Japan Sweeps Gold-Medal Matches on First Night of Women’s Freestyle

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – The Japanese women’s freestyle team went four-for-four in Thursday night’s U23 World Championship finals in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Haruna OKUNO and Yuzuru KUMANO each won their second World gold medals of the year.

Senior World champion and 2016 Cadet World champion Okuno bested Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) in the 55 kg finals with a 5-2 win.

The first takedown went to Kurachkina, but Okuno persisted and fought her way to five unanswered points and the third World gold medal of her young career.

Junior World champion Kumano also tallied her second World title of the year on Thursday, defeating 2014 Junior World champion Battsetseg ALTANTSETSEG (MGL).

Altantsetseg led at the break, 1-0. At the whistle, Kumano put the Mongolian to her back for four points and rolled right into a gut wrench. It was a lead that Altantseteg was unable to overcome. Kumano went on to win 6-1.

Points were flying at 63 kg, where Ayana GEMPEI (JPN) pulled out a last-second win over Braxton STONE (CAN), who was one of two finalists for Canada.

Now-four-time World medalist Stone held an 8-5 lead with 10 seconds left in the match. Forcing Stone toward the edge, Gempei threw the Canadian with a body lock for four points and an eventual 10-8 win.

At 75 kg, Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) won with a technical fall over Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN) in the second period. Matsuyuki’s offense proved to be too much as she fired off four takedowns en route World gold.

Finals results

55 kg
Gold – Haruna OKUNO (JPN) dec. Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR), 5-2
Bronze – Alina AKOBIIA (UKR) win by fall Bediha GUN (TUR)
Bronze – Nina MENKENOVA (RUS) dec. Simona PRICOB (ROU), 5-0

58 kg
Gold – Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) dec. Battsetseg ALTANTSETSEG (MGL), 6-1
Bronze – Elin Johanna NILSSON (SWE) win by fall Xiaosen WANG (CHN)
Bronze – Tetyana KIT (UKR) dec. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE), 3-1

63 kg
Gold – Ayana GEMPEI (JPN) dec. Braxton Rei STONE (CAN), 10-8
Bronze – Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE) win by fall Tatiana SMOLIAK (RUS)
Bronze – Moa Lena Maria NYGREN (SWE) win by fall Luzie MANZKE (GER)

75 kg

Gold – Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) tech. fall Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN), 12-2
Bronze – Francy RAEDELT (GER) tech. fall Mabelkis CAPOTE PEREZ (CUB), 14-4
Bronze – Anastasiia SHUSTOVA (UKR) win by fall Pooja POOJA (IND)

Japan Lands Four Finalists in Women’s Freestyle

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – Japan rolled all four of its wrestlers to the first day of women’s freestyle finals at the U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Among the eight competitors, there are 13 World medals, including seven gold.

Leading the pack for Japan is Haruna OKUNO at 55 kg, who aims for her third World gold, after claiming top prize at this year’s 2017 Senior World Championships in Paris, France, and winning her bracket at the 2016 Cadet World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Okuno will face 2017 Senior World bronze medalist and U23 European champion Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR).

Two-time Junior World champion Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) also seeks her third World title and second gold for the year. She was victorious earlier this summer at the Junior World tournament in Tampere, Finland.

In the 58 kg finals, she’ll battle Battseteg ALTANTSETEG (MGL), who makes her third trip to the World finals. In 2014, Altantseteg won the 2014 Junior World title, and in 2011, she walked away with Cadet World silver.

The 63 kg and 75 kg finals will feature Japan vs. Canada.

Earning a spot in the 63 kg finals, Braxton STONE (CAN) guaranteed herself a fourth World medal. Stone has two Junior World medals, silver in 2015 and bronze in 2013, and a Cadet World bronze medal from 2012.

She’ll take on Ayana GEMPEI (JPN), who won a 4-3 thriller in the semifinals against Tatiana SMOLIAK (RUS) to advance to the finals. Gempei is a 2016 Junior World champion.

In her fifth trip to the World Championships, Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN) heads to the finals at 75 kg, promising herself the first World medal of her career. She owns a Junior Pan American silver medal from 2014.

Opposite of Doogan will be two-time World medalist Yashua MATSUYUKI (JPN), 2016 Junior World champion and 2017 Junior World silver medalist.

