Burton is thwarted by ‘bogey’ foe Mrvaljevic
The 32-year-old from Edinburgh – ranked in the top six for the half-middleweight division – had targeted a podium finish to add to his world bronze medals from 2007 and 2009.
However, after impressing as he strangled out Kazakhstan fighter Islam Bozbayev in his opening bout, Burton was frustrated by Srdjan Mrvaljevic of Montenegro, collecting two penalties against a strong, but negative opponent whom he was unable to overturn.
“It was a tough second match against Mrvaljevic who is a bit of a bogeyman for me. I have lost a couple of times (to him) in a similar fashion after tight fights on tactical stuff,” said Burton. “He does not threaten to score very much, he is not a big thrower or judo player – he just stands there. But because he is so strong he looks quite dominant and is a difficult guy for me to fight.
“There are other big, tall, aggressive left-handers, but not ones who fight so strong and so negative as that. I thought I had a plan for him, but it just did not work out this time.”
Mrvaljevic progressed to win Pool D, and faces world No 2, Brazilian Leandro Guilheiro, for a crack at the gold medal. Burton added: “I just have to come up with another answer for him specifically – it is more than likely he will be at the Olympic Games. I can’t just hope I don’t get him in the draw. I have to have a plan for how I am going to fight him or whether I just have to execute the one we have better.”
Despite not being able to medal in Paris, Burton is not despondent as focus remains on delivering success when it matters most in a year’s time.
“I am disappointed, but I have always said it is not a huge setback not to win the tournaments,” he added. “It does not mean I am not going to be able to win the Olympic Games next year – and it does not mean I can’t finish on the top of the podium at the next event I fight in.”
There was more disappointment in the women’s under-63kg, where both Sarah Clark and Faith Pitman also lost in the second round.
Edinburgh judoka Clark was awarded victory over Fary Seye after the Senegal fighter failed to show up at the allotted time, which set her up against world No 2 Gevrise Emane of France. However, Clark lost to an ippon throw against the home favourite at the Palais Omnisports. She said: “There were a couple of pointers from the fight I can take away which were positive, because there were times in the middle part of the contest when I was in control.
“Each fight, win or lose, you always need to take something from it, but of course I would have been happier with a longer performance at the championship.”
The middleweight competition starts today with veteran two-times former Olympian Winston Gordon and Edinburgh fighter Sally Conway – gold medalist at the 2011 Hamburg European Cup – both in action.