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Frenchman Steven Da Costa triple world karate champion, his compatriot Mehdi Filali wins his first title

When he competes in the final, he wins. Steven Da Costa has just provided proof of this once again, on Saturday, during the world championships in Budapest. The emblematic karateka of the French team has not lost a fight in the final since March 19, 2016. The 2021 Tokyo Olympic champion is now a triple world champion.

At the end of a tense final, the Meurthois (- 67 kg) beat the Montenegrin Nenad Dulovic (5-3), who previously fought in a lower weight category, in – 60 kg. But Dulovic offered tough opposition to the Frenchman, even believing he would win at the last second when the judges awarded him three points on a final move. But this decision was ultimately overturned by video refereeing.

This new title confirms the almost infallibility of Da Costa, flagship of a family based in Mont-Saint-Martin and entirely devoted to this martial art. Coached by father Michel, Steven trains with his brothers Jessie and Logan, member and former member of the French team.

Mehdi Filali wins in the + 84 kg category

On Wednesday, the three-time world champion experienced some scares at the start of the competition. Trailing 3-4 a few seconds from the end during a second round against Tunisian Laith Haddaji, he forced the decision thanks to a spectacular kick (6-4). The rest was easier, in the third and fourth rounds (9-0 and 5-0), then in the quarter-final (5-1), before a very close fight in the semi-final against the Kazakh Didar Amiral.

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In 2018, Steven Da Costa triumphed for the first time at world level by dominating the Brazilian Vinicius Figueira. In 2021, a few months after the Olympics, he dominated another Montenegrin, Emil Pavlol, with a clear score of 8-0.

Da Costa is not the only French world champion in Budapest since Mehdi Filali won at the start of the afternoon in the + 84 kg category. The karatekas, inseparable friends for ten years and both licensed to the Mont-Saint-Martin club, repeat their feat from the last European Championships, in March 2023, where they had already been crowned on the same day.

During an interview with the Karate-K TV channel, after their respective victories in Guadalajara (Spain), the two friends displayed their complicity. “Mehdi has finally gotten to his level, where he should be. It’s an accomplishment”congratulated Steven Da Costa. “Steven has the dream career, he has won everything you can win in karate. It’s a model. And what’s more, he’s my friend.”confided Mehdi Filali.

In Budapest, Filali won six fights to win his first world title, and his second consecutive major championship. In the final, he dominated the Egyptian Taha Tarek Mahmoud (3-1). His most closely fought fight came in the second round, where Thai fighter Teerawat Kangtong pushed him to a draw. The Frenchman was declared the winner by the judges’ decision.

The French team added two other bronze medals on Saturday to the provisional results of these Worlds. Alizée Agier (- 68 kg) won the fight for third place against the Spaniard Isabel Nieto Mejias. Laura Sivert also won the bronze medal against the Vietnamese Thi My Tam Hoang in – 61 kg.

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On Sunday, the French combat team – with Steven and Jessie Da Costa, Mehdi Filali, Thanh-Liêm Lê, Kilian Cizo, Enzo Berthon and Younesse Salmi – will try to win a new bronze medal against the Kazakhstan team, after being eliminated by Egypt in the semi-final.

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