At last year’s European Championship, Claudio Calasans Jr. let the absolute title slip through his fingers by an advantage point, losing to Sérgio Moraes (Alliance) in the final.
But the Atos black belt, who is the middleweight champion of Portugal, is raring to compete at the 2012 Euro to feel the excitement again.
“I won’t say I’m 100% confirmed, but I’ll be there if all goes well. I competed at my first European Championship in 2011, and I noted how the championship has a different sort of charm to it. The gymnasium is packed every day, with fans from all over the world and a lively crowd. The environment stimulates us to give it our all, to reciprocate to the people of Lisbon,” said Calasans.
Though the gold may have escaped him, the Atos black belt isn’t thinking about revenge on Moraes, and he explains why.
“You can’t go into a championship of the European’s level thinking about just one name. There are a lot of tough guys who are there to win it. At the last Euro I had nine matches – four at weight and five at open weight –, and I have to be really well trained to win it this season. To me every match might as well be the final, regardless of whether I know my opponent or not; so I try not to compete against the name,” he added.
During the 2011 season, Calasans won at the Euro, the Pan, and the WPJJ in Abu Dhabi, only striking out at the Worlds – an excellent performance, according to Calasans. (Watch the Pan 2011 middleweight final between Claudio Calasans and Bruno Alves.)
“At the start of 2011, my main goals were to win the four biggest championships, the ones that count most: the Euro, the Pan, the Abu Dhabi WPJJ and the Worlds. I only came up short at the Worlds, where I tore a muscle in my shoulder at the end of my second match in the absolute, against Rodolfo Vieira. After that I still tried competing at weight, winning my first match by submission but feeling a lot of pain, which made me pull out. But I don’t regret having competed in the absolute, because I know what my chances of winning it are,” said Claudio, whose effectiveness in Jiu-Jitsu was clearly on display in the finals at the Euro, which he won by a choke from back mount, and at the Pan, which he won via wristlock.
With his sights set on the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Abu Dhabi next April, Calasans remembers that he hasn’t secured his berth there yet – he lost to Diego Borges in the final of the under-83 kg division at the tryouts in Manaus, but he guarantees he won’t be left out.
“I don’t yet know at which tryouts I’ll compete. Right now I’m in Brasília teaching seminars until the 13th, but once I’m back in São José dos Campos I’ll look at where I’m going to try and compete for a berth. One thing’s for sure, I’m not going to miss the championship in Abu Dhabi; I’ll be there going for my third title at weight and trying to get my second in the absolute. I’m coming up with subs more now, so I feel my Jiu-Jitsu is evolving more and more, and I want to keep it up in 2012. There’ll be no lack of training partners for me in doing so,” he said in finishing.
What about you, going to miss out on the IBJJF European Championship?