A starting grid of 65 men U81kg at the 2018 World Championships in Baku, a very competitive weight category. But even winning in Paris, Tel Aviv or Dusseldorf is no guarantee for gold in Baku.
In Pool A, we have the tough Iranian Mollaei who will probably top the pool. His progression is stunning and the bronze medal of Iran on Day 3 will motivate the team even more. Anri Egutidze (POL) and Junior World Champion of Belgium Matthias Casse will also fight for a quarter final position, but perhaps the most dangerous for Mollaei is Korean Lee Seung-Su.
Pool B has and top-seed for the pool Otgonbaatar (MGL) and an interesting potential match-up between defending World champion Alexander Wieczerzak (GER) in his pool with McWatt, Ivanov and Esposito. A bit further in the pool is Alan Lappinagov (RUS). A determined Wieczerzak might rise to the occasion and come up tops, but given the recent performances Otgonbaatar has good papers.
Pool C will probably see Frank De Wit (NED) or Sotaro Fujiwara (JPN) coming up tops, but ther are more forces that we shouldn’t underestimate given their latest results. Sami Chouchi (BEL) and Alpha Djalo (FRA) are interesting outsiders on the road of Fujiwara.
Pool D has Khasan Khalmurzaev (RUS) who will have a tough first fight against Pacek (SWE). Didar Khamza is the man in form for Kazakhstan. Also they might be facing other hard fighters in the form of Penalber (BRA), Ressel (GER) and Muki (ISR). Khalmurzaev has some tough competition here but Khalmurzaev might be the one to go through.
We will have our eyes on Mollaei, Otgonbaatar, Fujiwara and Khalmurzaev to survive the first shift in the morning.