Japan’s Daiki Hashimoto dethroned reigning champion Zhang Boheng to win the men’s all-around final at the World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool on Friday.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Hashimoto tallied 87.198 to reverse the result of last year’s final in Kitakyushu and Wednesday’s men’s team final, when Zhang’s China beat Japan to gold.
It was the latest chapter in a developing rivalry between the two star gymnasts, who were separated by just 0.017 a year ago.
Hashimoto is widely hailed as the successor to Japan great Kohei Uchimura, who won an unprecedented six successive all-around titles between 2009 and 2015.
The 21-year-old, who won the all-around title and the horizontal bar event at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, hit the front on the second rotation after scoring 14.333 on the pommel, the best of the night on the apparatus.
Zhang stayed on his coattails throughout but Hashimoto held firm and a 14.433 score on the high bar was enough to seal the crown.
Hashimoto’s compatriot Wataru Tanigawa won the battle for bronze, with America’s Brody Malone fourth and British home favourite Jake Jarman fifth.
Zhang, who scored 86.765, has been on a redemption mission since being overlooked for last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The 22-year-old revealed he attempted a less complex routine due to ongoing physical issues.
“I did reduce some of my difficulty in my floor routine on purpose, because I am not 100 percent fit,” he said. “I am still battling with wrist and waist injuries.
“After two sections of podium training and the team final, I definitely felt a bit tired. That is why I would rather make it safer to reduce the difficulty, aiming for better execution.”