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Joshiro Maruyama shocked world champion Hifumi Abe in the Osaka Grand Slam final. Naming Maruyama is one of the most attractive players of 2018. The competition is tight in Japan in the category U66kg between both rivals who know each-other so well from their youth. They trained together, grew up to together and cleaned the mat together.
Osaka Grand Slam winner Maruyama Joshiro is on the verge of breaking out after defeating Abe Hifumi in the final. Maruyama, who trains under 1984 Olympic champion Hosokawa Shinji at Tenri University alongside Ono Shohei, then won the World Judo Masters title with four ippons from four contests.
Only one of them can be selected for 2020 and Maruyama is seemingly better equipped than anyone else to overcome the Tokyo Olympiad poster boy. Another match-up with him and Abe would be finger-licking for any judo fan. Will the Grand Slam of Paris will be the podium for a rematch?
Maruyama captured gold at the Grand Slam in Osaka in 2018 against Abe. Maruyama won the World Masters in 2018 in Guangzhou. He won silver at the Grand Slam in Tokyo in 2017 and Paris Grand Slam 2018. In 2016 Maruyama was far from his current level but won the Grand Prix of Almaty (KAZ). He also won the Olympic Test event in Rio in March 2016.
Hifumi Abe became World Champion in 2018 in Baku and 2017 in Budapest. He became well known since he won the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in 2014. He fought the World Junior Championships final in 2014 and won silver at the World Cadet Championships in Miami. Abe won the Grand Slam in Tyumen and Grand Slam in Tokyo in 2016 as youngest winner. In 2017 he won the Grand Slams in Paris, Tokyo and Ekaterinburg.
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