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Ebinuma captures gold for Japan at judo worlds


Masashi Ebinuma won all six of his bouts by ippon in the 66-kg division en route to giving Japan its second men’s gold medal of the judo world championships on Tuesday.

The 2011 world champion put on a master class in Rio de Janeiro as he showed resolve and passion to go with his unparalleled ability on the second day of action, defeating little-known Azamat Mukanov of Kazakhstan in the final.

The Japanese stormed to victory by charging forward and throwing Mukanov with an ouchi-gari for ippon.

“I was up against an opponent that wanted to try and win on the borderline of what is legal so I too fought with my heart and soul,” said Ebinuma, whose victory followed up Naohisa Takato’s victory in the 60-kg final on Monday.

“Last time (at the world championships) I was reckless in my bid to secure the gold but I think through the London Olympics I have made progress.”

Masaaki Fukuoka took bronze in the 66 kg and Yuki Hashimoto placed third in the women’s 52 kg.

Ebinuma’s win provided Japan with a fresh boost after the country’s men finished without a gold medal for the first time ever at last year’s London Olympics.

“I want to tell him again how great his fighting spirit was,” said men’s coach Kosei Inoue. “Over two days I am pleased as these three (Takato, Ebinuma and Fukuoka) have fought with the awareness that they are representing their country.”

After two days of action, Japan has two gold medals, one silver and two bronze.