Jorge Fonseca is a double World Champion but he doesn’t yet have a European Championship title. His closest was a bronze in the 2020 European Championships in Prague. Now he is the favourite for the European title in Sofia this week.
Well, he is on a winning streak. So far, this year, Fonseca has taken part in three competitions, the Almada Grand Prix, the Prague World Cup and the Antalya Grand Slam, and he won gold in all three.
There are many top contenders in the U100kg category, namely the rising star Ilia Sulamanidze of Georgia. It is expected that Varlam Liparteliani will make a comeback in Sofia. So, he will have two hard opponents from Georgia.
Nikoloz Sherazadishvili of Spain has moved up to U100kg and he will surely prove to be a tough contender as well, although these two fought recently at the Antalya Grand Slam and there, Fonseca won rather easily.
Another top fighter who has just moved up to U100kg is Aleksandar Kukolj of Serbia. On a good day, this top technician can pull off a big surprise, just as he did at the 2021 World Championships where he made it all the way to the final.
Other tough opponents include the Dutchmen Michael Korrel and Simeon Catharina and Asley Gonzalez, formerly of Cuba but now fighting for Romania. Arman Adamian of Russia is not competing, for obvious reasons, and Toma Nikiforov of Belgium, is injured. These two would have provide a tough challenge for Fonseca as well.
Fonseca can win that precious title that his coach Pedro Soares never won himself, he took silver and bronze in the mid nineties as a young boy. In the previous century Portugal claimed one European title by legend Nuno Delgado. Over the last 21 years Portugal claimed ten more titles, five of them for Monteiro.