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Overlooked Joshiro Maruyama upstages Japanese prodigy Abe Hifumi
23 Nov 2018 14:10
Maruyama Joshiro of Japan stole the show in the U66kg category as he outshone two-time and reigning world champion Abe Hifumi (JPN). Maruyama defeated the seven-time Grand Slam winner in the last contest on day one in Osaka with a yoko-tomoe-nage effort catching Abe off guard after 63 seconds of golden score.
Maruyama, who is the younger brother of U81kg international judoka Maruyama Goki, learnt that specialist technique from 1984 Olympic champion and 1985 world Champion Hosokawa Shinji who nodded with approval at the end of the contest.
"I could tell all the fans were cheering for Abe and that really motivated me, I was determined to win today and I’m very happy,” said the -66kg gold medallist.
In the first semi-final Yondonperenlei Baskhuu (MGL) was on the receiving end of a terrific ippon from Abe who dismissed the Mongolian in style. In the second semi-final Maruyama defeated Tunis Grand Prix silver medallist Fujisaka Taroh (JPN) in a scoreless contest when the latter received his third shido for passivity in golden score.
The first bronze medal was won by Cancun Grand Prix winner Aram Grigoryan (RUS) who threw Fujisaka with te-waza after successive attacks. Grand Slam newcomer Fujisaka had to settle for fifth-place as Russia made their presence felt in the -66kg category.
The second bronze medal went to Yondonperenlei who beat former Ekaterinburg Grand Slam bronze medallist Islam Khametov (RUS) with a o-soto-gari with 39 seconds left on the clock which earned the Mongolian’s second waza-ari to win his country’s second medal in Osaka
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