Tanquinho analyzes featherweights as the group of death: ‘It kept me awake’

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TAnquinho in action. Photo by Gustavo Aragão

TAnquinho in action. Photo by Gustavo Aragão

Augusto Tanquinho is one of dozens of stars confirmed for the Pan 2013, to be held from March 20 to 24, in Irvine, Calif. There are so many tough ones enrolled that some black belt categories are being called “the group of death,” especially the middleweight and featherweight. In the 70kg featherweight with gi division, Tanquinho will compete with the myths Rubens Cobrinha, Rafael Mendes, Mario Reis and even against his father-in-law, the experienced Wellington Megaton. There’s also Isque Paiva, Kim Terra, Osvaldo Moizinho, Italo Lins, Ed Ramos, Samir Chantre. The Soul Fighters professor spoke about what he waits for in this fight. Check it out:

GracieMag: How will you get to the Pan 2013?

AUGUSTO TANQUINHO: I’m doing excellent physical preparation and training hard twice a day. I am confident. I still need to lose weight, but I’m training hard. My ultimate goal is WPJJC Abu Dhabi in April and the World Championship in May. Pan is actually an excellent test for me to correct some errors and arrive at my best in the Worlds. Featherweight is filled with tough guys, there won’t be easy fights in any rounds, but I’m focused on my first opponent, the scale (laughs).

What mistakes are you already correcting? What is your strongest aspect for this event in Irvine?

It’s hard to talk about qualities and shortcomings. I think my strong side today is to have a versatile game that allows me to fight on top or under the same way. I have a lot of shortcomings during the fights, and a major one, which I must always fight against, is to talk to the referee. But I’m much better in this aspect. Because I know the rules well, sometimes I would notice an error in my combats and speak to the referee immediately, with the intention of making him remember and correct it. Today I’m not talking anymore; I just go in and fight. If they make a mistake or not, I just have to find a way to win by fighting.

The IBJJF will perform drug tests in Pan and it should do it in other big events. What did you think about it?

I think it’s cool to make the sport evolve, but I have some criticisms. We should keep in mind that Jiu-Jitsu is still an amateur sport. We still don’t have someone who tells us which supplements we can take or not. The athletes themselves have to visit a website only available in English and research substance by substance within each supplement he take so he won’t get a positive result. Anyway, in other sports with drug testing athletes have doctors and physiologists working for them, while we have to do everything on our own. Now, the funny thing is that several athletes who were always giving interviews asking for the drug test now didn’t even enroll.

How is the rivalry with Leandro Lo now that you fought back in the final of the Arizona Open…

I’m not thinking about Lo, after all we are in different categories in the Pan. Since I won’t fight the absolute, we are not facing each other in Irvine. We fought recently in Arizona in different categories, we got to the absolute final and fought. Now I’m going to featherweight and he will fight in at middleweight, so I don’t need to think about him.  The featherweight already has too many aces keeping me awake (laughs)…

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