The latest Judo News offered by

Khalmurzaev, Nagase or a surprise World Champion U81kg?

31 Aug 2017 00:10

 JudoInside & JudoCrazy    IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

In the category U81kg there remains two big prospects for the World title in Budapest: Olympic Champion Khasan Khalmurzaev of Russia and World Champion Takanori Nagase of Japan. Both have fought very little since the 2016 Rio Olympics, but when they did, they shone brightly. Here in Budapest they are in the same pool and may meet in the quarter final.

Khalmurzaev won the 2017 Ekaterinburg Grand Slam while Nagase won the 2016 Tokyo Grand Slam. These men have fought only once, in 2015 at the Rabat World Masters where Nagase was triumphant. The interesting thing is that while Khalmurzaev is ranked No. 5th, Nagase is currently outside the Top 10. Depending on the draw, they might end up on the same side of the pool, which means they could meet earlier in the day rather than in the final.

Alan Khubetsov of Russia is the current World No. 1 and has a great sode-tsurikomi-goshi. He is also the European Champion but he doesn't have the track record of Khalmurzaev. He may face Valois Fortier of Canada who's ready to fire here but so is his opponent Alexander Wieczerzak of Germany.

Attila Ungvari (WRL-3) is the home favorite. He did well in the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam where he made it to the final (he lost to Khalmurzaev there). With home ground advantage, he might just pull off an upset. He had a good draw and may meet with another exciting player to watch Ivaylo Ivanov (WRL-6) of Bulgaria. Frank De Wit (WRL-2) of the Netherlands, both of whom use a modified version of the Khabarelli technique with great effect. De Wit is linked to Zebeda Rekhviashvili, one of them will survive and reach the quarter finals.

For more traditional or classical judo you have to look at Victor Penalber of Brazil, who has massive throwing skills. Lastly, it's worth looking out for Antoine Valois-Fortier who recently won the Hohhot Grand Prix, defeating Russia's Khubetsov. Penalber is in the pool of death of Khalmuzraev and Nagase.

The U81kg category used to be loaded with lots of really top and exciting players like South Korea's World & Olympic Champion Kim Jae-Bum (now retired), Georgia's World Champion Avtandili Tchrikishvili (not selected U90kg), France's World Champion Loic Pietri (not selected U90kg) and USA's Olympic Silver Medalist Travis Stevens (his his first BJJ fight last week).

Now there is a new order, led by the Russians, but there are also possible surprises, such as Saeid Mollaei (IRI) or perhaps good old Laszlo Csoknyai. However, below are some real game-changers not yet mentioned.

Possible quarter finallists

Alan Khubetsov vs Emmanuel Lucenti

Frank de Wit vs Saeid Mollaei

Attila Ungvari vs Ivaylo Ivanov

Victor Penalber vs Khasan Khalmurzaev

Previous World Champions

1999      Graeme Randall (GBR)

2001      In-Chul Cho (KOR)

2003      Florian Wanner (GER)

2005      Guillaume Elmont (NED)

2007      Tiago Camilo (BRA)

2009      Ivan Nifontov (RUS)

2010      Jae-Bum Kim (KOR)

2011      Jae-Bum Kim (KOR)

2013      Loïc Pietri (FRA)

2014      Avtandili Tchrikishvili (GEO)

2015      Takanori Nagase (JPN)

The game changers

Antoine Valois-Fortier of Canada won the Olympic Games bronze in London 2012, in Rio he finished seventh. Valois-Fortier fought in the 2014 World Championships final against Tchrikishvili and took bronze in 2015. In July 2017 he won gold at the Grand Prix in Hohhot, Khubetsov will be his major test after Wieczerzak.

Georgian Zebeda Rekhviashvili came back strong in 2017 and won silver at the Grand Slam in Paris. He took bronze at the Grand Slam in Ekaterinburg in 2017 and with his unorthodox moves he can surprise anyone and entertain the crowd, for sure. De Wit will be his first major target.

Sergiu Toma (UAE) won Olympic bronze in Rio 2016. He won the Grand Slam of Abu Dhabi in 2016 but since then he hasn't been successful. Still he is able to make a difference.

Uuganbaatar Otgonbaatar (MGL) won a bronze medal at the Grand Slam in Baku in 2017. He took more than 10 IJF World Tour medals, but no gold yet.  He beat Ivanov, Ungvari, Toma and Penalber previously.

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Takanori Nagase (JPN) - World Championships Budapest (2017, HUN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Alan Khubetsov (RUS) - World Championships Budapest (2017, HUN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Frank De Wit (NED) - World Championships Budapest (2017, HUN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

Related Judo Videos

Related Judo News


Portuguese judo celebrates best year ever

16 Nov 2019 18:30

Sporting Clube de Portugal were crowned double European Judo Champion after beating Yawara-Newa in the men's Champions League final 3-2. In Odivelas best clubs of Europe were gathered for the annual Champions League for clubs, which featured the 8 Best Men's and Women's Teams in Europe. Read more


Without Muki the category U81kg is open for predators

21 Jun 2019 08:05

Without Israelian star Sagi Muki the European Championships title U81kg is open for anyone. Muki is the biggest prospect for World gold in Tokyo for Israel. In their successful team Muki continues to grow towards the absolute highest level U81kg. However the Israelians chose not go to the European Games and have selected the Grand Prix in Budapest which is the first European event for 100% qualification points. The European Games will only deliver 700 points for the winner but deducted with 50% next year. Read more


Frank de Wit rediscovers the taste of gold

30 Mar 2019 17:10

Former World number one Frank De Wit of the Netherlands won his country’s second gold medal of the day with a professional performance against number 108 Timo Cavelius (GER). De Wit went for broke in early exchanges before settling down and establishing his dominance as first-time IJF finalist Cavelius struggled to threaten the Dutch star. Read more


Takeshi Sasaki wins his second IJF gold in a month

16 Dec 2018 11:30

Japanese middleweight Sasaki Takeshi defeated European Championships bronze medallist Aslan Lappinagov (RUS) to record the highest profile win of his career. The world number 13 defeated the world number seven as the Russian had to settle for silver for the second year in a row at the Masters. Read more


Iranian World Champion Mollaei in tough pool in Guangzhou

14 Dec 2018 10:20

At the IJF World Masters in Guangzhou, world number one Mollaei has made the 2018 season his own with a sensational year that has made him a household name in the sport and a hero in Iran. Read more

Judo birthday

Result City Date
1Qingdao13 Dec
2Osaka23 Nov
3Brasilia7 Oct
1Tokyo1 Sep
1Montreal5 Jul
Result City Date
3Qingdao13 Dec
1Osaka23 Nov
5Budapest13 Jul
3Fukuoka7 Apr
2Düsseldorf22 Feb


First description Second description Third description Four description