Iran’s world champion Mohammadreza Kheirollahzadeh faces Uzbek Shirin Sharipov in the final of the +100 kg category at the IBSA Judo Grand Prix in Baku.
Kheirollahzadeh aims to prove once again that he is the undisputed para-judo champion in the sport’s top weight.
He beat UK’s Jack Hodgson in just 33 seconds in an explosive semi-final. But he won’t underestimate his opponent in the final. In the shock defeat of the competition for the fans lining the Heydar Aliyev Arena, Sharipov saw off Azerbaijan Paralympic legend Ilham Zakiyev in only six seconds. Sharipov won bronze at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.
Two-time Paralympic champion Zakiyev still hopes to win a bronze medal in front of his home fans in Baku. The 39-year-old judoka defeated Georgian Revaz Chikoidze to stay in contention for the third place.
Chikoidze lost his first match against Kheirollahzadeh, but he beat Cuban Yordani Fernandez Sastre to face Zakiyev.
The other bronze medal match will see 2012 London Paralympics champion Kento Masaki of Japan facing Britain’s Jack Hodgson. Masaki lost his opening match against Zakiyev, but went on to defeat Algerian Hamza Harkat in the repechage.