The finals are set to begin at 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. U.S. ET).

Finals matchups
55 kg
Gold – Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) vs. Haruna OKUNO (JPN)
Bronze – Alina AKOBIIA (UKR) vs. Bediha GUN (TUR)
Bronze – Nina MENKENOVA (RUS) vs. Simona PRICOB (ROU)

58 kg
Gold – Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) vs. Battsetseg ALTANTSETSEG (MGL)
Bronze – Elin Johanna NILSSON (SWE) vs. Xiaosen WANG (CHN)
Bronze – Tetyana KIT (UKR) vs. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE)

63 kg
Gold – Braxton Rei STONE (CAN) vs. Ayana GEMPEI (JPN)
Bronze – Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE) vs. Tatiana SMOLIAK (RUS)
Bronze – Luzie MANZKE (GER) vs. Moa Lena Maria NYGREN (SWE)

75 kg
Gold – Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN) vs. Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN)
Bronze – Francy RAEDELT (GER) vs. Mabelkis CAPOTE PEREZ (CUB)
Bronze – Pooja POOJA (IND) vs. Anastasiia SHUSTOVA (UKR)

Petriashvili Looks for Second World Title in 2017

The U-23 Wrestling World Championships concludes with freestyle competition on Saturday and Sunday. One of the shining stars of the Paris World Championships, Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO), is on the freestyle entry list. Petriashvili, an Olympic bronze medalist, stunned Taha AKGUL (TUR) in Paris to claim the world title at 125kg.

Saturday, Nov. 25: 57kg, 61kg, 86kg, 125kg

The 57kg weight class includes three junior world champions: Suleyman ATLI (TUR), Khasankhusein BADRUDINOV (RUS) and Daton FIX (USA). Atli, a 2016 Olympian, won the European U-23 Championships and finished with a bronze in the European Championships on the senior level. He won the Yasar Dogu title in March. Badrudinov won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Junior World Championships. Fix won a junior world title this year after winning a junior world bronze in 2016. Andrii YATSENKO (UKR) won a world bronze medal in Paris this year. Another wrestler to keep an eye on is Ivan ZAMFIROV (MDA).

Iman SADEGHIKOUKANDEH (IRI), a two-time junior world champion, is entered at 61kg. He won the Asian Indoor Games this year. Mitchell MCKEE (USA) reached the junior world finals this year, finishing with a silver. Dimitar IVANOV (BUL) was a junior world bronze medalist in 2015. Rinya NAKAMURA (JPN) was a fifth-place finisher at the World Championships in Paris. Other notable wrestlers in this weight class include Ali RAHIMZADE (AZE), Husein SHAKHBANAU (BLR), Shota PHARTENADZE (GEO), Zanabazar ZANDANBUD (MGL) and Islam DUDAEV (RUS).

The favorite at 86kg is Olympian Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI). He won a world bronze medal in 2015 at the senior level, and is a past junior world champion. Deepak PUNIA (IND) was a cadet world champion in 2016, and Ivan Kostadinov STEFANOV (BUL) reached the cadet world finals in 2015. Raman CHYTADZE (BLR), Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ) and Sam BROOKS (USA) will look to contend.

The 2017 senior world champion Petriashvili is a strong favorite to win gold at 125kg. He has won four-world level medals, including a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. Amin TAHERI (IRI) is a two-time junior world silver medalist. Umar ISRAILOV (AZE) won a junior world silver medal in 2016. Magomedamin DIBIROV (RUS) is a two-time European junior champion. Others to watch at 125kg: Vitali PIASNIAK (BLR), Taiki YAMAMOTO (JPN), Lkhagvagerel MUNKHTUR (MGL) and Kamil Tomasz KOSCIOLEK (POL).

Sunday, Nov. 26: 65kg, 70kg, 74kg, 97kg

At 65kg, there are several wrestlers with world and continental medals. Top contenders include Asian champion Bajrang BAJRANG (IND), junior world bronze medalist Yones EMAMICHOGHAEI (IRI), junior world silver medalist Joseph MCKENNA (USA), multiple-time world military champion Nachyn KUULAR (RUS), European silver medalist Haydar YAVUZ (TUR) and European bronze medalist Iveriko JULAKIDZE (GEO).

