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Friday, March 1, 2024

Spotlight on Joshiro Maruyama

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He has fought his domestic rival, Hifumi Abe, a total of six times, winning two and losing four (including their last three match-ups). But one player he has fought even more times is An Baul of South Korea whom he has beaten four times and lost three times. Still, the threat to his supremacy in the U66kg class is Abe.Maruyama also does yoko-tomoe-nage which he often does as a follow-up to an uchimata. Another technique that he does very well is sode-tsurikomi-goshi, which is done to the right.After Maruyama defeated Abe in the semifinal of the 2019 World Championships, (where he threw his compatriot with sumi-gaeshi), Abe changed tact and fought subsequent matches against Maruyama using strategy rather than trying to throw him. Abe is always prepared to draw out the match and watch the shidos accrue. And when Maruyama comes in for a big attack, Abe is always ready for the counter.JudoInside’s JudoCrazy partner, Oon Yeoh, is creating interesting content such as this series of articles about Olympic judo history. Support his efforts by subscribing to his Patreon or Substack.Despite the fact that he is a double World Champion, Maruyama was not chosen for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Abe (a quadruple World Champion and an Olympic Champion to boot) is the one going. As Maruyama is already 29 years old, it’s unlikely he will be around for LA 2028. But will he go for more World titles before he retires? Time will tell.A fan favorite because of his dynamic uchimata, Maruyama is one of the finest exponents of that technique. Many consider his uchimata to be even better than Shohei Ono’s. The elevation which Maruyama is able to achieve with this throw is quite remarkable.Joshiro Maruyama comes from a judo family. His father and his brother were both top-level international competitors. He began his international senior career in 2013 when he competed in the Tokyo Grand Slam. There, he lost in the semifinal against the stylish Brazilian player, Charles Chibana, in the quarterfinal.As a classical Japanese player, Maruyama likes to win by throwing his opponents. He doesn’t seem to like newaza much and he also doesn’t like to engage in tactical (shido) play. The latter has proven to be his weakness when going up against Abe.Support JudoCrazyMaruyama didn’t compete internationally in 2014 or 2015. When he returned to the IJF circuit in 2016, he was triumphant, winning gold at the Almaty Grand Prix, using his signature uchimata.

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