Gabriel Willcox is a marked man at gentle art tournaments the world over. He’s a regular visitor to the winners’ stands and among his main titles he boasts wins at the Brazilian Nationals and the Brazilian Team Nationals. Nevertheless, there’s one title that garnered the black belt the most kudos: the International Masters and Seniors.
“It’s funny. Ever since blue belt I’ve made it onto the winners’ stand at several important tournaments, but the International was the one most talked about,” he says.
In 2006, representing Carlson Gracie Team, the featherweight won at weight and open weight, overcoming the much heavier Jorge Patino Macaco in the open class semifinal.
“That match got me the most attention, I was even featured in GRACIEMAG. Everyone thought I’d lose because of the weight difference. But I fought really well and beat Macaco, who’s a great fighter. I think if was the first time a featherweight won both his weight group and the absolute as a black belt in the event. I remember how Barbosinha repeated the feat a year later, but in the senior division. It’s proof of how in Jiu-Jitsu technique can overcome strength,” he asserts.
This year Willcox is following the lead of a lot of other masters. He’s going to compete at both the International and the Rio Open, the adult event held simultaneously.
“I’m not going to miss the chance to compete against the guys in the adult tournament. I think I can still muster up the strength to fight with the kids for a few years yet!” he says in finishing.
Want to compete at the International and Rio Open? Find out more here.