World Judo Championships 2019

The 2019 World Judo Championships will bring nearly 900 of the world’s best judokas to Tokyo, Japan.  There will be competition in seven different weight classes beginning on August 25th.

From a history of the event, to an overview of today’s top contenders, you’ll find everything you need to get a handle on the World Judo Championships 2019 right here. There’s also plenty of judo betting tips and a guide to getting free bets on the tournament.

With our expert guide to the biggest competition in the judo world, you’ll find:

  • A full schedule for the 2019 World Judo Championships
  • A guide to betting on judo at safe and secure sites
  • A glossary of common terms used in judo competitions

Check out one of our recommended betting sites for this year’s event below:

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The Judo World Championships 2019 will take place from Sunday, August 25 through Sunday, September 1. Each day is dedicated to a single weight class, with weigh-ins for those athletes taking place the night before.

The action kicks off on the 25th with the extra-lightweight competitions for both men and women. The 26th sees the half-lightweights in action, with each day after that seeing the next higher weight class compete. In every weight class, the tournament is played out in a single day, starting with preliminaries and with the finals taking place in the evening.

The final individual competitions take place on August 31, when the heavyweights will compete. September 1 then sees the mixed team competition, which wraps up the Judo World Championships for this year.

2019 World Judo Championships Host

The 2019 World Judo Championships are being held at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan. This venue is perhaps the most important arena in judo, having been built specifically to hold the judo event at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. The Nippon Budokan will also host the 2020 Summer Olympic judo.

While Japan has been instrumental in the development of judo as a competitive sport, the World Judo Championships have been held in various locations around the world. The 2018 event took place at the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku, Azerbaijan, while the 2021 championships – the event is not held in Olympic years – will take place in Vienna, Austria.

World Judo Championships Results and History

The World Judo Championships were first held in Tokyo in 1956. That first tournament looked a lot different than the event does today. When Shokichi Natsui became the first judo world champion, he did so in a single field without any weight classes, defeating fellow Japanese judoka Yoshihiko Yoshimatsu in the final.

While Japan has always been a powerhouse in judo, they haven’t held a stranglehold on the world championship. The first non-Japanese winner of the World Judo Championships with Dutch judoka Anton Geesink, who won the title in 1961.

1964 saw Olympic judo contested for the first time. Weight classes were first introduced at the 1965 World Judo Championships, which took place in Rio de Janeiro. In 1980, a women’s world judo championship was held for the first time, and while it existed as a separate event for the first few years, in 1987, the men’s and women’s competitions were turned into a single World Judo Championships.

For most of its history, the World Judo Championships have been held every other year. But beginning in 2009, the event has become a nearly annual competition, only being skipped in years in which the Summer Olympics are being held. That will continue in 2020 when judo will be included in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

As we mentioned earlier, Japan has historically been the strongest judo nation in the world. They top the World Judo Championships all-time medal table, which includes men’s, women’s, and team competition.


World Judo Championships All-Time Medal Table

Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total Medals
Japan 153 92 109 354
France 56 36 79 171
South Korea 29 10 61 100
China 21 13 22 56
Cuba 20 24 41 85
Great Britain 16 18 31 65
Netherlands 15 22 43 80


Japan’s dominance hasn’t waned in recent years. In the 2018 World Judo Championships, the Japanese had a particularly strong year, earning more gold medals than all other nations combined.

2018 World Judo Championships Medal Table

Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total Medals
Japan 8 5 4 17
South Korea 2 0 2 4
France 1 2 2 5
Georgia 1 1 1 3
Iran 1 0 1 2
Ukraine 1 0 1 2
Spain 1 0 0 1


Judoka are ranked using a traditional kyu-dan grading system. While the specifics of the system vary by country, beginner students will typically start with a white belt, then progress through various colored belts as they work through the kyu ranks with a local sensei (teacher).

Dan ranks are traditionally only awarded by independent judges, with a judoka earning their black belt at the grade of first dan. At high dan ranks, practitioners might wear a red and white panelled belt, with 9th and 10th dan judoka sometimes wearing a red belt.

Judo has been one of the many disciplines that has been heavily utilized in mixed martial arts, with judo grappling and takedowns having proven effective even at the elite level. Several prominent UFC champions have had previous competitive experience in judo, including Ronda Rousey and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

World Judo Rankings

The 2019 World Judo Championships will feature world-class judoka from 152 countries, and unless you’re heavily invested in the sport, chances are you’ve heard of few – if any – of these incredible athletes. Here’s a look at the top-ranked judoka who are confirmed to be participating in each weight class heading into the championships.

