Anton Geesink

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Antonius "Anton" Johannes Geesink (April 6, 1934 – August 27, 2010) [2] was a Dutch 10th-dan judoka from Utrecht. He was a three-time World Judo Champion (1961, 1964 and 1965), Olympic Gold Medalist (1964) and won 21 European championships. He was 6'6" (1.98m) tall and at one time weighed 320 pounds (145 kg).

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Judo career

Geesink first participated in the European Championships in 1951, and placed second in his category. The following year, he won his first European title. Through to 1967, twenty more European titles followed.

At the 1961 World Championships, Geesink became World Champion in the open class, defeating the Japanese champion Koji Sone. Japanese judokas had won all the World Championship titles contested up to that point.

Judo debuted as an official sport at the 1964 Summer Olympics, which were held in the sport's home country, Japan. Although Japan dominated three of the four weight divisions (light, middle and heavy), Anton Geesink won the final of the open weight division, defeating Akio Kaminaga in front of his home crowd.

After winning the 1965 World Championships and a last European title in 1967, Geesink quit competitive judo.

Anton Geesink was one of the few living 10th Dan grade judoka (jūdan) recognized by the IJF (but not by Kodokan). Promotions from 6th to 10th Dan are awarded for services to the sport of judo. In 2010 there are three living 10th dan grade judoka (jūdan) recognized by Kodokan: Toshiro Daigo, Ichiro Abe and Yoshimi Osawa. The Kodokan has not awarded the 10th Dan to anybody outside of Japan.

Professional wrestling career

In October 1973, All Japan Pro Wrestling owner Giant Baba recruited Anton Geesink to join AJPW. Baba sent him to Amarillo, TX and Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk trained him for a month. He worked for All Japan from 1973 to 1978, as a popular part-timer.

Geesink's notable professional wrestling opponents included Bruno Sammartino, Gorilla Monsoon, Dick Murdoch, Dory Funk Jr., Bobby Duncum, Bob Remus (Sgt. Slaughter), and Jumbo Tsuruta.

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