The season-ending World Judo Masters 2018 concluded on Sunday with the heavyweight titans as judo's elite reinforced their credentials while new stars were born in Guangzhou, China.

The IJF World Judo Tour reached an explosive finale in Asia as the women’s -70kg, -78kg and +78g categories and men’s -81kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories were all contested at the Guangzhou Arena.    

Following 10 Grand Prix events, five Grand Slam and a World Championships, the flagship event on the IJF calendar, the season made its last stop for 2018 as the best-of-the-best locked horns one final time.  

Japan finished out of sight at the top of the table with a staggering medal haul of seven gold, three silver and four bronze ahead of Georgia who won two gold, one silver and two bronze. Seven countries won gold in China as Russia, France, Kosovo, Azerbaijan and Spain stood out alongside Japan and Georgia.

Judo’s universality at the elite level was on show for the world to see as 24 countries medalled over the course of the two-day competition.

Russia's IGOLNIKOV (blue judogi) throws former world champion GWAK of South Korea for ippon at -90kg

The IJF World Judo Tour 2019 will open in Israel with the inaugural Tel Aviv Grand Prix from 24 – 26 January. The highly-anticipated three-day event has already 127 competitors registered from 22 nations.  



FINAL RESULTS WOMEN -70kg: Japanese youngster beats Colombian legend for gold   Osaka Grand Slam bronze medallist NIIZOE Saki (JPN) defeated double Olympic medallist and three-time world champion Yuri ALVEAR (COL) for the second time this year to earn the best result of her young career. NIIZOE, who beat ALVEAR in February at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam, threw the 32-year-old Colombian great with a tai-otoshi for a waza-ari score and impressively held onto her lead to reign for rampant Japan.

In the first semi-final NIIZOE saw off former world silver medallist Maria PEREZ (PUR) by ippon. In the second semi-final former world number one Elvismar RODRIGUEZ (VEN) was eventually dismissed by ALVEAR by ippon from te-waza after five minutes of golden score.

The first bronze medal was won by The Hague Grand Prix silver medallist Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED) who took RODRIGUEZ down and over for a waza-ari score with ashi-waza with five seconds left on the clock. World number five VAN DIJKE opened her IJF World Judo Tour medal account and was all smiles as she left the tatami.

The second bronze medal contest featured PEREZ and Tashkent Grand Prix winner Michaela POLLERES (AUT) who could only be separated in golden score. Puerto Rico’s PEREZ appeared to sustain a leg injury in added time and was unable to continue as she had to forfeit the contest and POLLERES provided Austria with their first medal in Guangzhou.  

Final NIIZOE, Saki (JPN) vs ALVEAR, Yuri (COL)              Bronze Medal Fights RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN) vs VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED)               PEREZ, Maria (PUR) vs POLLERES, Michaela (AUT)    

Final Results

1. NIIZOE, Saki (JPN)                                                      2. ALVEAR, Yuri (COL)                                                                                   3. VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED)                                                              3. POLLERES, Michaela (AUT)                                 5. RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN)   5. PEREZ, Maria (PUR)                                         7. GAHIE, Marie Eve (FRA)   7. BERNABEU, Maria (ESP)  

-78kg: Former world champion UMEKI takes crucial win in race for Tokyo 2020 Former world champion UMEKI Mami (JPN) ruled the -78kg category as the former owner of the red backpatch was the last Japanese judoka standing on Sunday evening. World number 10 UMEKI held down Osaka Grand Slam winner SATO Ruika (JPN) for 20 seconds for gold to arguably propel her to pole position in the ever-changing battle for Japan’s one spot at Tokyo 2020 in the -78kg category.

In the first semi-final UMEKI pinned down Zagreb Grand Prix winner Madeleine MALONGA (FRA) for 17 seconds and the French judoka tapped out. In the second semi-final SATO beat world champion HAMADA Shori (JPN) in golden score after the latter was disqualified after being penalised three times.

