Preview U66kg Doha: Abe and Maruyama warm-up for that final battle
It’s the Japanese day at day 2 with the Abe siblings but it’s also hard choosing between Hifumi Abe and Joshiro Maruyama who will take the gold at the World Judo Championships in Doha U66kg. Both are big throwers but Abe seems to be more capable tactically, and thus has the edge. We’d go with Abe. Denis Vieru, is the world ranked No. 1, but he has fought both Abe and Maruyama twice each, and lost to both of them each time.
Still, if anyone is going to disrupt either Abe or Maruyama, it's likely to be world number one Denis Vieru of Moldova. Although it’s not super obvious as he is in pool A with Israels Tal Flicker and France’s Walide Khyar. The man who can surprise is Yago Abuladze (AIN) as we don’t know his form. He is the World Champion of 2021, not such as long time ago.
Vazha Margvelashvili is the man with the most World Cup medals and the man who medalled at both World Championships and Olympic Games. Georgia’s Margvelashvili is smart, fights with spirit and might have to be the one to face Hifumi Abe in the quarter final of Pool B.
Mongolia’s Baskhuu Yondonperenlei is the world’s number two. Orkhan Safarov (AZE) is the other seeded player. Also French Daikii Bouba is on form. Sardor Nurrilaev could surprise Yondonperenlei. Italian Elios Manzi is as always the dark horse like he was last year in Tashkent.
The man to beat is Maruyama in Pool D. With Baruch Shmailov as candidate to face him we’d take a risk as also Gusman Kyrgyzbayev and Kyrgyz sensation Kubanychek Aibek Uluu can surprise, but Aibek Uluu is matched with An Baul, the Olympic silver medallist. Based upon reputation the Korean could be the chosen one to face Maruyama. Maruyama won’t waste any sweat before the quarter finals.
Without a doubt Ukraine's European Champion Bogdan Iadov will be missed in this field.