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Jiu Jitsu champ grapples with degree, world title bid

When law student Coco Izutsu hits the books they stay down.

The Jiu Jitsu champion already has a stack of national titles to his name but it’s the world title in California in December that he really wants.

“The goal is to win all the time - nothing but first place,” said Izutsu, a member of the Bond University Elite Sport Program.

“That is what I’ve been coached since I was a young kid.”

Izutsu, 19, competes in the brown belt 57kg class and has been something of a prodigy since taking up the sport.

“I started karate when I was four, then I did wrestling in Japan,” he said.

“I moved from Japan when I was six. There weren’t many karate and wrestling schools on the Gold Coast so I started doing Jiu Jitsu.

“I was pretty good at it from the beginning and that’s why I stuck with it.

“I went to nationals at 13 and I have won nationals nearly every year I’ve competed.”

The diminutive grappler has also won the Pan Pacific Championships - considered one of the biggest competitions in the Southern Hemisphere - four times.

But it is a world title that he craves.

“World Championship in December in California. That is the goal,” he said.

“I finished second in the world in the blue belt category in 2018 and third in the world in brown belt at the Abu Dhabi World Pro – that was probably the best result of my career.”

Izutsu is coached by the legendary Mendes brothers - Guilherme and Rafael - who have 10 world titles between them.

Izutsu knows he needs to cut about 6kg off his frame to reach the Roosterweight division (57kg) by December.

“When you compete, you have to win all your matches on the same day, with just 16 minutes breaks in between,” he said.

“Hopefully I can perform well in California.”

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