Only two times the World Championships had more fighters U60kg then this edition. In a field of 68, only the 2010 Tokyo and 2011 Paris edition had such an amount of class players. The quality is awesome but we’re also missing some guys here.
Without Ganbat Boldbaatar, Amartuvshin Dashdavaa, Yeldos Smetov, Walide Khyar, Diyorbek Urozboev and Elios Manzi the U60kg weight class in Baku could have even be more spectacular. A quick look for the favourites will point out the two World Leaders from Japan Ryuju Nagayama as world number one and separated from his rival Naohisa Takato. Both men seemed to be the favourites, but Takato can meet Beslan Mudranov (RUS) in the quarter final. This time Mudranov does compete in such field.
In Pool C, Robert Mshvidobadze (RUS) is the man on paper, but with Lutfillaev, Trbovc, and Lee anything can happen in that pool.
In Pool D, Amiran Papinashvili is always playing a role and he has quite a good draw but might face Azerbaijan’s favourite Orkhan Safarov. Let’s hope he can show his best at home in the Arena. On the other side it’s no decided who is the strongest. Gusman Kyrgyzbayev (KAZ) is a candidate but also Eric Takabatake (BRA) and perhaps even Jorre Verstraeten (BEL) might play a role.
In the women’s division the same figures with 43 women and only Tokyo and Paris had more lightweights in the starting grid. The quality though is fingerlicking and actually more appealing then the men’s from a gender equality point of view.
In Pool A, Munkhbat (MGL) has a relatively clear path to the top of her pool, with Csernoviczki (HUN) being the main potential stumbling block.
In Pool B, Tonaki will have to face either Rishony (ISR) or Cherniak (UKR) in her first match of the day. She has beaten both before. Assuming she gets past either of them, she will probably have to face Nikolic (SRB). But Tonaki has beaten her too.
In Pool C, the pool favorite Dolgova (RUS) has several top fighters to potentially contend with, namely Pareto (ARG) and Clement (FRA).
Pool D will be very interesting. Although Bilodid (UKR) is ranked 3rd in the World, she is probably the top favorite in this category. But she has a lot of tough competitors in her pool: Krasniqi (KOS) and Galbadrakh (KAZ).
Assuming it's Munkhbat vs Tonaki, it will be a very close match. These two have fought three times with Munkhbat winning twice (the most recent being the 2018 Paris Grand Slam in February). Munkhbat probably has the slighter edge with experience on her side. On the other side, it's likely that Bilodid will be the one who makes it through to the final.
So, it could be a Munkhbat vs Bilodid final match. These two have not fought before in the IJF World Tour. If these two are the finalists, our prediction is Bilodid, who is on fire and hasn't been beaten in the past year and has the confidence of youth on her side.