From September 14-22, Kazakhstan’s capital city of Nur-Sultan will play host to the 2019 Wrestling World Championships. Proudly representing the Bushiroad wrestling team will be Oleg Boltin, and he’ll be joined by Nobuyoshi Arakida who represents the NJPW and Nippon Broadcasting backed sports group Athletic Club LION. Both will be seeking glory on the world stage, and potential representation in the Tokyo Olympics next year as they wrestle at 125kg!
Organized by the international governing body for amateur wrestling, United World Wrestling (UWW), the World Championships represent the first major step toward the Olympics. With medal positions contributing hugely to inclusion in Olympic competition, it’s an immensely important tournament for wrestlers from all over the world.
Boltin and Arakida gave us their comments as they head into the tournament, and we also talked to their coach, who happens to be none other than Yuji Nagata!
‘I’m so excited to have the world championships being held in my home country of Kazakhstan. I’m staying with the national team in the capital of Nur-Sultan at the moment, but my Japanese teammate Takeshi Yamaguchi, and some of the top veteran wrestlers of India and Belarus are all here; I’ve been able to train really well. I don’t have any injuries, I’m in great shape, and I’ll absolutely be getting a medal!’
‘After I couldn’t take part in the last Olympics (Rio 2016), I went back home to Aomori for a while, but my friends and family at home encouraged me to give the Olympics one more try. I feel so strongly that I will be in the Olympics in Tokyo, and to that end, I’ll absolutely be looking to get a medal at the World Championships!’
‘Oleg has really advanced over the last couple of years and I really feel he’s at his best at the moment. Now he’s on home turf as well, and that’s a big factor, so I have high hopes for him to get a medal. Then Arakida, he’s turned the disappointment of Rio into a big motivator, and he’s really amped up about making it to the Tokyo Olympics. The world championship standard is so, so incredibly high; Arakida’s focus and his crushing wrestling isn’t going to be unique to him, but with guys in the same weight class, he absolutely has a good chance. Anyway, I want them both to come back with a medal in hand! Ze-a!
Oleg Boltin (Kazakshstan/DOB: February 10 1993/186cm/120kg)
Boltin took second place at the 2013 Asian Junior championships. In 2016, he came third in the All Japan University tournament, being recognised as Yamanashi University’s strongest foreign student, before joining the Bushiroad team in 2017. That same year he came third in the Kunayev International tournament. In 2018, he would come second in the Bill Farrell Memorial International tournament, third in the Mongol Open and eighth in the Asian Tournament. In 2019, seventh place in the Asian Wrestling Championships secured his place in the World Championship.
Nobuyoshi Arakida (Japan/DOB: March 26 1988/180cm/120kg)
Arakida is from Aomori in Japan. He started wrestling in second grade at elementary school before continuing through middle and high school, before winning the 2008 All Japan tournament. Third place in 2009’s Asia championships and eighth in the 2015 World Championships led him to be recognised as the heavyweight ace of Japanese amateur wrestling. He retired for a period in 2015, but in 2018 had a new lease on his wrestling life when he joined Athletic Club LION, and won the All Japan tournament once more. Now he plans on using his fifth World Championships as a springboard for the Olympics in 2020!
The Bushiroad Wrestling Team was established in July 2012 with the aim of scouting and training potential Olympians. With talent scouted by board member Takaaki Kidani and coach Yuji Nagata, the team quickly gained a lot of attention. Its current members, Takeshi Yamaguchi and Oleg Boltin, are active domestically and abroad as they target the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.