Gadzhimurad OMAROV (AZE) is among the favorites at 70kg. He was the champion at the European U-23 Championships. Nobuyoshi TAKOJIMA (JPN) placed fifth at the World Championships in 2016. Sumiyabazar ZANDANBUD (MGL) is a past cadet world silever medalist. Mirza SKHULUKHIA (GEO) and Csaba VIDA (HUN) have won European medals. Magoma DIBIRGADZHIEV (RUS) and Ali UMARPASHAEV (BUL) won medals at the Alexander Medved Prizes event.

Junior world champ Gadzhi NABIEV (RUS) is among the entries at 74kg. He was a silver medalist at the Russian Championships. Mohammad MOTTAGHINIA (IRI), a junior world bronze medalist, should contend in this weight class. Alberts JURCENKO (LAT) is a multiple-time cadet world bronze medalist. There are a handful of European medalists in this weight class who could challenge for titles, including Murad SULEYMANOV (AZE), Henri Aleksi SELENIUS (FIN), Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) and Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK). Yajuro YAMASAKI (JPN) was fifth at the Junior World Championships this year, and is past cadet world bronze medalist.

Multiple-time junior world medalists Gadzhimurad MAGOMEDSAIDOV (AZE) and Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (BLR) are among the six wrestlers on the entry list at 97kg with junior world medals. Other junior world medalists in the weight class include Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO), Erik THIELE (GER), Vasile CARAS (ROU) and Yunus Emre DEDE (TUR). Others to watch at 97kg include Yarygin Grand Prix silver meedalist Rasul MAGOMEDOV (RUS), Golden Grand Prix bronze medalist Mojtaba GOLEIJ (IRI), 2016 Cadet world bronze medalist Viky VIKY (IND) and European junior silver medalist Simone IANNATTONI (ITA).

Semenov Avenges 2015 Loss, Kawana and Emelin Deliver Fireworks

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) won his fifth World championship on Wednesday night at the U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Semenov knocked off three-time Junior World champion and two-time Cadet World champion Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO) in the 130 kg finals. Pataridze led 3-3 on criteria at the break but was hit with caution and two, giving Semenov the advantage and eventually the win.

The two have history as Pataridze kept Semenov from winning three Junior World titles, defeating him in the 2015 Junior World finals.

At 59 kg, Masuto KAWANA (JPN) defeated Sergey EMELIN (RUS) in a high-flying match that featured four lead changes and 29 points scored.

24 of those points came in the second period, which was full of gut wrenches, head locks, throws and challenges. A late second-period feet-to-back move from Masuto gave him the advantage that he was able to hold onto in the final seconds despite a hard-fighting Russian.

Kawana won the bout, 15-14.

2016 Olympic bronze medalist and 2014 Junior World champion Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO) pulled out a 2-0 win over 2017 Russian Championships bronze winner Alen MIRZOIAN (RUS) in the 66 kg gold-medal match. The bout consisted of two passivity points, which were in favor of the Georgian.

At 80 kg, Burhan AKBUDAK (Turkey) knocked off 2015 World silver medalist Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) with a 2-1 win. Akbudak, a 2015 Junior World silver medalist, was awarded two second-period passivity points en route to his first World title.

Greco-Roman final results
59 kg
Gold – Masuto KAWANA (JPN) dec. Sergey EMELIN (RUS), 15-14
Bronze – Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ) tech. fall Avgustin Boyanov SPASOV (BUL), 8-0
Bronze – Sakit GULIYEV (AZE) tech. fall Przemyslaw PIATEK (POL), 8-0

66 kg
Gold – Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO) vs. Alen MIRZOIAN (RUS), 2-0
Bronze – Amin Yavar KAVIYANINEJAD (IRI) dec. Abylaikhan AMZEYEV (KAZ), 5-1
Bronze – Gaoquan ZHANG (CHN) dec. Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL), 2-1

80 kg
Gold – Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR) dec. Lasha GOBADZE (GEO), 2-1
Bronze – Rosian Ognyanov DERMANSKI (BUL) dec. Stanislau SHAFARENKA (BLR), 3-2
Bronze – Andrii ANTONIUK (UKR) dec. Alex Michel BJURBERG KESSIDIS (SWE), 6-1

130 kg
Gold – Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) dec. Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO), 5-3
Bronze – Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU) dec. Amin Mohammadzaman MIRZAZADEH (IRI), 3-1
Bronze – Jello KRAHMER (GER) dec. Arata SONODA (JPN), 3-1

Greco Giants Pataridze and Semenov to clash in finals

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – Wednesday night’s Greco-Roman finals of the U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, promise to be exciting with several past Junior and Cadet World medalists in the mix.

