Olympic and world champion Shohei Ono defeated former world champion An Changrim (KOR) to win U73kg gold in the most anticipated category on day two. Tenri University superstar Ono clinched his fifth Grand Slam title as the 2019 world champion beat the 2018 world champion in a closely-contested final between two of the biggest stars in the sport.
Ono, whose mere appearance in the field of play was met with a chorus of applause, successfully found a way through with his uchi-mata as An slipped to his sixth defeat against his arch-rival in as many contests. A return to form by An is a welcome sight for South Korea while Ono improved his winning-streak to 35 consecutive contests and looks untouchable as he plots an Olympic title defence this summer in Tokyo.
In the first semi-final Olympic silver medallist Rustam Orujov (AZE) was held down by AN for his second waza-ari score to the disappointment of the well-travelled Azeri fans who were in good voice earlier in the day. In the second semi-final Ono waited for his moment and launched European Games winner Tommy Macias (SWE) up and over with his lethal uchi-mata for ippon with 54 seconds left on the clock.
The first bronze medal was won by Rio 2016 Olympian Tsend-Ochir Tsogtbaatar (MGL) at the expense of Macias. The Swede attacked with a ko-soto-gake and was tied up with the Mongolian who relished that position and drove forward for an o-uchi-gari for ippon after two minutes.
The second bronze medal went to Orujov who rolled over Tel Aviv Grand Prix bronze medallist Martin Hojak (SLO) for a waza-ari score. Hojak had to receive treatment twice for a nose bleed and still acquitted himself but was never able to unsettle the Azeri ace.