The Temple of Judo where Muhammad Ali almost loses a leg

One of the strangest fights in history rose to a Ring to Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki. It was in Japan, in 1976, under special rules that would now be consi

The Temple of Judo where Muhammad Ali almost loses a leg

One of the strangest fights in history rose to a Ring to Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki. It was in Japan, in 1976, under special rules that would now be considered precursors of mixed martial arts. A boxer against a fighter in a temple of Tokyo Judo. The king of heavy against the champion in martial arts. Two legends in a stadium, the Nippon Budokan, who got up 12 years before to debut in the first Olympic Games that welcomed the Asian country. It was a fight forward in time, crazy and revolutionary.

When the two men met face to face for the first time, Ali announced that he would tell Inoki the pelican due to his great chin in the form of a target. The Japanese looked at him silently and responded, through a translator: "When your fist connects with my chin, be careful that your fist is not damaged." The combat in 15 rounds ended with inoki with a broken foot and with the left leg of ali destroyed after receiving 64 kicks from Japanese.

That day there was not a free seat in the Budokan. Today, almost all seats are empty. Forty-five years after that fight, the famous stadium becomes one of the headquarters of Olympic Games, those of Tokyo 2020, to celebrate the tournaments of Judo and Kárate.

The public ban on the pandemic has an advantage for journalists who cover the fighting at Budokan: the cries of courage or rabies of the coaches are listened clean. Like the blows when the Judicas fall to the tatami. The organization of games has put a slight breeze of background environment. Although, more than simulating the presence of the public, it looks like an old tape engraved on a beach with a sea without much swell. Even if the one in the press gallery disconnects a second of the fight and closes his eyes, he can listen to seagulls.

Al Budokan is reached by the ancient trails that come out of the Imperial Palace, which today are covered by all kinds of Olympic paraphernalia and for many volunteers of the games that guide the accredited journalists between the labyrinth of arrows and barriers that finds their passage. Of course, everything very tidy in Japanese style.

After a safety control and a temperature take with an infrared thermometer, the octagon building that simulates a classic Buddhist temple appears, letting see its 42 meters high. Inside I expected the Olympic debut of judo.

On Saturday morning, two Spaniards, the Mostoleño Fran Garrigós (60 kg), sixth of the world ranking, and the Cordova Julia Figueroa in the 48 kg female modality, which faced its second games and who achieved bronze in the world's past of Budapest. Julia started very well the round of sixteen gaining with an IPPON to the Turkish Gulkader Senturk. But she on eighth she went home to lose against Israeli Shira Rishony.

Garrigós either was not lucky and lost before the French Luka Mkheidze in the Male Eighths. "Losing in the first round was not what we expected," the Jewish lamented. None of the Spaniards could reach the late afternoon, where the only national present was the referee and former Judapa Raul Camacho. The great favorite to the title, the Japanese Naohisa Takato, fulfilled the forecasts and won the gold in the 60 kg category. In the female picture was Distria Krasniqi, representative of Kosovo, the Olympic Champion.

Right after the female final, in the Budokan Somebody of Canadian Bryan Adams, who already played that song live in this heart of Tokyo's heart. Because this Olympic headquarters also meets the functions of musical temple in the capital of Japan. The first to go through here were the Beatles in 1966. The performance of the Liverpool band generated some controversy because Japanese traditionalists opposed the stadium to rock music.

"The audience was very off," Ringo Starr recalled during an interview. After the Beatles, in the Budokan they have also touched other giants such as Abba, Bob Dylan or Eric Clapton.

During the first Judo Olympic Day did not step on the Tatami of the Budokan the Algerian Fethi Nourine, who retired from the tournament when he learned that, after the draw, he could be played in eighth to the Israeli Tohar Butbul. The Algerian is a fervent defender of the Palestinian cause. That is why he was clear when he explained on his country's television the reasons for him withdrawn: "I'm not going to mess up my hands facing an Israeli."

Date Of Update: 25 July 2021, 04:02

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