Perhaps the most anticipated match is at 130 kg, where Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO) looks for his sixth World title. Pataridze won his third-consecutive Junior World title this summer in Tampere, Finland. He also owns Cadet World gold from 2013 and 2014.

Standing in his way is 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time Junior World champion Sergey SEMENOV (RUS).

It’s a rematch of the 2015 Junior World finals, where Pataridze kept Semenov from three Junior golds, defeating him in a 3-1 battle.

Another exciting final will take place at 80 kg, where 2015 Senior World bronze medalist Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) will face Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR), who took third at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games.

Both wrestlers have collected World medals at the Junior level. Gobadze won bronze in 2014, while Akbudak earned silver in 2015.

The final at 59 kg will pit Junior World bronze medalists Masuto KAWANA (JPN) and Sergey EMELIN (RUS) against each other.

Recently, Kawana, a 2015 Junior World medalist, has been victorious at the 20th Annual Dave Schultz Memorial International and the Grand Prix Zagreb, claiming gold.

2014 Junior World bronze winner Emelin was the 2016 U23 European champion.

The 66 kg final features Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO), a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, 2014 Junior World champion and 2013 Junior World silver medalist.

Bolkvadze will go head-to-head with 2017 Russian Championships bronze medalist Alen MIRZOIAN (RUS).

The gold and bronze-medal finals are set for 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. U.S. ET).

FINALS MATCHES
59 kg
Gold – Sergey EMELIN (RUS) vs. Masuto KAWANA (JPN)
Bronze – Avgustin Boyanov SPASOV (BUL) vs. Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ)
Bronze – Przemyslaw PIATEK (POL) vs. Sakit GULIYEV (AZE)

66 kg
Gold – Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO) vs. Alen MIRZOIAN (RUS)
Bronze – Abylaikhan AMZEYEV (KAZ) vs. Amin Yavar KAVIYANINEJAD (IRI)
Bronze – Gaoquan ZHANG (CHN) vs. Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL)

80 kg
Gold – Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) vs. Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR)
Bronze – Stanislau SHAFARENKA (BLR) vs. Rosian Ognyanov DERMANSKI (BUL)
Bronze – Andrii ANTONIUK (UKR) vs. Alex Michel BJURBERG KESSIDIS (SWE)

130 kg
Gold – Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) vs. Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO)
Bronze – Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU) vs. Amin Mohammadzaman MIRZAZADEH (IRI)
Bronze – Arata SONODA (JPN) vs. Jello KRAHMER (GER)

Szilvassy Wins Second Title, Turkey Bags Three Medals

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – Turkey claimed a gold and two bronze medals and Hungary’s Erik SZILVASSY won his second World championship in the first day of U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

2016 University World champion Szvilassy won the World title at 85 kg, defeating Ivan HUKLEK (CRO) in the finals with a 4-0 win, highlighted by a first-period throw. The Hungarian controlled the match from there for his second world title in two years.

At 75 kg, Fatih CENGIZ (TUR) put an exclamation point on an impressive tournament, picking up a decisive 5-2 win in the gold-medal finals against Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO).

The match was tied, 1-1, at the break in favor of the Turkish wrestler. He pulled away in the second period, when Bolkvadze was hit with caution and two on the edge of the mat. Cengiz went on to win a 5-2 decision.

Other medalists from Turkey include bronze medalists Murat DAG at 71 kg and Fatih BASKOY at 98 kg.

Daniel CATARAGA (MDA), a past World silver medalist, handily won the 71 kg with a 5-0 win over Grand Prix of Paris winner Robert FRITSCH (HUN).

Overall, 11 countries won medals on the first day, including Azerbaijan, China, Croatia, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Turkey.

