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For judofans Shohei Ono was one the biggest sensations of the Olympic Games. Due to injuries we haven’t seen him fighting too much but he will be back at the Osaka Judo Grand Slam 2018, the fifth and final Grand Slam of the season, held at the Maruzen Intec Arena, Japan.
After Grand Slam events in Paris, Düsseldorf, Ekaterinburg and Abu Dhabi, the IJF World Judo Tour has arrived in the sport’s homeland and host nation of the next Olympiad with a great field U73kg.
Japan’s Grand Slam, which is being held in Osaka rather Tokyo due to preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is a special event and is one of the most renowned events on the calendar.
Rio 2016 Olympic champion Shohei Ono, the thrower of throwers, will compete in his second IJF event of the season. The 2013 and 2015 world champion won the Düsseldorf Grand Slam in February and claimed the Asian Games title in August. The Tenri University judoka will send pulses racing again in the stands and for those watching online and on television with his explosive judo as he makes his long-awaited return to the IJF tour where his welcoming committee will include double Olympic medallist Lasha Shavdatuashvili (GEO) and three-time world champion and double Olympic bronze medallist Ebinuma Masashi (JPN). ONO, who since Rio 2016 has completed his thesis and gone toe-to-toe with Japan’s best heayvweights at the All Japan Openweight Championships, has never faced former world champion Hashimoto Soichi (JPN) on the IJF World Judo Tour but that dream clash will have to wait as the latter has pulled out due to an elbow injury.
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