The first bronze medal was claimed by HAMADA who held down world number one Guusje STEENHUIS (NED) for 20 seconds for ippon. Three of the four semi-finalists were Japanese and with an all-Japanese it was fair to say that HAMADA lost ground in the race for Tokyo 2020 despite picking up bronze at the second biggest event of the season.                               

The second bronze medal contest featured 17-time Grand Prix medallist Natalie POWELL (GBR) and MALONGA. Welsh star POWELL, who won silver in 2015 and bronze in 2016 at the Masters, produced one of the ippons of the tournament as she lifted up world-class French fighter MALONGA with a gigantic ura-nage for ippon.                          

Final SATO, Ruika (JPN) vs UMEKI, Mami (JPN)     

Bronze Medal Fights HAMADA Shori (JPN) vs STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)                                POWELL, Natalie (GBR) vs MALONGA, Madeleine (FRA)   

Final Results

1. UMEKI, Mami (JPN)                                    2. SATO, Ruika (JPN)                                                            3. HAMADA Shori (JPN)   3. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)                               5. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)                                                                5. MALONGA, Madeleine (FRA)                                                        7. VERKERK, Marhinde (NED)   7. ANTOMARCHI, Kaliema (CUB)

+78kg: Japanese teen SONE defeats Cuban hero ORTIZ to showcase Tokyo 2020 ambitions  Osaka Grand Slam silver medallist SONE Akira (JPN) defeated world silver medallist Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) to win her first major title on the IJF World Judo Tour. SONE, 18, showed no fear as she went up against arguably the most decorated female heavyweight in the sport and the 29-year-old Cuban struggled under the immense degree of pressure from the Japanese teen. ORTIZ received hansoku-make for her third shido for passivity to give one more gold medal to Japan and to establish SONE as a real contender for Tokyo 2020.

In the first semi-final ORTIZ edged past Cancun Grand Prix silver medallist Maria Suelen ALTHEMAN (BRA) by the slender margin of a single waza-ari score with a determined display. In the second semi-final world bronze medallist Larisa CERIC (BIH) was convincgly beaten by SONE by ippon.

The first bronze medal was claimed by CERIC who bested Tashkent Grand Prix winner Iryna KINDZERSKA (AZE) by ippon to claim her third Masters medal. World number three CERIC controlled the contest to register another major medal for her country and to remain in the leading group of heavyweights in the world.                

The second bronze medal contest was won by ALTHEMAN who overpowered 2017 World Judo Masters winner KIM Minjeong (KOR). Brazil’s ALTHEMAN pinned down her South Korean opponent to score her second waza-ari and to clinch a hugely valuable medal towards her quest for selection for Tokyo 2020.                             

Final SONE, Akira (JPN) vs ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)  

Bronze Medal Fights CERIC, Larisa (BIH) vs KINDZERSKA, Iryna (AZE)                               KIM, Minjeong (KOR) vs ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA)

Final Results

1. SONE, Akira (JPN)                                         2. ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)                                           3. CERIC, Larisa (BIH)   3. ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA)                                                             5. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (AZE) 5. KIM, Minjeong (KOR)   7. KALANINA, Yelyzaveta (UKR) 7. TARASOVA, Galyna (UKR)  



-81kg: World Judo Masters newcomer SASAKI wins his second IJF gold in China Osaka Grand Slam gold medallist SASAKI Takeshi (JPN) 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. SASAKI has former world champion NAGASE Takanori (JPN) and world silver medallist FUJIWARA Sotaro (JPN) as his main rivals in Japan but has made his sporadic appearances count on the IJF circuit count in 2018. The Japanese judoka established himself with a win at the Hohhot Grand Prix in May and won for a second time in China this season with a narrow victory over LAPPINAGOV. SASAKI caught his opponent with a ura-nage for a waza-ari score and will now jump up into the world’s 10 on the IJF ranking list for the first time.