Men’s Extra-Lightweight (60 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Robert Mshvidobadze Russia 1
Amiran Papinashvili Georgia 2
Naohisa Takato Japan 3
Ryuju Nagayama Japan 4
Yeldos Smetov Kazakhstan 5


Men’s Half-Lightweight (66 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Vazha Margvelashvili Georgia 1
Joshiro Maruyama Japan 2
Hifumi Abe Japan 3
Baruch Shmailov Israel 4
Denis Vieru Moldova 5


Men’s Lightweight (73 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Rustam Orujov Azerbaijan 1
Lasha Shavdatuashvili Georgia 4
Tommy Macias Sweden 5
Hidayat Heydarov Arezbaijan 6
Akil Gjakova Kosovo 7


Men’s Half-Middleweight (81 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Saeid Mollaei Iran 1
Sagi Muki Israel 2
Frank De Wit Netherlands 3
Matthias Casse Belgium 4
Dominic Ressel Germany 5


Men’s Middleweight (90 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Nikoloz Sherazadishvili Spain 1
Krisztian Toth Hungary 2
Mammadali Mehdiyev Azerbaijan 3
Ivan Felipe Silva Morales Cuba 4
Nemanja Majdov Serbia 5


Men’s Half-Heavyweight (100 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Varlam Liparteliani Georgia 1
Guham Cho South Korea 2
Michael Korrel Netherlands 3
Peter Paltchik Israel 4
Aaron Wolf Japan 5


Men’s Heavyweight (Over 100 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Guram Tushishvili Georgia 1
Lukas Krpalek Czech Republic 2
David Moura Brazil 3
Hisayoshi Harasawa Japan 4
Rafael Silva Brazil 5


Women’s Extra-Lightweight (48 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Funa Tonaki Japan 1
Daria Bilodid Ukraine 2
Urantsetseg Munkhbat Mongolia 3
Paula Pareto Argentina 4
Distria Krasniqi Kosovo 5


Women’s Half-Lightweight (52 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Amandine Buchard France 1
Uta Abe Japan 3
Ai Shishime Japan 4
Charline Van Snick Belgium 5
Natalia Kuziutina Russia 6


Women’s Lightweight (57 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Tuskasa Yoshida Japan 1
Christa Deguchi Canada 2
Nora Gjakova Kosovo 3
Rafaela Silva Brazil 5
Jessica Klimkait Canada 6


Women’s Half-Middleweight (63 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Clarisse Agbegnenou France 1
Tina Trstenjak Slovenia 2
Miku Tashiro Japan 3
Juul Franssen Netherlands 5
Martyna Trajdos Germany 6


Women’s Middleweight (70 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Chizuru Arai Japan 1
Marie Eve Gahie France 2
Anna Bernholm Sweden 3
Michaela Polleres Austria 5
Maria Portela Brazil 6


Women’s Half-Heavyweight (78 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Mayra Aguiar Brazil 1
Guusje Steenhuis Netherlands 2
Shori Hamada Japan 3
Madeleine Malonga France 5
Natalie Powell Great Britain 6


Women’s Heavyweight (Over 78 kg)

Name Nation World Ranking
Idalys Ortiz Cuba 1
Sarah Asahina Japan 2
Larisa Ceric Bosnia and Herzegovina 3
Maria Suelen Altheman Brazil 4
Iryna Kindzerska Azerbaijan 5


Odds and Tips

Betting on judo requires an approach that’s similar to wagering on other combat sports. You should look at the recent results of major judo competitions, such as the previous year’s World Judo Championships. It’s also important to consider the current rankings list, which includes information on lesser tournaments held throughout the year.

For those who want to go deeper, finding head-to-head results between judoka can give insight into athletes who have a stylistic advantage over particular opponents.

Judo isn’t a sport that sees tremendous turnover from year to year, so most of the medal winners from the previous world championships tend to perform well again the following season. In fact, several of the 2018 gold medal winners are coming in as the top seeds in their weight classes for the 2019 World Judo Championships, including the following:

  • Saeid Mollaei (Men’s Half-Middleweight)
  • Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (Men’s Middleweight)
  • Guram Tushishvili (Men’s Heavyweight)
  • Tsukasa Yoshida (Women’s Lightweight)
  • Clarisse Agbegnenou (Women’s Half-Middleweight)
  • Chizuru Arai (Women’s Middleweight)

There are typically only two markets available for judo betting: outright bets on who will win each weight class, and individual match betting. Odds typically become available for the World Judo Championships at online sports betting sites in the days just before the event begins.

