Picture: Kazakhstan’s Nurtilek Konashov (left) facing the USA’s 2 x IMMAF world champion Jose Torres (right).
2015 saw the success of two global events welcoming nations from across the globe to this year’s IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA in Las Vegas, USA, and the inaugural European Open Championships in Walsall, England.
Within the last twleve months we have not only been able to see the rise of standout nations with leading amateur athletes competing in IMMAF’s second World Championships in July, but also the development and evolution of many countries and the athletes who represent them competing throughout the first European Open in November.
Scroll down to see the full combined championship medal totals for all nations who secured podium positions at the IMMAF World Championships and European Open.
Overall, the presence of Scandinavia has been most notable with Finland leading as the highest achievers of gold. Strawweight Minna Grusander kicked off the haul as Finland’s sole champion at the World Championships, before the national team went on to rule a further three divisions at the European Open with Varpu Rinne (135lbs), Sanna Merta (145lbs) and Abdul Hussein (135lbs) each taking gold medal positions.
While Finland secured a total of nine podium positions, fellow Scandinavians Sweden lead the way for total medals (12). The Swedish national team provided a number of individual standouts, with the highly rounded ability and tremendous boxing of 135lb silver medallist Gabriella Ringblom making her one to watch out for; the consistency Anja Saxmark who achieved silver at 125lbs in both competitions; and inspiring work of middleweight Rostem Akman who earned European Open gold after a first round exit in Las Vegas.
With a total of four medals, Norway’s presence was also felt at the European Open, as the country boasted one of the biggest, most diverse and competitive teams despite the hindrance of MMA competition being illegal in the country. France also produced a similar feat, despite the country’s well documented political issues with MMA, the French team accumulated a total of six medals, including gold at the World Championships with Iurie Bejenari dominating the flyweight competition.
With a team made up of amateur standouts from the famous Mjölnir Gym, Iceland also made its competitive IMMAF debut in the UK, and secured two first place positions with flyweight Sunna Rannveig and welterweight Bjarki Palsson.
The UK were close behind with a total number of 10 medals. Welshman Josh Ellis took lightweight gold in Las Vegas as the team secured three podium spots, and this record was surpassed in Walsall with seven medals and two golds. The latter event included a memorable all-British final in the Men’s 125lb division between champion Jake Bond and runner up Warren Mason.
At the 2015 World Championships the USA lead with three gold medal winners including Jose Torres, William Starks and Brendan Allen. Alongside the UK’s Josh Ellis, all three athletes tied for first place in IMMAF’s official pound-for-pound rankings. However, it was Torres who solidified himself as the world’s most decorated amateur, boasting a 25-1 record with two gold medals as a double IMMAF world champion.
Written by IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran
End of part 1 – Full list of 2015 IMMAF medal winners below:
Finland – total of 9 medals – European Open: Gold – Varpu Rinne (135lbs), Sanna Merta (145lbs), Abdul Hussein (135lbs) Silver – Mia Isola (155lbs) Bronze – Sini Koivunen (155lbs), Inka Auvinen (125lbs) World Championships: Gold – Minna Grusander (115lbs) Silver – Tuukka Repo (155lbs) Bronze – Juho Laitinen (185lbs)
UK – total of 10 medals – European Open: Gold – Jake Bond (125lbs), Jack Shore (155lbs) Silver – Warren Mason (125lbs) Bronze – Amy Omara (115lbs), Connor Hitchens (145lbs), Hardeep Rai (170lbs), James Duckett (185lbs) World Championships: Gold – Josh Ellis (155lbs) Silver – James Duckett (185lbs) Bronze: Jake Constantinou (170lbs).