In the first semi-final SASAKI defeated Budapest Grand Prix winner Alan KHUBETSOV (RUS) by a score of two waza-ari to one. In the second semi-final The Hague Grand Prix silver medallist Frank DE WIT (NED) lost out to LAPPINAGOV by a waza-ari score which was the only time the scoreboard was breached in a highly-competitive contest.

The first bronze medal was clinched by DE WIT who threw Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Matthias CASSE (BEL) for ippon with a ko-soto-gake in golden score. World number two DE WIT, who matched his result from 2017, helped his opponent back up to his feet after registering the Netherlands in the medal table on day two in China.

The second bronze medal was won by world bronze medallist Vedat ALBAYRAK (TUR) after KHUBETSOV was disqualified in golden score. KHUBETSOV was penalised for dropping for his third penalty to send ALBAYRAK onto the medal podium for his country’s first medal at the World Judo Masters 2018.          

Final LAPPINAGOV, Aslan (RUS) vs SASAKI, Takeshi (JPN)   

Bronze Medal Fights DE WIT, Frank (NED) vs CASSE, Matthias (BEL) KHUBETSOV, Alan (RUS) vs ALBAYRAK, Vedat (TUR)

Final Results

1. SASAKI, Takeshi (JPN)     2. LAPPINAGOV, Aslan (RUS)   3. DE WIT, Frank (NED)                                   3. ALBAYRAK, Vedat (TUR)                                       5. CASSE, Matthias (BEL)                                      5. KHUBETSOV, Alan (RUS)                      7. NYAMSUREN, Dagvasuren (MGL)     7. KHALMURZAEV, Khasan (RUS)   

-90kg: World champion SHERAZADISHVILI beats nemesis TOTH World champion Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) triumphed at the World Judo Masters for the first time with a superstar performance in the -90kg category. Former world silver medallist TOTH Krisztian (HUN) has long been a bogey man for SHERAZADISHVILI and entered the event with a 4-1 head-to-head record over the Spaniard. The world champion beat his Hungarian rival for the first time in World Championships semi-final in Baku and had the measure of his familiar foe today in China with two waza-ari scores going unanswered. The pair displayed great sportsmanship afterwards as they exchanged a sincere handshake and lengthy embrace.

In the first semi-final SHERAZADISHVILI conquered Tunis Grand Prix winner Islam BOZBAYEV (KAZ) by ippon having led by a waza-ari to power into the final. In the second semi-final Osaka Grand Slam silver medallist Noel VAN T END (NED) was disqualified against TOTH after being penalised for the third and final time in golden score for ducking to avoid the grip of his opponent. 

The first bronze medal was won by European champion Mikhail IGOLNIKOV (RUS) who saw off VAN T END by a waza-ari score from a de-ashi-barai which was scored just 10 seconds into the contest. The world number 12 from Russia claimed his first Masters medal to boost his country’s medal tally on the last day.

The second bronze medal went to BOZBAYEV who shaded Tunis Grand Prix bronze medallist David KLAMMERT (CZE) by a waza-ari score from a ko-uchi-gari. BOZBAYEV doubled his country’s medal haul after their day one bronze from former world champion Yeldos SMETOV in the -60kg category.

Final TOTH, Krisztian (HUN) vs SHERAZADISHVILI, Nikoloz (ESP)

Bronze Medal Fights VAN T END, Noel (NED) vs IGOLNIKOV, Mikhail (RUS)                       KLAMMERT, David (CZE) vs BOZBAYEV, Islam (KAZ)    

Final Results

1. SHERAZADISHVILI, Nikoloz (ESP)            2. TOTH, Krisztian (HUN)                                    3. IGOLNIKOV, Mikhail (RUS)                        3. BOZBAYEV, Islam (KAZ) 5. VAN T END, Noel (NED)        5. KLAMMERT, David (CZE)   7. MEHDIYEV, Mammadali (AZE)                7. USTOPIRIYON, Komronshokh (TJK)     

-100kg: LIPARTELIANI leads the way for Georgia as he retains Masters crown Olympic and world silver medallist Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) successfully defended his Masters title as he typically led the way for Georgia. World bronze medallist LKHAGVASUREN Otgonbaatar (MGL) was unable to contest the final due to an injury and so the world number one was awarded the win to extend his lead at the summit of the weight category.  