GOLD MEDAL MATCHES
71 kg: Daniel CATARAGA (MDA) dec. Robert FRITSCH (HUN), 5-0
75 kg: Fatih CENGIZ (TUR) dec. Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO), 5-2
85 kg: Erik SZILVASSY (HUN) dec. Ivan HUKLEK (CRO), 4-0
98 kg: Aleksandr GOLOVIN (RUS) dec. Matti KUOSMANEN (FIN), 5-3

BRONZE MEDAL MATCHES
71 kg
Murat DAG (TUR) dec. Rinat AKHMEDOV (RUS), 2-1
Farshad Mirahmad BELFAKEH (IRI) dec. Riccardo Vito ABBRESCIA (ITA), 2-1

75 kg
Esen Asanov (KGZ) dec. Nasir HASANOV (AZE), 1-0
Payam Abdeh Saleh BOVEYRI PAYANI (IRI) dec. Miras BARSHYLYKOV (KAZ), 6-2

85 kg
Islam ABBASOV (AZE) dec. Gurami KHETSURIANI (GEO), 2-1
Toni Heikki Herman METSOMAEKI (FIN) won by injury default Ruslan MAHOMEDOV (UKR)

98 kg
Abudourexiti ALIMUJIANG (CHN) dec. Bopembe Arsen SYCHEV (BLR), 3-0
Fatih BASKOY (TUR) dec. Michail IOSIFIDIS (GRE), 4-2

Greco Finals Set for Day One

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – The first four finals of the U23 World Championships are set in Greco-Roman at 71 kg, 75 kg, 85 kg and 130 kg in Bydgoszcz, Poland. 

At 71 kg, 2016 Senior World silver medalist Daniel CATARAGA (MDA) will battle it out with Robert FRITSCH (HUN), who won the Grand Prix of Paris in January. 

Cartaraga also competed at the World Championships in Paris, France, earlier this summer, where he finished fifth. 

 

So far, Fritsch has only given up two points in the tournament. On his road to the finals, he defeated 2014 Cadet World champion Matias LIPASTI (FIN), 5-0.

2015 Junior World champion and 2014 Junior World bronze medalist Gela Bolkvadze (GEO) and 2017 Senior World fifth-place finisher Fatih CENGIZ (TUR) will headline the 75 kg weight class. 

Bolkvadze won the 2016 U23 European Championships and took home silver at the event in 2017. 

Cengiz has put together a solid performance, including knocking off 2016 Senior World champion Esen ASANOV (KGZ) with a 5-0 shutout. He also took out two-time Junior World medalist Akhmed KAYTSUKOV (RUS) and 2017 Junior World bronze and 2016 Cadet World silver Nasir HASANOV (AZE). 

At 85 kg, Ivan HUK

 

LEK (CRO), who competed at the World Championships in Paris, will face 2016 University World champion Erik SZILVASSY (HUN). 

Rounding out the night is the 98 kg finals, which will pit 2017 Military World bronze medalist Matti KUOSMANEN (FIN) against 2017 Russian Championships silver medalist Aleksandr GOLOVIN (RUS).

Kuosmanen tallied a win over 2016 University World champion and 2017 U23 European bronze medalist Fatih BAKSOY (TUR), while Golovin defeated 2016 Junior World silver medalist Bopembe-Arsen SYCHEV (BLR). 

The gold and bro

nze-medal finals are set for 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. U.S. ET). 

GOLD MEDAL MATCHES
71 kg: Daniel CATARAGA (MDA) vs. Robert FRITSCH (HUN)
75 kg: Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO) vs. Fatih CENGIZ (TUR)
85 kg: Ivan HUKLEK (CRO) vs. Erik SZILVASSY (HUN)
98 kg: Matti KUOSMANEN (FIN) vs. Aleksandr GOLOVIN (RUS)

BRONZE MEDAL MATCHES
98 kg
Bopembe Arsen SYCHEV (BLR) vs. Abudourexiti ALIMUJIANG (CHN)
Michail IOSIFIDIS (GRE) vs. Fatih BASKOY (TUR)

71 kg
Rinat AKHME

DOV (RUS) vs. Murat DAG (TUR)
Farshad Mirahmad BELFAKEH (IRI) vs. Riccardo Vito ABBRESCIA (ITA)

75 kg
Nasir HASANOV (AZE) vs. Esen Asanov (KGZ)
Miras BARSHYLYKOV (KAZ) vs. Payam Abdeh Saleh BOVEYRI PAYANI (IRI)

85 kg
Islam ABBASOV (AZE) vs. Gurami KHETSURIANI (GEO)
Ruslan MAHOMEDOV (UKR) vs. Toni Heikki Herman METSOMAEKI (FIN)

Okuno, Larroque Take to the Mats in Poland

The women’s wrestling competition at the U-23 Wrestling World Championships is set to begin Thursday and continue Friday with Haruna OKUNO (JPN), a world champion in Paris, leading a heavily-favored Japanese women’s wrestling team.

