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World champion Haga triumphs in battle of attrition against Denisov
2 Jul 2017 13:30
Japanese World champion Haga Ryunosuke showed his resolve to defeat Tokyo Grand Slam winner Kirill Denisov of Russia in the U100kg final and establish some form before defending his world crown in Budapest.
Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Haga, 26, and four-time world medallist Denisov, 29, were locked in an intense gripping duel as they squared off for the first time. The Russian was on the back foot in golden score while Haga was upright even after three minutes of added time with good posture. The Japanese has hopes of retaining his red backpatch next month and experienced that winning feeling seven weeks out from Hungary after his opponent infringed for the final time with a blatant false attack.
In the first semi-final world number seven Martin Pacek (SWE) tapped out to Haga who employed a neat piece of kansetsu-waza to force his way into the final by ippon. In the second semi-final Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Kazbek Zankishiev (RUS) fell to teammate Denisov who won by ippon from a textbook foot sweep.
The first bronze medal was won by Zankishiev who steered Russia back onto the medal trail. Former Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Zlatko Kumric (CRO) was second best throughout and lost out by hansoku-make after being penalised three times.
The second bronze medal was won by Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Joakim Dvarby (SWE) with 29 seconds left as he captured his country’s first medal in Hohhot. Dvarby defeated top seed Pacek by the maximum score as both men put forward a credible display for Sweden’s four-strong team.
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Igor Pereira (BRA)
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