In the first semi-final LIPARTELIANI dominated The Hague Grand Prix winner Peter PALTCHIK (ISR) as he scored twice to close in on a successful title defence. In the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Ramadan DARWISH (EGY) was thrown by LKHAGVASUREN with a ippon-seoi-nage in golden score for a match-winning waza-ari.

The first bronze medal was won by DARWISH who beat Osaka Grand Slam bronze medallist Jorge FONSECA (POR) in golden score. Portuguese powerhouse FONSECA was penalised for dropping and received his marching orders having accumulated three penalties to hand the coveted medal to his Egyptian opponent.                     

The second bronze medal went to Osaka Grand Slam bronze medallist IIDA Kentaro (JPN) who saw off PALTCHIK after 70 seconds of additional time. IIDA broke the balance of his opponent with his favoured uchi-mata and finished with an osoto-gari to win by a waza-ari score.                      

Final LKHAGVASUREN, Otgonbaatar (MGL) vs LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO)     

Bronze Medal Fights DARWISH, Ramadan (EGY) vs FONSECA, Jorge (POR)                      IIDA, Kentaro (JPN) vs PALTCHIK, Peter (ISR)       

Final Results

1. LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO)              2. LKHAGVASUREN, Otgonbaatar (MGL) 3. DARWISH, Ramadan (EGY)                             3. IIDA, Kentaro (JPN)                                  5. FONSECA, Jorge (POR)                                              5. PALTCHIK, Peter (ISR)                                                          7. FLETCHER, Benjamin (IRL)               7. ZANKISHIEV, Kazbek (RUS)    

+100kg: World heavyweight champion TUSHISHVILI repeats 2017 victory   World champion Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) underlined his superiority at the helm of the men’s heavyweight category as he won his second World Judo Masters crown. TUSHISHVILI bombarded double Olympic bronze medallist Rafael SILVA (BRA) with attacks and the Brazilian crumbled under the intense onslaught from Georgia’s man of the moment. SILVA, who was targeting his first IJF win since the Tyumen Grand Slam in 2014, was held down with a kami-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds in the last contest on the IJF World Judo Tour for 2018.

In the first semi-final TUSHISHVILI outfought Osaka Grand Slam bronze medallist KAGEURA Kokoro (JPN) who was given hansoku-make after accumulating three shidos. In the second semi-final SILVA threw Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Bekmurod OLTIBOEV (UZB) with an osoto-gari for a waza-ari score and wrapped up a place in the final with a mune-gatame hold. The first bronze medal was won by former world silver medallist David MOURA (BRA) who held down OLTIBOEV for ippon. World number four MOURA saved his best performance of the year for the final competition of the season as he returned to the IJF medal podium for the first time in 2018.                        The second and last bronze medal contest saw Osaka Grand Slam bronze medallist Tamerlan BASHAEV (RUS), who beat Olympic champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) in his opening contest, defeat KAGEURA. Russia’s BASHAEV threw with a beautiful sode-tsurikomi-goshi to win his first medal at this level and will be a heavyweight to follow in 2019.                                 Final SILVA, Rafael (BRA) vs TUSHISHVILI, Guram (GEO)    Bronze Medal Fights OLTIBOEV, Bekmurod (UZB) vs MOURA, David (BRA)                       BASHAEV, Tamerlan (RUS) vs KAGEURA, Kokoro (JPN)  

Final Results

1. TUSHISHVILI, Guram (GEO)                                                       2. SILVA, Rafael (BRA)                                   3. MOURA, David (BRA)                                                                  3. BASHAEV, Tamerlan (RUS)                                                             5. OLTIBOEV, Bekmurod (UZB)                           5. KAGEURA, Kokoro (JPN)                                 7. HEGYI, Stephan (AUT)                7. YUAN, Shaotong (CHN)

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