) was a "different kettle of fish". Actually, it's the same Korean. In that 1987 Bronze medal match, Koga first threw Li was a direct attack tani-otoshi for a small score then threw him with a standing ippon-seoi-nage for ippon.

Even fewer people know that Koga had first fought Li in 1986, in the preliminary rounds of the Junior World Championships. There, Koga tried a tomoe-nage and a drop seoi-nage to the left (very rare, for Koga), both of which didn't score. Then he did a cross-grip morote-seoi-nage to the right, and that one scored. He immediately clamped on a yoko-shiho-gatame for ippon.

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