Free Bets and Betting Offers

Bookmakers offer a variety of free bet offers for new customers as a way to welcome them to their sites. One of the simplest offers is a matching bonus that gives you free credit to use however you like in the bookies. Other bookies offer boosted odds on specific bets or will give you your money back in credit if you lose your first bet after opening your account.

While bookmakers rarely create offers specifically for the World Judo Championships, our list of recommended betting sites all offer brilliant bonuses.


How to Bet on Judo

Judo betting is fairly straightforward. There is no in-play betting or prop betting available on the World Judo Championships, meaning that you can make two kinds of wagers: either a bet on who will win an individual match or an outright bet on who will win a given tournament.

A bet on a single match may offer odds similar to the following:

Guram Tushishvili (-200) vs. Ushangi Kokauri (+170)

In that example, a $200 bet on Tushishvili, who is favored, would return a profit of $100 if he wins. Meanwhile, a $100 bet on Kokauri (the underdog) would return a profit of $170 if he is victorious.

Outright or futures betting on a tournament will provide odds on some or all of the competitors in a list. For example, this year’s women’s heavyweight outright betting market might offer odds on favorites that look like this:

  • Idalys Ortiz (+200)
  • Sarah Asahina (+250)
  • Larisa Ceric (+400)
  • Maria Suelen Altheman (+500)

In this example, a $100 bet on Ortiz to win the tournament would earn you $200 in winnings, but only if she won the gold medal. Meanwhile, a $100 bet on Altheman would win $500 if she won gold.

2019 World Judo Championships Tickets

Tickets for the World Judo Championships 2019 are available through the International Judo Federation’s website. Single day tickets range from JPY 1,500-12,000 ($14-$114), with 8-day passes available for JPY 32,000-57,000 ($303-$540).

Judo Glossary

During the World Judo Championships, you may hear a number of different terms related to how matches are refereed and scored. Here’s a quick look at some of the most important terms:

  • Golden Score: If a match ends with a tie score, an untimed sudden death period known as the Golden Score is used to settle the tie, with the first score of any type determining the winner (including a penalty against one’s opponent).
  • Hansoku-Make: A major rule violation that results not only in the loss of a match but also in ejection from a tournament.
  • Ippon: A score that immediately wins a judo match. This can be scored via a throw that puts the opponent on his or her back with significant force and control. It can also be scored by pinning an opponent on their back for 20 seconds, or via submission.
  • Judoka: The name given to a judo practitioner.
  • Koka: Formerly, a score that was considered lesser than a yuko, with no number of koka equaling a single yuko. However, this score has not been used since 2008.
  • Maitta: Literally, “I surrender.” This is one way for a judoka to signify that they wish to submit (they may also tap the opponent or the mat multiple times).
  • Nage-waza: A catch-all term for throwing techniques used in judo.
  • Ne-waza: A term for grappling techniques in judo.
  • Shido: A minor rule infringement, such as a long period of non-aggression. Shidos begin as warnings; however, three such penalties result in a win for the opponent.
  • Waza-ari: A throw that puts the opponent on their back, but without enough force to merit an ippon. Under older scoring systems, two waza-ari were equivalent to an ippon; this is no longer true, and waza-ari scores are tracked throughout a match. Waza-ari can also be scored for pins between 15-20 seconds.
  • Yuko: A throw that ends with the opponent landing on their side. Yuko were once tracked as a lesser score than waza-ari but are now included in the waza-ari score.

World Judo Bookmakers FAQ

The World Judo Championships are held in a different country every year. In 2019, the host will be Japan. Many other countries have played host including Brazil, Kazakhstan, the UK and Spain.

In the history of the World Judo Championships, Japan is the most successful nation. Japan also tops the all time Olympics medal table for Judo.

Yes, many major betting sites offer markets on Judo, especially for competitions such as the World Championships or Olympics. You can usually bet on overall winners of a competition or specific matches.

Yes, principles of Judo can be used in MMA and all Judo techniques are legally allowed in the sport. Many successful MMA fighters have a background in Judo, including Ronda Rousey who won an Olympic bronze medal in 2008.

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