USA – total of 7 medals – World Championships: Gold – Jose Torres (135lbs), William Starks (170lbs), Brendan Allen (185lbs) Silver – Travis Edwards (265lbs) Bronze – Codie Wareham (115lbs), Kimberley Defiori (135lbs), Lindsey Lawrence (145lbs)
Sweden – total of 12 medals – European Open: Gold – Joel Moya Schondorff, Rostem Akman (185lbs) Silver – Anja Saxmark (125lbs), Cornelia Holm (145lbs), Gabriella Ringblom (135lbs), Iman Smajic (265lbs) Bronze – Renato Vidovic (135lbs), Ante Agneby (145lbs) World Championships: Silver – Serdar Altas (125lbs), Anja Saxmark (125lbs), Joel Moya (145lbs) Bronze – Lisa Engelke (135lbs)
Italy – total of 9 medals – European Open: Silver – Marc Zannetti (135lbs) Bronze – Asterio Lucchesini (185lbs), Paolo Anastasi (205lbs) World Championships: Gold – Micol DiSegni (125lbs), Lucrezia Ria (135lbs) Silver – Maria Vittoria Colonna (115lbs) Bronze – Marco Zannetti (135lbs), Davide Gregorio La Torre (155lbs), Paolo Anastasi (205lbs)
Bulgaria – total of 5 medals – European Open: Gold – Aleksandra Toncheva (115lbs), Daniel Galabarov (265lbs) Silver – Dorian Dermendzhiev (170lbs) Bronze – Tencho Karaenev (205lbs) World Championships: Silver – Tencho Karaenev (205lbs)
Ireland – total of 7 medals – European Open: Gold – Ben Forsyth (205lbs) Bronze – David Fogarty (125lbs), Thomas Martin (155lbs), Lee Hammond (155lbs), Ryan Spillane (265lbs) World Championships: Gold – Frans Mlambo (145lbs) Silver – Sinead Kavanagh (145lbs)
Iceland – total of 3 medals – European Open: Gold – Sunna Rannveig (125lbs), Bjarki Palsson (170lbs) Bronze -Petur Oskarsson (265lbs)
France – total of 6 medals – European Open: Bronze – Celine Provost (145lbs), Alexis Guilleux (135lbs) World Championships: Gold – Iurie Bejenari (125lbs) Silver – Lucie Bertaud (135lbs) Bronze – Nicolas Ott (145lbs), Allan Guichard (2656lbs)
Canada – total of 5 medals – European Open: Bronze – Eloise Picard (135lbs) World Championships: Gold – Jamie Herrington (145lbs), Saeid Mirzaei (205lbs) Silver – Alexander Martinez (170lbs) Bronze – Sambath Khun (125lbs)
Northern Ireland – total of 4 medals – European Open: Gold – Leah McCourt (155lbs) Silver – Ross McCorriston (145lbs) World Championships: Bronze – Carl McNally (125lbs), Denis Perry (205lbs)
Czech Republic – total of 3 medals – European Open: Bronze – Michaela Dostalova (125lbs) World Championships: Gold – Zdenek Ledvina (265lbs) Bronze – Michaela Dostalova (125lbs)
Poland – total of 3 medals – World Championships: Gold – Kevin Szaflarski (265+lbs) Bronze – Patryk Ruta (170lbs), Marcin Kalata (265lbs)
Norway – total of 4 medals – European Open: Silver – Geir Kare Cemsoylu (155lbs), Marius Hakonsev (185lbs) Bronze – Jorden indestviken (170lbs), Camilla Mannes (135lbs)
Kazakhstan – total of 2 medals – World Championships: Silver – Nurtilek Konashov (135lbs), Mokhammad Malagov (265+lbs)
Romania – total of 2 medals – European Open: 1 silver – Raluca Dinescu (115lbs) World Championships: Bronze – Vlad Mavrodin (265+lbs)
Hungary – total of 1 medal – European Open: Silver – Balaze Kiss (205lbs)
Germany – total of 2 medals – European Open: Bronze – Julia Dorny (145lbs) World Championships: Bronze – Julia Dorny (145lbs)
Lebanon – total of 2 medals – World Championships: Bronze – Joeshwa Mortada (155lbs), Imad Alhowayeck (185lbs)
New Zealand – total of 2 medals – World Championships: Bronze – Sarah Archer (115lbs), Braydan Graham (125lsb)
Bahrain total of 1 medal – European Open: Bronze – Hussain Haki Mahdi (125lbs)
Azerbaijan – total of 1 medal – European Open: Bronze – Lyudmila Sadirina (115lbs)
South Africa – total of 1 medal – World Championships: Bronze – Natalie Jean Ausmeier (125lbs)
Ukraine – total of 1 medal – World Championships: Bronze – Yurii Bosyi (145lbs)