A rising Cloverdale judo star is coming off a couple of big wins.
Cloverdale’s Lowan Le Bris recently fought a very tough string of matches to win a U16 judo bronze medal in Quebec at nationals and he recently defeated a top-ranked American kid in the Fight To Win competition.
The 14-year-old Le Bris competes in the U16 division in the 60 kg weight class.
At nationals, he won his first match before dropping his second match against a tough fighter from Lethbridge.
“Lowan was pretty even with his opponent,” said Jeremy Le Bris, Lowan’s dad and coach. “In the ‘golden score,’ he made a mistake and he lost.”
(In judo, if a match is tied after five minutes then the fighters compete in a “golden score” period in which the first athlete to score wins, or the first athlete to receive a penalty loses.)
After his loss, Lowan went into the repechage bracket and rattled off five wins in a row to claim the bronze medal May 21. Jeremy said Lowan traversed a very tough road to capture that bronze medal at Montreal’s Claude-Robillard Sports Complex.
“He had a total of seven fights,” added Jeremy. “That’s a lot. For a judo competition, that’s a lot of fights.”
Lowan’s path to nationals went through two big, highly competitive tournaments. He medalled in both the Edmonton International Judo Championship and the Pacific International Judo Tournament.
“He’s now in the running to be selected for the Canada Games,” said Jeremy. “To be selected, he needs to be ranked seventh, or higher, in U16 in B.C. Right now he’s ranked fourth.”
In terms of Fight To Win (F2W), Lowan rattled off a big victory in Seattle June 18.
“Fight To Win is an organization like UFC,” explained Jeremy. “But it’s strictly for martial arts like Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, no-gi and others.”
F2W invited Lowan to fight American Gabriel Borisch. Both kids have roughly the same profile. Borisch medalled at U.S. nationals, the kids are the same age, and they have the same belts.
“It was a very good fight,” said Jeremy. “It was much different than a judo competition. It’s on a stage, there are lights, music, smoke. It was a show.”
F2W describes itself as “hosting live events across the United States that focus on highlighting top local grapplers and creating an experience closer to a Las Vegas boxing match than a traditional (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) tournament.”
Lowan won his match against Borisch by decision.
“The rules are a bit different than the normal rules of judo,” explained Jeremy. “They allowed for two ippon, in judo it’s only one, and also they were able to grab the leg, but in judo you aren’t allowed to grab the leg.”
Jeremy said before 2012, judo competitors were allowed to grab the leg, but the move was banned after 2012.
“It was a very good experience for him,” added Jeremy. “He had to fight with all the additional pressure from the lights, music, and a screaming audience.”
Lowan will next fight in the U.S. Open Judo Championships in July in Florida.