In an unprecedented winner-takes-all bout on Sunday, world champions previous and current will combat for the ultimate place on Japan’s Olympic crew within the males’s -66kg.
Developing on Sunday (13 December) is a primary within the lengthy historical past of Japanese judo.
Tokyo’s Kodokan Institute, the mecca of worldwide judo, will see reigning world champion Maruyama Joshiro and former two-time champion Abe Hifumi lock horns in a one-off conflict for the final spot on Japan’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic crew within the males’s -66kg class.
Maruyama has had a minuscule edge over Abe up to now with 4 wins from seven profession conferences, six of which went into additional time.
The match is just too near name and being billed like a heavyweight boxing bout in Japan because of its distinctive winner-takes-all significance.
In a press release issued by the All Japan Judo Federation, Maruyama mentioned, “I’m greater than conscious of the eye this match is getting.
“I do know there are a lot of folks, particularly within the medical neighborhood, struggling to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and realise they assume that is no time for sports activities.
“Nonetheless, all I can do is combat with appreciation for what they do and encourage them anyway I can, hopefully.”
Abe is hoping to affix youthful sister Uta, the reigning two-time -52kg world champion, within the squad for Tokyo.
He sounds the extra assured of the 2, stating, “I’ve been making ready like for this match like I by no means have earlier than.
“On the thirteenth, I’ll stick with the judo I do know – ippon judo all the way in which – and I’m going to qualify for the Olympics.” – Abe Hifumi
The Kodokan can be sealed off on Sunday. Each judoka have been examined for COVID and can be remoted till the day of the match.
The rivalry between the pair intensified in November 2018 when Maruyama beat Abe, the then two-time defending world champion, within the Osaka Grand Slam closing.
Maruyama then wrested the world title away from Abe on the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo.
Abe struck again on the Osaka Grand Slam that yr and, with Maruyama out injured, received the Grand Slam Dusseldorf in February.
That made the choice course of a headache for AJJF officers, particularly given the absence of competitions in opposition to the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
However on Sunday, the world will discover out which man can be standing on the mat of the Budokan for Japan subsequent July.