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MALONEY STRIKES WORLDS GOLD

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By Patrick Lujan

Robert Maloney gets his hands raised in victory, winning his second straight Jiu-Jitsu World Championship medal at the Mundials. (courtesy photo)

Robert Maloney gets his hands raised in victory, winning his second straight Jiu-Jitsu World Championship medal at the Mundials. (courtesy photo)

Back-to-back world champion.

Add yet another huge accomplishment to Robert Maloney’s long list of achievements in Jiu-Jitsu.

Maloney won his second straight IBJJF World Championship, taking the 175-lb. blue belt juvenile division – the same as a year ago at the Mundials – the biggest Jiu-Jitsu tournament in the world.

“It feels great,” the 17-year-old told GSPN. “All the hard work I  put in over the years and showing it on the mats today, it feels awesome.”

Maloney went through four matches, winning by bow-and-arrow choke in the first round, 11-0 in the second round and 6-2 in the third round before finally taking the gold medal match 4-0 over a tough Brazilian.

He said he had extra drive of winning it this year since it’s his last Worlds competition in the juvenile division. Robert turns 18 next February.

“The competition was pretty tough. A lot of great fighters.”

Competiting in the third day of the Mundials, Maloney had a chance to watch the open division compete prior to his competition day.

“It makes me more nervous but excited at the same time,” he said about watching the older divisions. “I see how people get caught in some moves, and I think about it and I make sure I don’t get caught in that.”

Meeting the Best

In between matches, it’s not hard to bump into the likes of Caio Terra, the Mendes brothers or Rodolfo Vieira. For Maloney, meeting Marcus Buchecha was a dream come true.

“He’s the No. 1 black belt,” Maloney said. “I didn’t know what to say. I love his Jiu-Jitsu. I watched him for one whole week (on youtube) and and I wanted to do the same moves at Worlds. I pulled off one of them.”

Mother’s Perspective

With his next move going into the open division, Maloney is already a physical specimen. His mother Edwina feels his mental game is right along with it.

“I do believe that he is ready for the next level,” Mama Maloney said. “He has good team support, not only from his gym, but he gets it from everyone. A lot of islanders know him and a lot of fighters respond to him. I think he’s ready.”

Good Luck Gi

Maloney has worn these gi pants in both his Worlds Championships with the GSPN logo on the back. (courtesy photo)

Maloney has worn these gi pants in both his Worlds Championships with the GSPN logo on the back. (courtesy photo)

Two world championships in a row. Could it be the gi as his Lucky Charm?

A year ago heading into the Worlds, Edwina Maloney cut up a GSPN shirt and sewed on the logo behind the right leg of Robert’s gi. He’s used that set twice in Worlds competition and he’s been champion both times. Coincidence?

NOTES: Other Guam practitioners who won medals at the Worlds were Brogan Walker (silver), David Harris (bronze) and Dylan Pablo (bronze).

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QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
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Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

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