Thursday, Nov. 23: 55kg, 58kg, 63kg, 75kg

Okuno went from winning a cadet world title to winning a senior world title in the span of one year. In Paris, she defeated Nigeria’s Odunayo Folasade Adekuoroye to claim a world championship at the age of 18. She enters the Senior U-23 World Wrestling Championships as the favorite at 55kg. Looking to challenge Okuno is Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR), a world bronze medalist in Paris. Marina SEDNEVA          KAZ is a talented competitor with two junior world medals. Lianna MONTERO HERRERA (CUB) and Ramona GALAMBOS (HUN) should figure into the mix at 55kg.

Japan has another top contender at 58kg in Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN), a two-time junior world champion. She was a bronze medalist at the Klippan Lady Open earlier this year. Other wrestlers to keep an eye on at 58kg include Tetyana KIT (UKR), Elin NILSSON (SWE), Battsetseg ALTANTSETSEG (MGL), Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL), Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS), Arianna CARIERI (ITA) and Anastasia NICHITA (MDA).

The 63kg weight class is expected to be very competitive with several wrestlers challenging for the world title. Ayana GEMPEI (JPN) won a junior world title last year, and this year earned a silver medal at the Asian Championships. Maya NELSON (USA) captured a junior world title this year after earning a junior world bronze in 2016. Petra OLLI (FIN) reached the world finals on the senior level in 2015. Braxton STONE (CAN) is a two-time junior world medalist. Moa NYGREN (SWE) made the finals of the Junior World Championships in 2015, and this year won a silver at the Grand Prix of Germany.

At 75kg, Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) will look to win a world title after falling just short at the Junior World Championships, losing in the finals. Matsuyuki was a cadet world champion in 2016. Another former cadet world champion to watch in this weight class is Anastasiia SHUSTOVA (UKR). She won gold at the Alexander Medved Prizes event in September, beating Anzhela KATAEVA (RUS), who is also on the entry list. Other medal contenders at 75kg include Qiandegenchagan QIANDEGENCHAGAN  (CHN), Francy RAEDELT (GER), Zsanett NEMETH (HUN) and Gulmaral YERKEBAYEVA (KAZ).

The 48kg weight class is deep with many potential challengers. Turkan NASIROVA (AZE), Miglena SELISHKA (BUL), Rina OKUNO (JPN), Oksana LIVACH (UKR) are all multiple-time junior world medalists. Nasirova won a junior world title in 2016. Evin DEMIRHAN (TUR) won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Paris this year. Kseniya STANKEVICH (BLR), Ritu RITU (IND), Irina BORISSOVA (KAZ), Anzhelika VETOSHKINA (RUS) and Chimgee BUYANDALAI (MGL) are medal contenders.

At 53kg, Miho IGARASHI (JPN) is a two-time junior world champion, as well as a cadet world champion. She is also a multiple-time medalist at the Golden Grand Prix. Leyla GURBANOVA (AZE) won both a junior world title and cadet world title in 2015. Mercedesz DENES (HUN) has three junior world medals, while Khrystyna BEREZA (UKR) has two. Ekaterina POLESHCHUK (RUS), Allyssa CLEAVES (CAN), Qi ZHANG (CHN), Sviatlana LAMASHEVICH (BLR) add depth to the weight class.

Japan’s entry at 60kg is Yui SAKANO (JPN), a past cadet world champion. She was fifth at the World Championships last year on the senior level, and has won the Golden Grand Prix twice.  Kayla MIRACLE (USA), a two-time junior world medalist, has had a strong year and should challenge. Others to watch at 60kg: Therese PERSSON (SWE), Uliana TUKURENOVA (RUS), and Kriszta INCZE (ROU).