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Japanese journalist Higuchi picks most winners at World Championships with nine

Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

In the annual "Pick the Champions" feature by international wrestling journalists, Japanese journalist Ikuo Higuchi of the Japanese Wrestling Federation website selected the most 2006 World Champions.

Higuchi predicted nine of the individual World Champions at the 2006 World Wrestling Championships held in Guangzhou, China, Sept. 25-Oct. 1.

Higuchi chose six of the seven women's freestyle champions, as well as three of the seven men's freestyle champions, to easily outdistance the rest of the journalists who made predictions.

The women champions he selected included five Japanese wrestlers: Chiharu Icho (48 kg), Hitomi Sakamoto (51 kg), Saori Yoshida (55 kg), Ayako Shoda (59 kg) and Kaori Icho (63 kg). He also selected the 67 kg champion, Jing Riu Xue of China. Higuchi got three of the men's freestyle champions correctly: Sajid Sajidov of Russia (85 kg), Khadjimurad Gatsalov of Russia (96 kg) and Artur Taymazov of Uzbekistan (120 kg).

Placing second in the contest were Gary Abbott of and Al Bevilacqua of who had six individual champions.

Abbott selected women champions Icho, Yoshida, Shoda and Jing, plus freestyle winners Gatsalov and Taymazov. Bevilacqua selected women champions Sakamoto, Yoshida and Shoda, freestyle champions Gatsalov and Taymazov and Greco-Roman champion Hamid Sourian of Iran (55 kg).

Next with four correct selections were Bryan Van Kley of W.I.N. Magazine and Mikolaj Jarocki of Poland.

Click here to see all of the journalist predictions
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