By WAYLON GALVEZ
Online karate sensation James de los Santos has reached the finals of the biggest virtual kata tournament as he edged South African Silvio Cerone-Biogioni 24.4-24.1 in their semifinal match in the 5th Sportsdata e-Tournament World Series.
The world No. 1 De los Santos said he is motivated to win this event after he dominated the fourth edition following a victory against his rival from Portugal and former No. 1 Eduardo Garcia last October.
“I missed out on the finals in the first edition, won silver in the second, was eliminated in the third, and won gold in the fourth. I hope to win a second straight gold medal,” said De los Santos.
“This is the biggest e-tournament for kata because points awarded to winners, to gold medalists, more than double the usual points earned in other competitions. The goal is to earn more points to maintain the top spot to keep the No. 1 ranking by the end of the year.”
De los Santos made it to the finals by going through three knockout matches in the early rounds.
After he earned a bye in the Round of 32, he defeated Andrei Gabriel Nedelcu of Romania 24.6-23.7 in the Round of 16, Lukas Grimm of Germany 24.4-23.2 in the quarterfinal, and Cerone-Biogioni in the semifinal.
The 30-year-old De los Santos will face in the final round Matias Moreno Domont of Switzerland.
Domont also earned a free ticket to the Final 16, where won against Norway’s Cornelius Johnson via disqualification. He defeated Wissem Yahya of Tunisia 24.1-23 in quarters and High Connolly of Ireland 3:2 after both received similar scores of 23.5 points in the semifinal.
De los Santos captured his 23rd gold medal early this week with a win against Alfredo Bustamante 25.7-24.3 in the Golden League Karate e-Tournament as results were posted by the World Karate Federation.